News Around the State

Lawmakers vote to update laws against price gouging

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have voted to update laws against price gouging in times of emergencies. The bill proposes guidelines to determine when price hikes are unlawfully excessive.

The House passed the bill 58-36 Tuesday, sending it to Gov. Matt Bevin.

The laws aim to protect people from excessive price hikes in times of emergencies for essentials such as food and emergency supplies.

Under the bill, an increase of 10 percent or less above the price on the day before the governor’s order triggering the consumer protections wouldn’t violate the law. A bill critic, Rep. Jim Wayne, says that would let companies hike prices in anticipation of an emergency declaration.

Also, total penalties against any violator could not exceed $25,000 for any 24-hour period.

Supporters say the bill adds clarity to anti-gouging laws to assist with compliance. Attorney General Andy Beshear has said the bill would weaken consumer protections.

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The bill is Senate Bill 160.

Western Kentucky University cuts fewer staff than expected

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Western Kentucky University’s president says the staffing cuts to make up $15 million budget shortfall will be slightly less severe than initially anticipated.

News outlets cite a campus-wide email Timothy Caboni sent Monday announcing 62 filled full-time positions are being eliminated, instead of 100, while 57 vacant positions will go unfilled, instead of 40. While the total number of cuts is less than what was forecast in February, Caboni says further cuts will come after lawmakers pass a state budget.

According to a list of the eliminated positions furnished by the university, 19 vacant positions are instructional, including 17 professorships, but no professorships are among the filled positions being cut.

Caboni says all affected employees have been notified. He says the cuts reflect that WKU has become a smaller institution.

Kentucky trooper fatally shoots armed suspect in car theft

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say a Kentucky trooper fatally shot an armed suspect after a chase with a stolen vehicle.

Kentucky State Police announced Daviess County Sheriff’s deputies and a trooper responding to a report of a Jeep performing “donuts” Monday evening found the vehicle was stolen. As they approached the home where the car was found, the suspect ran out, got in the car and sped away.

The trooper found the suspect after he crashed and fled on foot. The man was ordered to drop a gun, but police said he didn’t comply and approached, at which point the trooper fired his rifle.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Corey King told the Messenger-Inquirer it’s unknown if the unidentified man was trying to commit “suicide by cop.”

The shooting is under investigation.

Police fatally shoot armed man who broke into ex-wife’s home

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) — A police officer fatally shot an armed man who authorities say broke into his ex-wife’s Kentucky home.

Georgetown Police Chief Mike Bosse tells news outlets the intruder was armed with two handguns early Tuesday and raised his arm during a confrontation with responding officers, which led to the shooting.

Bosse says the ex-wife was inside the home during the shooting, while a male resident believed to be the intruder’s target ran out the back. Both residents called 911, while a child slept through the entire incident.

Bosse says the residents had reported the suspect’s behavior in the past and had sought an emergency protective order that was denied in another county.

Police say the unidentified man also had two hunting knives on him, along with an AR-15 in his car.

Kentucky officials to experiment with blocking invasive fish

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say researchers will experiment with a riverbed bubbler and sound system as an environmentally friendly way to block the spread of an invasive fish.

The Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet says the technology will be tested below Barkley Dam in western Kentucky.

The agency says the Asian carp is a concern throughout the Mississippi River basin, including the Tennessee River, which forms Kentucky Lake, and the Cumberland River, which forms Lake Barkley.

The European technology was originally designed to steer migrating salmon back into main river channels. The agency says the Bio-Acoustic Fish Fence creates a curtain of bubbles, which, along with a powerful sound signal, produces a “wall of sound” underwater.

The cabinet says anglers who fish in parts of the lock canal may be affected.

House OKs boosting benefits for families of slain officers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House has voted to increase death benefits for the surviving spouses and children of police officers killed in the line of duty.

House members passed the bill 89-0 Monday while the spouses of several slain police officers watched from the gallery. The measure now goes to the Senate.

The bill would cover a wide range of public employees, including police officers, firefighters and other state workers. But the focus was on the family members of police officers.

Currently, their spouses can receive 25 percent of the officer’s salary, or take whatever retirement benefits the officer was eligible for at the time of death. The bill would change that, letting spouses receive 75 percent of their loved one’s salary.

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The legislation is House Bill 185.