News Around the State

Published 12:30 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

Bill would allow employers to discriminate against smokers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A state senator in Kentucky says companies should be allowed to discriminate against people who smoke.

Republican Sen. John Schickel of Union pre-filed his proposal this week. The bill would remove smokers from the protected classes outlined in Kentucky’s employment anti-discrimination law and allow employers to lawfully refuse to hire or terminate people who smoke.

Currently, state law protects smokers as long as the employee “complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking.” State law allows employers to offer stop-smoking incentives and a difference in employee contributions to an employer-sponsored health plan for smokers.

Schickel says smokers should not be a protected class.

The bill has not yet advanced in the Senate.

Ky. education officials launch employability initiative

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Council on Postsecondary Education has partnered with six colleges and universities to launch an employability initiative.

A statement from the council says the initiative is designed to make sure that students who graduate from higher education programs have essential employability qualities including people skills, problem-solving abilities and professional strengths such as work ethic and technological agility.

Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson said the program will build bridges from the classroom to the workplace by adding value to degrees earned and fulfilling the needs of employers.

The institutions participating in the initiative include Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Gateway Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Kentucky State University, Murray State University and the University of Kentucky.

Soldiers to pay tribute to Taylor at wreath-laying ceremony

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Soldiers from Fort Knox will pay tribute to President Zachary Taylor at a wreath-laying ceremony in Kentucky.

The Army post says the ceremony at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville will be at 11 a.m. EST Wednesday.

Fort Knox says that each year, the U.S. military puts a wreath at the gravesite of each deceased former president on the anniversary of their births. Officials say Brig. Gen. Stephen Rutner will host the ceremony Wednesday, and an honor guard from his unit will assist with the wreath laying.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

Taylor, the nation’s 12th president, grew up in Louisville before joining the Army in 1808. He was sworn into office as president in 1849 and served for 16 months until his death in 1850.

Judge dismisses charges against Ky. prosecutor

RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge has dismissed charges against a Kentucky prosecutor accused of engaging in organized-crime.

The 65-year-old Gail Guiling — who was the commonwealth’s attorney for Logan and Todd counties — had been indicted nearly a year ago on charges of engaging in organized crime, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and two counts of second-degree official misconduct.

However, on Friday, Special Judge Steve Wilson signed an order dismissing the case during a hearing in Logan Circuit Court.

Her attorney, Alan Simpson, says the charges against his client were part of a “political attack.”

A separate judge reinstated Guiling as the commonwealth’s attorney on Friday. She has announced plans to resign on Dec. 1.

Her ex-husband, James Quinton Guiling and a co-defendant in the case, still face multiple offenses.

University of Kentucky student named Rhodes scholar

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A University of Kentucky student is among this year’s Rhodes scholars.

The 32 recipients of the prestigious scholarship announced Sunday includes Hadeel Abdallah of Lexington. The senior was selected to begin studies next fall at Oxford University in England.

Abdallah plans to complete master’s degrees in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies as well as Global Governance and Diplomacy.

Abdallah has promoted educational opportunities for immigrant and refugee women worldwide. She also founded an endowment that provides scholarships to underrepresented students across Kentucky.

She is the first Rhodes Scholar from the University of Kentucky since 1955.

The Rhodes Trust says it selected 21 women, the most ever in a single class. Almost half of the 32 winners are also immigrants or first-generation Americans.

Fed report shows farm income on the decline

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank says farm income is continuing to decline within its district.

The Fed says the third-quarter report released this week was the 19th straight survey in which most bankers indicated that farm income was on the decline. Bankers also were slightly less optimistic looking ahead, citing concerns over low prices for crops.

Soybean prices have dropped significantly since July, when the Chinese government imposed tariffs on imports of soybeans.

Bankers reported a 2.5 percent increase in crop land prices. They cited a 1.5 percent increase for pasture or ranch land.

The Fed’s St. Louis district includes Arkansas and parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.