Kentucky News Now – March 22nd 2016
FELON VOTING RIGHTS
Senate approves bill to clear path for felon voting rights
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would let voters decide whether to change the state's constitution to let lawmakers restore the voting rights of some convicted felons.
Kentucky's constitution does not allow convicted felons to vote. Democrats in the House of Representatives have already passed a bill this year that would amend the constitution to automatically restore the voting rights of some nonviolent convicted felons if they complete their sentences and have no other pending charges.
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said the House bill goes too far. He says the legislature should pass a law deciding which felons would have their voting rights restored. But first voters would have to amend the constitution to allow that to happen.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.
FATAL HOUSE FIRE-THE LATEST
The Latest: 4 killed in Kentucky murder-suicide identified
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities have identified four family members found dead in what police call a murder-suicide in a Kentucky home that was set on fire.
Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Eddie Robinson said Monday the victims include a married couple and their two children.
He says all four died of gunshot wounds.
Robinson says 33-year-old Brad Hettinger died at the scene Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The deputy coroner says Hettinger's wife, 32-year-old Billie Jo Hettinger, died of gunshot wounds to the chest and head. He says her identification is tentative pending review of dental records.
Robinson says their children — 5-year-old Collin Hettinger and 4-year-old Courtney Hettinger — each died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
Robinson says the mother and children were burned from the fire.
He says the mother's body was found in the basement and the children were found in their beds.
AG's opinion: Bevin cannot remove horse park commissioners
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office says Gov. Matt Bevin lacks the authority to remove members of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission before their terms expire.
The attorney general's opinion released Monday says the Bevin administration's interpretation of the law would allow the governor to remove — with limited exceptions — nearly any board or commission appointee at any time and for no reason.
The opinion says the administration's interpretation is "contrary to law."
The opinion comes amid heightened scrutiny of the horse park.
Bevin's administration recently said it appointed Louisville attorney Tandy Patrick as chairwoman of the park's commission. Patrick was chosen to replace Alston Kerr, who was appointed by then-Gov. Steve Beshear to a term ending in 2019.
Bevin's spokeswoman did not immediately respond to the opinion.
Chief justice: Cuts could put 17,000 awaiting trial in jail
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's chief justice says proposed budget cuts would mean the judicial system would likely send 17,000 defendants back to county jails because there would be no officers to supervise them while they are awaiting trial.
Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton told the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee that proposed budget cuts from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and House Democrats would cost 600 jobs. He urged senators to reject the proposed 9 percent cuts over the next two years, calling on lawmakers to do the right thing.
In an unusually candid speech, Minton told lawmakers he was done being cool and calm. He told lawmakers that whatever hair he has left is on fire.
Committee Chairman Sen. Chris McDaniel said lawmakers are discussing how to handle Minton's request.
Bench trial for former Ohio basketball coach rescheduled
COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A bench trial for a former Ohio college women's basketball coach accused of groping a player has been rescheduled.
The trial of former Xavier University assistant women's basketball coach Brian McKey had been set to start Monday in a Kenton County court in Covington, Kentucky. Court officials say it was rescheduled and is now set to begin April 11.
McKey's attorney earlier entered a not guilty plea for his client on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree sexual assault.
A player that McKey coached at Xavier says he invited her to come to his Covington home and touched her inappropriately. She says he tried to kiss her, but she pushed him away and left.
McKey had become a University of Maryland assistant, but resigned after the allegation surfaced.
KENTUCKY STATE POLICE COMMISSIONER
Bevin appoints Jeffersontown chief as new KSP commissioner
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has chosen the Jeffersontown police chief as the new Kentucky State Police commissioner.
Bevin appointed Richard W. Sanders to the post on Monday after an eight person committee recommended him. The committee was led by Republican state Rep. Robert Benvenuti of Lexington and Justice Secretary John Tilley and included three current and two retired state police officers.
Sanders has been the Jeffersontown police chief since 2007. He has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience, most of it with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency where he was a pilot based in Miami in the late 1980s before being promoted to work in DEA's Washington headquarters.
Bevin also appointed William Alexander Payne as deputy commissioner. Payne is the major of operations for the Jeffersontown Police Department.
Vigil held to honor Clark County men killed 6 years ago
(Information in the following story is from: The Winchester (Ky.) Sun, http://www.centralkynews.com/winchestersun)
WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — A candlelight vigil was held in Clark County to honor three young men who died in a fatal shooting six years ago.
The Winchester Sun reports that the vigil was held Saturday night to honor 24-year-old Robbie Reese, 23-year-old Clayton Edge and 21-year-old Dustin Browning. They were killed March 21, 2010, at Edge's residence in a shooting case that remains unsolved.
Robbie Reese's mother, Crystal Reese, says Kentucky State Police have not identified suspects in the shooting.
Gay Edge, Clayton Edge's mother, says the men died after a bonfire party. She says the three of them fell asleep and were fatally shot inside the home. Each had been shot in the head.
Reese says she wants to have a vigil each year until the case is solved.
HERRINGTON LAKE BRIDGE
Bridge over Herrington Lake set to reopen April 1
(Information in the following story is from: The (Danville, Ky.) Advocate-Messenger, http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews)
BURGIN, Ky. (AP) — State officials say the Kennedy Mill Bridge over Herrington Lake in central Kentucky is scheduled to reopen on April 1, nearly seven months after closing to traffic.
Kentucky transportation officials closed the 804-foot span that connects Mercer and Garrard counties on Sept. 3 due to the deterioration of steel supports. Repair work on the 92-year-old bridge began on Feb. 22.
The Advocate-Messenger reports the span is the only major crossing for miles. According to data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, daily traffic across the bridge averaged about 1,438 vehicles.
John Webb with Marine Works said that businesses near the lake are looking forward to the bridge reopening.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press