News Around the State

Fate of Ky.’s new pension law to be decided by July

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge says he plans to decide by July 14 whether he will block a new law making changes to Kentucky’s troubled pension plan from taking effect.

State lawmakers passed a law earlier this month making changes to the state’s underfunded pension system. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued, saying it violates the state constitution and lawmakers broke the law when they passed it.

Some provisions of the law take effect July 14, while others won’t take effect until Jan. 1. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said Thursday he is confident the case can be decided by July 14. However, he said the case will probably have to be decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Memo: Ky. pension fund ignored advice about hedge funds

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A new memo in a lawsuit over Kentucky’s struggling pension fund says the fund lost public money on more than $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments in recent years, despite advisements that such investments were too risky.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports attorney Ann Oldfather wrote in a memo filed Friday that the defendants made false assurances about the investments to KRS member and taxpayers and didn’t publicize losses.

Oldfather represents eight public employees who filed a lawsuit against investment firms KKR & Co., Prisma Capital Partners, The Blackstone Group and Pacific Alternative Asset Management in December. Several current and former KRS trustees and executives are also named.

The defendants have filed individual responses denying wrongdoing.

KRS faces a $27 billion shortfall. Its board of trustees is considering joining the lawsuit.

Ky. attorney general files fifth opioid lawsuit

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general has filed a fifth lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for deceptive marketing of opioid-based painkillers.

Andy Beshear says he has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries Ortho-McNeil and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. Beshear says the companies claimed the opioid drugs were “rarely addictive” when used for chronic pain.

Janssen spokeswoman Jessica Castles Smith said the companies’ marketing practices were “appropriate and responsible.” She called Beshear’s allegations “baseless and unsubstantiated.”

Beshear has also sued Endo Pharmaceuticals, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation. Together, Beshear said those companies supplied 85 percent of opioid-based prescription painkillers in Kentucky.

From 2006 to 2015, Beshear said Kentucky had more opioid prescriptions than people and the state had the sixth-highest number of opioid-related deaths in the country.

City approves alcohol sales by 10-vote margin

HODGENVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky town has narrowly approved alcohol sales within city limits in a special election.

The News-Enterprise reports that Hodgenville voters split 347- 337 on Tuesday’s ballot. The town has more than 3,000 residents.

The initiative was spearheaded by Hodgenville City Councilwoman Lisa Reidner, who was motivated by the potential revenue, sales and taxes for the city. Reidner said residents were helping other towns when they traveled to purchase alcohol.

Per state law, she bore the cost of the election as the petitioner. She said the effort cost her $10,000, some of which was offset by donations.

Reidner’s campaign overcame yard signs posted around town that said “Alcohol destroys lives.” Retired police officer Dustin Toler said he’d been to the scene of too many DUIs.

Officer shoots driver during police chase

BURKESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities in Kentucky say a law enforcement officer shot a suspect after an attempted traffic stop led to a chase.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Nick Hale tells news outlets the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office responded Tuesday morning to a report of a suspicious vehicle, but the car wouldn’t pull over. Burkesville police and Kentucky State Police joined in the chase, which ended when the suspect crashed into the deputy’s vehicle.

An officer’s weapon was fired during the pursuit, but authorities haven’t identified exactly when the shot was fired or which department the officer was with.

The wounded suspect wasn’t immediately identified and was listed in critical condition.

A female passenger wasn’t injured and was arrested on outstanding warrants.

No officers were injured.

Governor appoints judge for central Ky. vacancy

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Brian Privett to fill an opening for Circuit Court judge for Scott, Woodford and Bourbon counties.

Privett, of Paris, will serve until the position is filled by the November elections.

Privett is a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. A release from the governor’s office says he has practiced civil litigation, property, wills and estates, family law, criminal defense and other areas.

He has served as assistant county attorney in Bourbon and Harrison counties and as an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney.

School band to be in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — A high school band from Kentucky will perform at the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

News outlets report the Madison Central High School Marching Band learned about the performance on Wednesday. Madison Central in Richmond was chosen as one of the nine bands to perform out of hundreds of bands that applied from across country.

The performing students will spend the next 19 months preparing for the event with rehearsals and fundraisers, and the week of the event in New York City.

Man shot by deputy in serious condition

ROANOKE, Ky. (AP) — A man shot in Roanoke by a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy was in serious condition after being flown to a hospital.

News outlets report the man was shot after fleeing deputies with the LaRue County Sheriff’s Office who attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The unidentified man led deputies on a high speed chase Wednesday that ended when one deputy shot him.

State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory says the man is known to law enforcement and wanted on warrants including failure to appear in court. The man was alert and talking when he was flown to a Louisville hospital. News outlets report that he was the only person in the car.

State police are investigating.