Kentucky News Now – December 31st 2015
Governor Matt Bevin targets Medicaid overhaul plan for 2017
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he intends to draft a plan to overhaul the state's expanded Medicaid program by the middle of next year, one that could be implemented by the start of 2017.
Bevin, elected in November, campaigned on a promise to dismantle the state's Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. He said Wednesday that the plan will include waivers from the federal government that would allow the state to create its own system for providing health insurance to the poor.
He announced that Mark Birdwhistell, former secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, will lead the team creating the "transformational program."
In the meantime, the 400,000 Kentuckians who received coverage under the expansion will keep it until a new plan is approved by the federal government.
FELON VOTING RIGHTS
No voting rights automatically restored to felons
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An official says no convicted felons had their voting rights automatically restored before Gov. Matt Bevin rescinded an executive order by his predecessor allowing the process.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb told the Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1JJpLsY) that 180 applications were under review to make sure they met criteria in former Gov. Steve Beshear's order, including that convictions were for nonviolent crimes.
Lamb said the agency was in the process of determining eligibility when Bevin issued an order on Dec. 22 rescinding Beshear's Nov. 24 order. At the time, Bevin said his order would not apply to anyone who already had their rights restored.
Bevin said felons who want their voting rights restored would have to apply to his office on a case-by-case basis.
City of Paducah to install floodgates as river surges
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Paducah city staff has announced they will close the city's floodwall against rising Ohio River waters.
Media outlets report city officials made the call Monday night to install the floodgates by the end of the week after the National Weather Service predicted the Ohio River would crest at 49 feet by Jan. 5.
City Engineer Rick Murphy says once crews and equipment are in place, the first 20 gates can be installed in 12 hours or less.
City spokeswoman Pam Spencer says the river seldom gets high enough to trigger closing the floodgates. It happens once about every five years. The last time was the spring of 2011.
Spencer says even with the Ohio River staying on its side of the floodwall, residents should remain alert to possible flooding.
Highway in western Kentucky closing ahead of flooding
WICKLIFFE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close U.S. 51 at two locations in western Kentucky in response to flooding forecasts.
The cabinet said waters are rising more quickly, and both the U.S. 51 Ohio River "Cairo" Bridge and U.S. 51 south of Wickliffe near the Ballard-Carlisle county line will close at midnight Wednesday.
The cabinet said in a news release that levels at which the road is required to close are expected to be exceeded during the overnight hours.
Spokesman Keith Todd of District 1 said closing at midnight will allow Highway Department workers to barricade the roadway. Closure at the two sites is expected to last at least a week.
Todd said in the release that millings will be placed around the barricades to keep them from being moved.
Company expanding Lexington operation, adding 30 jobs
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A forklift truck manufacturer is expanding its Lexington facility, creating 30 full-time jobs.
Gov. Matt Bevin and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced the expansion on Tuesday in a news release from Bevin's office.
Clark Material Handling Co. will invest nearly $4.8 million in the project. The state has approved tax incentives up to $500,000.
The release said Clark opened its Lexington facility in 1974 and moved its company headquarters there in 1985.
Clark's Lexington campus will cover more than 162,000 square feet after the expansion. The company plans to begin producing its four-wheel electric ECX and its three-wheel TMX forklift trucks in Lexington in May. Those models were previously produced in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
TBI trying to identify suspect in 1980 homicide
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State police are seeking help from the public in their investigation into a double homicide in Stewart County in 1980.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it is trying to identify a suspect in the deaths of Carla Atkins and Vickie Stout.
Authorities say they were last seen on Sept. 17, 1980, when they left home to walk about 1 mile to a store in Dover.
Authorities say they approached a blue truck as they were walking back home on State Route 79. Their bodies were found three weeks later in what is now known as Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. Witnesses have described the man driving the truck to forensic scientists.
Anyone with information about the case should call the TBI.
Man charged in crash that killed 5 pleads not guilty
MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — The man Kentucky State Police say drove drunk and crashed, killing four people and an unborn child, has pleaded not guilty.
Multiple media outlets report troopers charged 40-year-old Jason Gibson on Thursday with four counts of murder and fetal homicide, among other charges. Gibson entered a not guilty plea Monday.
Kentucky State Police say Gibson was driving under the influence when his car crossed the center line and hit another car along the Hal Rogers Parkway. Judy Pennington-Adams, her pregnant daughter Tiffany, Tiffany's son Kyson and family friend Charlene Lewis were all killed in the crash.
Gibson will be back in court Jan. 4 for a preliminary hearing.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.