News in Brief

Ky. Senate sends pension bill to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky state Senate has agreed to make changes to three of the state’s public pension systems.

Senate Bill 2 would impact the Kentucky Retirement System, the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and the Judicial Retirement System. It would require the governor to appoint people with investment experience to the various pension governing boards. And each appointment by the governor would have to be first be confirmed by the state Senate.

The bill also requires the systems to post more detailed financial information for the public, including fees and commissions paid to investment managers.

Kentucky has one of the worst funded public pension systems in the country. The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk.


House agrees to tax break aimed at new Amazon hub

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at giving online retailer Amazon a tax break on the purchase of jet fuel as part of its decision to locate a major air hub in northern Kentucky.

House Bill 368 would extend the tax credit on jet fuel to companies that contract with certificated air carriers. Once a company pays $1 million in sales taxes on jet fuel, jet fuel purchases for the rest of the fiscal year would be tax free. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

Taxes on jet fuel help maintain publicly funded airports. State officials estimate the proposal would cost the state about $3 million next year.

Amazon is expected to invest $1.5 billion in northern Kentucky and create 2,700 jobs.


UK plans regional medical school in northern Kentucky

LEXINGTON (AP) — The University of Kentucky has announced plans for a third regional medical school, with the latest campus to be located in the northern part of the state.

UK said in a statement Monday that it has partnered with Northern Kentucky University and St. Elizabeth Healthcare to develop a campus where students will receive a four-year medical education. The statement said the aim of the school is to increase the number of physicians in Kentucky.

UK has previously announced plans to develop regional campuses in Bowling Green and Morehead.

“In Kentucky we have a shortage of physicians, especially primary care physicians, throughout the state,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “As the university for Kentucky, we are working in close partnership with leading universities in our state and regional medical centers to directly respond to this need. Additionally, this collaboration will allow us to expand college of medicine enrollment in a manner that effectively and efficiently utilizes existing resources throughout the state.”

UK medical school dean Robert DiPaola says the Lexington campus has a deep applicant pool but is at capacity and can’t expand enrollment without regional partners.

“NKU is proud to have the opportunity to partner with the University of Kentucky and St. Elizabeth Healthcare to leverage our individual strengths and the power of our brands to bring professional medical education to Northern Kentucky,” NKU President Geoffrey Mearns said. “Among other things, this medical school campus at NKU will help us further the mission of our Health Innovation Center to improve the health of the people that we serve.”

Details are still being worked out, but officials from UK, NKU and St. Elizabeth have signed a memorandum of understanding.


House approves proposal aimed at relieving Yum Center debt

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved a proposal aimed at helping the Louisville Arena Authority pay off debt for the Yum Center.

House Bill 330 would extend the time period of the tax increment financing district that surrounds the Yum Center to 45 years from 20 years. That would give the authority more time to collect revenue to pay off the bonds that were issued to build the Yum Center, home to the University of Louisville men’s basketball team.

The Yum Center’s debt payments have risen in the past few years, and the board has warned it would not be able to cover those costs by 2020. The bill easily passed the Republican-controlled chamber by a vote of 79-12. It now heads to the state Senate.


$970K grant going to new aluminum plant in Henderson Co.

HENDERSON (AP) — The Kentucky Department for Local Government has approved a $970,000 block grant for the development of a 75,000-square-foot facility in Henderson County run by Hansens Aluminum that will create 50 jobs.

A release says the company has invested $18 million for the acquisition of land, construction and equipment for the facility in the Henderson Riverport Industrial Area. The company exports machined products to the auto industry around the world.

State Sen. Dorsey Ridley called the project much-needed for an economic boost to the area. The South African company has acquired 10 acres of land for the facility.

The community block grant program provides assistance for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities.


University sues 2 student publications over records

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Western Kentucky University has sued two student publications in response to an opinion by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear that found school officials should have turned over records related to sexual misconduct investigations.

The Daily News of Bowling Green reports that Western filed suit Friday in Warren Circuit Court against its student newspaper, the College Heights Herald, and the University of Kentucky newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel.

Beshear ruled in January that that WKU’s decision to turn down the newspapers’ requests for records violated the state’s open records statute. He said the papers must be allowed access to the records, with the exception of personal identifiers of the complainants and witnesses.

WKU says in its complaint that the ruling “clearly violates” state and federal law as well as the privacy of victims, witnesses and students involved in sexual misconduct investigations.

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