Kentucky News Now – February 11th 2016
JACK DANIEL'S EXPANSION
Jack Daniel's Distillery announces $140 million expansion
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The historic Jack Daniel's Distillery is planning a $140 million expansion project to help meet global demand for prized Tennessee Whiskey.
The investment announced by Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday will be used to construct two new barrelhouses, expand the bottling facility and support the increasing number of visitors to the facility. Officials say more than 275,000 tourists from around the world visited the distillery in Lynchburg last year.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman company owns the distillery. Company officials say the expansion will create 30 new jobs in Moore County.
The distillery underwent a $103 million expansion less than three years ago that added stills, barrel warehouses and related infrastructure. Officials say that investment created 94 jobs.
The Jack Daniel's Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the U.S.
Kentucky cancels public hearings after court ruling
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavley has canceled a series of public meetings on the EPA's proposed clean power plan after the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the plan from going into effect.
Snavley said in a news release the planned listening sessions were premature because the clean power plan could change or be vacated. He reiterated his opposition to the plan, saying it put states like Kentucky into an untenable position.
The Environmental Protection Agency required states to come up with a plan to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by one third by 2030. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell had urged states to ignore the requirement. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin had asked for an extension to give the state time to challenge the plan in court.
Bill takes aim at publishing jail mugshots on websites
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill taking aim at the practice of publishing jail mugshots to a website and then demanding money to remove the photos.
The bill would allow fines to be imposed against offenders.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure on Wednesday.
Democratic Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah, the bill's sponsor, says he's heard from people who lost jobs or weren't given jobs due to the posting of their mugshots on websites. Watkins says the practice of demanding hundreds of dollars to take down a photo is a form of extortion.
The bill would allow fines of $500 to $1,000 for each offense, but Watkins says he plans to propose increasing those penalties.
Kentucky could have 2 marriage licenses
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have proposed two marriage license forms, one designed for gay couples and another for straight couples.
One form would note the "bride" and "groom" while another form would note "first party" and "second party." Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Stephen West of Paris said couples, both gay and straight, could use either form. The forms would not include the name of the county clerk who issued the license and it would require couples to note their gender.
The proposal has been met with bipartisan support, coming five months after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to licenses same-sex marriages after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.
But Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville objected, calling it disparate treatment of gay couples.
Panel OKs bill to crack down on posting explicit photos
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky legislative committee has approved a bill aimed at cracking down on people who distribute sexually explicit images without the consent of the person depicted.
The measure clearing the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is known as the "revenge porn" bill.
Supporters say the bill is needed to fill a gap in state law to protect people, mostly women, from the trauma of having intimate images of them posted on the Internet, often by ex-partners.
The bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to distribute sexually explicit images with the intent to harm or harass and without the consent of the person depicted. It would be a felony, with a potentially longer jail sentence, if the material is distributed for profit or gain.
House panel approves longshot bill for horse industry
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A legislative committee has bet on a longshot bill to provide tax relief for Kentucky's horse industry.
The House Agriculture and Small Business Committee on Wednesday approved a bill to give horse owners long-sought tax relief. The measure would exempt horse owners from paying state sales tax on feed, fertilizers, machinery and other items used in their operations. Other livestock sectors already have such exemptions.
The bill would cost the state treasury nearly $35 million per year at a time when much of state government is facing budget cuts.
Due to that hefty price tag, Rep. Mike Denham proposed more modest tax relief.
His proposal would have exempted equine medications from the sales tax. But several committee members objected, so the more limited proposal never received a vote.
Kentucky officers cleared in deadly shooting in October
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Criminal charges will not be filed against two Jeffersontown police officers who fired at a robbery suspect and killed him.
Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine released a statement Tuesday saying he cleared officers Dwight Taylor and Torray Walker of any wrongdoing in the death of Roger D. Hall Jr.
Police say Hall was shot to death after he defied their orders to show his hands. When he reached inside his hoodie's pocket, officers opened fire. Two of Tyler's bullets struck Hall, who died soon after.
Police suspected Hall had just attempted to rob a man. Witnesses had reported that Hall was armed with a gun. He was found with a BB gun.
Hall was white. The officers are black.
Shepherdsville mayor resigns, new mayor elected at meeting
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The mayor of Shepherdsville resigned and a new mayor was elected at the same meeting.
Media outlets report that Mayor Scott Ellis resigned his position at Tuesday's city council meeting after being pressured to leave office for his involvement in a sex scandal. Ellis wasn't present, but his resignation letter was read aloud.
At the same meeting a new mayor was selected following a contentious exchange between council members. Ultimately, Brian James — the husband of councilwoman Dana Bischoff James — was sworn in as Shepherdsville's new mayor.
Council members Bernie Brown and Larry Hatfield refused to vote and walked out of the meeting. Brown says he did so because "it's a serious issue" and he didn't think the council should "move hastily."
James will remain mayor until a general election in November.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press