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January 19, 2018

RULING BY PSC RESULTS IN REDUCTION IN UTILITY RATES, NOT 16.4% INCREASE

FRANKFORT –Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray Jones II, D-Pikeville, will appear on KET’s Kentucky Tonight on Monday, January 22, to discuss the 2018 General Assembly.

Senator Jones will join the Kentucky Tonight panel, hosted by Renee Shaw, with leadership colleagues of the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives. Also appearing will be Senate Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown; House Republican Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, and House Democratic Whip Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville.

The program will air at 8 p.m. (ET).

Viewers with questions and comments may send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions and comments on Twitter @KyTonightKET. The phone number for viewer questions during the program is 1-800-494-7605. All messages should include first and last name and town or county.

Kentucky Tonight programs are available online at KET.org/kytonight and are rebroadcast on KET, KET KY, and radio.

Senator Jones represents the 31st Senatorial District that includes Elliott, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan, and Pike counties.

Legislators Meet With PSC On Power Rates On Thursday, Democratic Floor Leader Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, Senator Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg, and Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, along with Senator Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, and other eastern Kentucky legislators attended a briefing with members of the Public Service Commission. After the discussion, the commission announced the decision that had been reached in the Kentucky Power Rate case. The power company had been seeking a 16 percent increase, but the ruling by the PSC actually resulted in a reduction of rates by 4.04 percent. Shown from left to right are Rep. Scott Wells, R-West Liberty; Sen. Smith; Rep. Larry Brown, R-Prestonsburg; Rep. John Blanton, R- Salyersville; Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell; Rep. Chris Fugate, R-Chavies; Senator Turner; Senator Robin Webb, and Senator Jones.Legislators Meet With PSC On Power Rates On Thursday, Democratic Floor Leader Senator Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, Senator Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg, and Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, along with Senator Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, and other eastern Kentucky legislators attended a briefing with members of the Public Service Commission. After the discussion, the commission announced the decision that had been reached in the Kentucky Power Rate case. The power company had been seeking a 16 percent increase, but the ruling by the PSC actually resulted in a reduction of rates by 4.04 percent. Shown from left to right are Rep. Scott Wells, R-West Liberty; Sen. Smith; Rep. Larry Brown, R-Prestonsburg; Rep. John Blanton, R- Salyersville; Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell; Rep. Chris Fugate, R-Chavies; Senator Turner; Senator Robin Webb, and Senator Jones.

 

January 18, 2018

Bill now heads to Senate...

FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 19, 2018) – This week, the Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure that would allow certain revenue streams from jails to be used for improvements to jail safety and security.

FRANKFORT, Jan. 11-- Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell (left), speaks with Rep. Jill York, R-Grayson, on the floor of the House.FRANKFORT, Jan. 11-- Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell (left), speaks with Rep. Jill York, R-Grayson, on the floor of the House.

House Bill 92 adds language to the existing statute on jail canteens - which can be maintained for the benefit of prisoners – that would allow for profits to be used for safety and security measures. As the law currently exists, canteen profits can only be used to enhance the well-being of the inmates, including for medical, vocational, and educational purposes.

“It was an honor for me to carry this piece of legislation, which will allow for increased use of body scanners, cameras, and other security instruments that will improve jail security,” said Rep. York, the representative from Grayson. “The unanimous vote in the House is a testament to the commonsense, bipartisan nature of this legislation.”

Carter County Jailer RW Boggs commended York for her role in pushing the legislation through the House, as well as for her openness and accessibility.

“I am very excited that the bill passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support, and I look forward to seeing its passage in the Senate,” said Boggs. “It’s always nice to have a State Representative who will pick up the phone and be responsive to our needs, and we saw the benefits of that with the passage of House Bill 92.”

Representative York also collaborated with the office of State Auditor Mike Harmon in developing the legislation. “House Bill 92 will not only benefit inmates and jailers by allowing the use of these funds for enhanced safety, but it will also provide clearer guidance as to how these funds may be used,” said Auditor Harmon.

New language in the bill serves to address a gray area that currently exists in KRS 441.135, making it clear that canteen profits can be spent to “enhance safety and security within the jail.”

“The Kentucky Jailers Association continues to work alongside the General Assembly to establish best practices and meet our evolving challenges. We are pleased to see the success of House Bill 92, sponsored by Rep. Jill York, which further clarifies the usage of jail canteen funds,” said Kentucky Jailers Association President and Christian County Jailer Brad Boyd. “We thank Rep. York for her continued leadership in addressing the growing needs of county jails.”

After clearing the House, HB 92 will now await action in the Senate.

 

JANUARY 18, 2018

'Enhanced licensure and quality standards' coming by January of next year if bill passes

A new bill says the state will create standards for residential and outpatient programs, and for programs using medication-assisted treatment. The standards will be based on best practices and nationally recognized "outcome measures." It will include a process to review the results of substance abuse programs that are licensed by the state.A new bill says the state will create standards for residential and outpatient programs, and for programs using medication-assisted treatment. The standards will be based on best practices and nationally recognized "outcome measures." It will include a process to review the results of substance abuse programs that are licensed by the state.

A bill up for consideration in Frankfort during the current legislative session would require the state to develop quality standards for all state-licensed substance abuse treatment centers.

House Bill 124 is sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner, a Florence Republican, and Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, a Taylor Mill Republican. The bill calls for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to review the state's current licensing standards for substance abuse treatment programs and develop "enhanced licensure and quality standards" by January of next year.

Moser, a nurse who is director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, said the idea is that the Heath and Family Services Cabinet will base its standards on nationally recognized best practices for drug treatment.

"I deal with plenty of folks that are trying to get into treatment," Moser said. Some substance abuse programs, she said, are reluctant to embrace options that have shown a lot of promise, such as medication-assisted treatment.

"Some treatment centers are resistant to that," Moser said of MAT. For centers that focus on abstinence-based treatment, resistance to MAT is a matter of the center's "philosophy," she said.

Moser said she agrees that abstinence-based drug programs work for some people, but medication-assisted treatment has been shown to help people stay drug-free and participate in their treatment.

The bill says the state will create standards for residential and outpatient programs, and for programs using medication-assisted treatment. The standards will be based on best practices and nationally recognized "outcome measures." It will include a process to review the results of substance abuse programs that are licensed by the state.

She would like the Cabinet to create some "basic parameters" to measure outcomes, Moser said, but those differ by the individual and by the drug to which they are addicted.

"Every individual is different, so what success looks like to one person may be different from another," she said.

The standards will have room for substance abuse treatment providers to run their individual programs, Moser said.

"I still think we need to give the treatment facilities some discretion," she said. "The point is we need (programs) following best practices."

 

By James Mayse
Messenger Inquirer