News Around the State

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gov. Bevin declares state of emergency after storms

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Heavy rainfall and extensive flooding have prompted Kentucky’s Republican governor to declare a state of emergency.

Gov. Matt Bevin issued the executive order on Monday. The governor’s office says the order will enable state resources to help local governments as needed.

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Severe storms over the weekend increased water levels at dams in central and western Kentucky, resulting in record water releases at Wolf Creek Dam in Jamestown that have caused flooding. The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has received state of emergency declarations from 36 counties and 11 cities.

State officials are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate damage.

House OKs bill to ban abortions based on gender, disability

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House has passed a bill that would block women from obtaining abortions based on the gender, race or disability of the fetus.

The measure cleared the Republican-led chamber on a 67-25 vote on Tuesday after a long, emotional debate. The bill now goes to the GOP-dominated Senate.

Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty said her bill recognizes that “all human life has intrinsic value.”

Speaking against the bill, Rep. Maria Sorolis said it’s presumptuous for lawmakers to “decide the burdens another family must bear” when it’s discovered that a pregnancy will result in the delivery of a profoundly disabled baby.

The bill is one of several being considered this year to restrict abortion in Kentucky.

The legislation is House Bill 5.

Officials offer safety, health tips after Kentucky flooding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Health officials are urging Kentucky residents affected by recent flooding to follow safety and health tips.

The state Public Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say don’t attempt to drive through flood waters. Stay away from downed power lines and dangerous natural gas and propane leaks. Update tetanus vaccinations before starting cleanup.

For cleanup, wear safety equipment and use ground fault interrupters if available for electrical tools. Never use electrically powered tools in or near standing water. When cleaning up mold, wear protective gear and keep doors and windows open.

If you’ve had a power outage, perishable foods that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more should be tossed. A full freezer will hold its appropriate temperature for about 48 hours, and a half-full freezer for 24 hours.

Ky. Senate OKs bill to reveal executive branch lobbying

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill aimed at shedding more light on efforts to lobby the state’s executive branch.

The bill sailed through the Senate on a 36-0 vote Monday and heads to the House. The proposal’s lead sponsor is Senate President Robert Stivers.

The measure would require executive branch lobbyists to report who they’re working for, what matters they’re working on and how much they’re paid.

It also specifies that an executive branch lobbyist cannot be paid on a contingency fee basis.

Stivers has pointed to federal bribery and kickback cases involving an ex-lobbyist and a former high-ranking state official in advocating for stricter oversight of lobbyists when reaching out to executive branch agencies that craft regulations and award contracts.

The legislation is Senate Bill 6.

Ky. approves mandatory electronic filing for candidates

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill that would require candidates for public office to file their campaign finance reports electronically.

The House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 4 on Monday by a vote of 68-26. The requirement would begin for the 2020 election cycle.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance said all but 106 of the more than 1,500 candidates for office last year filed their campaign finance reports on paper. The paperwork overwhelmed the agency’s 12 staff members who enter the data into the computer system so the public can view it.

It’s the first bill to pass the state legislature this year. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

Listeria prompts recall for green beans, butternut squash

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida company has issued a voluntary recall of Marketside brand green beans and butternut squash because of a possible Listeria contamination.

Southern Specialties Inc. of Pompano Beach, Florida, announced the recall Monday, warning that the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Even healthy adults can suffer symptoms like high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The company says it shipped the recalled product to one retail distribution center. Most of the product was retrieved, but some product shipped earlier this month might have reached stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

2 donkeys mauled to death near farm where 8 llamas killed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Kentucky say two donkeys have been mauled to death on a farm in Louisville about five miles from where eight llamas were killed.

Louisville Metro Animal Services told news outlets that they don’t know if the attacks are related.

The donkeys were found dead in a field Sunday, less than a week after the llamas were found dead with bite marks behind their ears and by their flanks.

Louisville Metro Animal Services said last week that the llamas’ wounds appeared “canine in nature.” Spokeswoman Teeya Barnes said the donkeys suffered wounds that suggest a possible attack by a wild animal.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources spokesman Kevin Kelly said a wildlife biologist examined the animals, but wasn’t able to determine what killed them.