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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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Editor &Publisher - Dr. Mark H. Grayson, (DoL) Hon. 2005 EKU
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October 19, 2017

By: Gov. Matt Bevin, Senate President Robert Stivers, and Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2017) - “Keeping the Promise,” our plan to save Kentucky’s pension systems, keeps the promise made to Kentucky’s current employees while also meeting the legal and moral obligations we owe to those who have already retired. Promises made are promises kept.

Make no mistake: there will be no changes, clawbacks or reductions to the paychecks of current retirees, and there will be protections for healthcare benefits. That is a promise you can literally take to the bank.

This legislature is committed to solving the pension crisis, and is ready to lead by example. Our pension legislation immediately stops the defined benefits plan for all legislators, moving them into the same plan as other state employees under the jurisdiction of the KRS Board. Future elected officials will be required by law to pay the full ARC amount, creating a new funding formula that mandates hundreds of millions more every year into every retirement plan, until they are fully funded.

Looking to the future, the defined benefit plans of current employees and teachers will continue until they reach the promised level of service for their pension, with no increase to the retirement age. As new non-hazardous employees and teachers enter the workforce, they will be enrolled in a defined contribution retirement plan that provides comparable or better retirement benefits. Hazardous employees will continue in the same plan they are in now. We are also closing the loophole that has prevented the payment of death benefits for the families of hazardous employees.

“Keeping the Promise” will improve the Commonwealth’s rating with credit agencies. These ratings have steadily declined in recent years specifically due to our unfunded pension burdens.

The right thing to do is often difficult, but we are determined to fix the pension problem. We are doing it in a way that will be of the most benefit to all Kentuckians. This is the most comprehensive and fiscally responsible pension reform plan in the history of the United States. We are confident that the rest of the country will pay close attention to this solution and that it will serve as a prudent model for others to follow.

For those retired, for those working, and for those yet to be hired: we are truly fixing our broken pension systems.

United we stand. Divided we fall.

 

October 19, 2017

From Lawrence County Humane Society-Louisa, KY:

Mark Grayson, I think this is an article that should be in The Levisa Lazer...

I apologize for the length of this post but It's time to set the facts straight on the emaciated boxer, Bella. People are calling and messaging the Humane Society condemning us and accusing us of doing nothing. Saying we are useless and should close our doors. The story circulating is so far from the truth and it's time to set the record straight.

BELLA, the emaciated boxed abused by ownerBELLA, the emaciated boxed abused by owner

We know everyone thinks the Arrow Fund swooped into Lawrence County and saved Bella. So not true!

We had Bella in our custody just a few hours after we were notified about her. We were contacted by an individual about Bella and her emaciated condition at 10 pm at night. We immediately sprang into action, contacted the warden right then and sent him out to check out Bella and to bring her to us that night.

When the warden and deputies arrived Bella was gone! After posting Bella to our page and asking for help in locating her, we found out a Good Samaritan had rescued Bella after she discovered Bella was apparently abandoned and in such an emaciated state.

The next day we found out where Bella was and made arrangements to get her into custody of the Humane Society and had her taken immediately to Tri County Animal Clinic to be evaluated and receive any medical care needed. We found out that Bella had intestinal parasites and was anemic and had elevated liver enzymes. The Vet recommended Bella be hospitalized and treated and monitored and she was being fed several small meals a day as required for severely emaciated dogs.

This was on Tuesday. Every day we checked on Bella and she was being monitored by our vet and doing OK for the shape she was in. Two days later on Thursday we are contacted by our vets office saying a rescue from outside of the area had a warrant to take Bella.

No one else felt the need to let us know what was going on. Seems a group from Whitesburg, KY went to our county attorney, told him Bella needed more care than she could get in Louisa and he gave them Bella by court order based on the group's word only. We were never contacted about this, neither was our vet. We had no input. We weren't even given a heads up that a group was trying to get a court order to take Bella. We were asked why should we care?

We care because it's what we do as a Humane Society, we wanted to see someone pay for what they had done and we had worked many long hours to get Bella into our care.

The group with the order then put Bella's care into the hands of the Arrow Fund in Louisville. The Arrow Fund discovered what we already knew but felt Bella needed 24 hr a day monitoring. So Bella was renamed Haven (not sure why they felt the need to change the dog's given name) whisked to Prestonsburg where a private plane and a news station was waiting and flown to Louisville.

All of this was done behind our backs. We are thankful Bella is improving and getting care but our vet felt, as did we, that Bella was getting what she needed right here.

So the stories floating around that the Arrow Fund rescued Bella are not true. Yes, they are treating her now after she was taken from us by the group from Whitesburg but they did not come here and physically rescue her. We fought for Bella and continue to do so even without her here.

For all that have been condemning us and bashing us, now you know the whole truth. Bella, we continuing to fight for justice for you and others like you. You are on our mind and in our hearts every day.

--Conley Kay Swafford

 

October 17, 2017

Says HB 520 creates additional high-quality options for students and families...

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 17, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin, joined by legislators, education officials and community leaders, today ceremonially signed House Bill 520 in the State Capitol Rotunda. Enacted during the regular session of the 2017 General Assembly, HB 520 enables the creation of public charter schools for the first time in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Matt Bevin Ceremonially Signs Recently Enacted LegislationGov. Matt Bevin Ceremonially Signs Recently Enacted Legislation

“We owe it to the generations yet to come to provide them with an equal opportunity for a quality education,” said Gov. Bevin. “I’m grateful to the men and women who are working to educate our young people; and the best and brightest among them are begging for some change to a bureaucratic system. We simply want to give choices to parents and to students — to give every child an opportunity. That’s what this bill is about.”

The legislation makes Kentucky the 44th state in the nation with charter schools, which are tuition-free, open enrollment public schools. While the Commonwealth’s charter schools will be granted greater flexibility and autonomy than traditional public schools, they will also experience greater performance accountability than traditional public schools.

“Charter schools in Kentucky mean more education opportunities for our youth who happen to live in low-performing districts,” said Rep. Bam Carney, the chief sponsor of the charter school bill. “Every single student deserves the best shot at a quality education that will prepare them for a lifetime, and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to support this important measure. Kentucky’s students are bright, and with an education to match, the entire Commonwealth’s future will shine.”

HB 520 outlines how charter schools — termed achievement academies — are to be authorized: by local boards of education or by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington. If a charter school application is denied, it can then go through an appeals process with the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

Since the bill was passed in March, regulations have been promulgated on student applications, charter applications, appeals to the authorizer accountability, the process for converting existing public schools into public charter schools, and appeals to KBE.

“Across the country, specialized forms of education are accelerating learning for children who are often the hardest to reach in a traditional school framework,” said Hal Heiner, Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. “I applaud Kentucky’s legislature for passing House Bill 520, a monumental step in providing parents a different, innovative choice in public education for the specific learning needs of their child.”

According to HB 520, public charter schools are required to participate in the state assessment and accountability system, and required to meet the academic performance standards agreed upon in their charters. Charter schools that fail to meet of make significant progress toward meeting those standards would be closed by their board authorizers.

For more information about charter schools in the Commonwealth, please visit https://education.ky.gov/commofed/chartsch. Photos from today’s bill signing ceremony are available here.

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Also this afternoon, Gov. Bevin ceremonially signed House Bill 241. Sponsored by Rep. John Sims, HB 241 provides stronger protections for student athletes in Kentucky high schools who sustain head injuries.

“I appreciate everyone who worked hard to pass this important legislation,” said Rep. Sims. “Now, if a player is suspected of sustaining a concussion during practice or a game, they cannot return to action until they are cleared by a licensed physician.”