KENTUCKY BUDGET

Senate proposal would cut colleges, not K-12

Senate Republicans have offered to restore budget cuts to K-12 education, but insisted on 9 percent cuts for colleges and universities over the next two years.

House Democrats quickly rejected the offer, saying they would not agree to anything that reduces spending on colleges and universities. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said giving colleges and universities less money would lead to tuition increases, which he described as tax increases for college-aged parents.

But Republican leaders said their proposal would spend an extra $273 million more on the state's badly funded public pension systems. Senate budget chairman Chris McDaniel noted the system is dangerously close to defaulting on its obligations to state retirees.

BOURBON DISTILLERIES

Lawmakers complete work on bill aimed at bourbon tourists

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Bourbon tourists could soon start sipping cocktails during distillery tours as Kentucky lawmakers have finished crafting more lenient rules for distillers to sell their products where the whiskey is made.

The sweeping alcohol bill won final passage in the Senate on Tuesday. It comes a day after the House put final touches on the legislation. The measure goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

The bill seeks to cater to tourists flocking to distilleries.

It would allow distilleries in wet territories to offer by-the-drink sales to visitors. It also would let the distilleries sell more of their whiskey and offer slightly larger amounts of free samples.

The final version allows purchases up to 4.5 liters per day by adults at distillery gift shops in wet territories. The current limit is 3 liters.

EXPUNGEMENT

Kentucky Senate passes expungement bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill that would allow some nonviolent felons to have their criminal records erased has cleared a major hurdle by passing the Kentucky Senate.

The legislation would allow people convicted of many Class D felonies to go to court in hopes of clearing their records. It would not apply to people convicted of violent crimes or sex offenses.

The Republican-led Senate made several changes before passing the bill Tuesday and sending it back to the Democratic-controlled House. Under the Senate changes, offenders would have to wait five years before seeking to have their criminal records expunged.

Supporters say the bill offers a second chance for people who now have trouble getting good jobs due to their criminal past. Opponents said the five-year waiting period isn't long enough.

SEX CRIMES

Lawmakers pass bill to help prosecutors fight sex crimes

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have finished work to close a legal loophole blamed for shielding sexual predators whose young victims can't say exactly when and where they were abused.

The bill won final passage Tuesday in the Senate and goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

The measure stems from a court ruling that overturned the conviction of a man accused of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter while the child's mother was deployed with the military.

In her testimony, the child was unable to say specifically when and where it happened.

The measure would close the loophole by creating a "continuous course of conduct" law.

That would allow children or vulnerable adults to testify to a pattern of abuse without being penalized for not remembering exact dates and places where abuse occurred.

PRIEST-CHILD PORN-INVESTIGATION

Former Kentucky priest who viewed child porn going to prison

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former Catholic priest accused of snapping hundreds of inappropriate pictures of students at his parish school is heading to federal prison for nearly three years.

Stephen Pohl wasn't charged with any crime for taking the photos, since the children in his pictures were clothed. But he was found guilty of a charge of looking at child pornography on his computer. The 57-year-old former pastor of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Louisville to 33 months.

Police seized his computer during an investigation that started after a student told his parents he felt "weird" about some photos that Pohl had taken.

The U.S. Attorney's office says it is in the process of identifying the students in Pohl's photos, and their parents will be contacted.

PHARMACY BURGLARY SENTENCING

Kentucky man sentenced in burglary of Georgia pharmacy

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a man who burglarized a Georgia pharmacy and sought to sell stolen pills in Kentucky has been sentenced to prison.

Authorities said Tuesday that 33-year-old Bradley Williams of Russell Springs, Kentucky was sentenced to 151 months in prison after being convicted of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Prosecutors say Williams and his co-conspirators traveled from Kentucky to Waycross, Georgia in January 2015 and broke into a local pharmacy.

Authorities say the group stole more than 9,000 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills and planned to sell them in Russell County, Kentucky.

Officials say Williams has also been linked to similar burglaries in other states.

Authorities say two other Kentucky men, 37-year-old Stephen Williams and 34-year-old Shawn Weddle, have also been sentenced in the burglary.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.