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February 27, 2018

"A Quilt with a story”

As a quilt warms your body, the story behind the quilt can warm your heart.  With that in mind, “Quilted Treasures”, the quilt guild of Lawrence County, Kentucky, would like to invite you to a celebration of all quilters on March 10, 2018 at the Lawrence County Extension Office, Louisa, Kentucky, for “A Quilt With A Story” program.

 

 

All quilters are invited to bring in a quilt and tell the story behind the quilt.  The story can be anything you would like to share with others about the quilt such as the history of the quilt or the quilter, the reason the quilt was made, or why it means something special.  Presentations will be held between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon and visitors can come and go as needed.  Quilts made by the guild will be available for viewing and admission to all events is free.  A soup and sandwich luncheon will be served for the presenters and District 10 members at noon.

In 1989, the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society organized a “Quilter’s Day Out” to celebrate the rich tradition of quilt making in Kentucky.  It was so successful that in 1992, it started being celebrated on a national level and is now celebrated internationally.  This event hosted by the Lawrence County quilt guild will be the KHQS District 10 celebration.  District 10 is made from guilds in Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup, and Lawrence counties and they would like to invite any and all quilters to join them on March 10, 2018 for this special program.

 

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February 23, 2018

This Week at the State Capitol

February 19-23, 2018

FRANKFORT -- The most-anticipated bill of the General Assembly’s 2018 session was unveiled this week with the introduction of a public pension reform bill in the Senate.

The proposal is different in significant ways than the one that was unveiled last fall. Perhaps most significantly, the new plan does not call for moving public employees into a defined contribution 401 (k) –style system. Though some policymakers were philosophically drawn to the idea of going to such a system, it proved to be too costly, especially during tight budget times, legislative leaders said.

Those who unveiled the new plan, introduced as Senate Bill 1, say it is data-driven and based on actuarial analysis. The plan would fully fund public pensions and eliminate unfunded pension liabilities of an estimated $40 to $60 billion over several decades.

In addition to calling for more money to support the systems, the new approach would also achieve cost-savings in numerous ways, such as cutting in half the cost-of-living adjustments for retired teachers for 12 years. It would also prevent state employees from using sick time as a bridge to retiring early with full benefits.

The legislation will be debated in the legislative committee system before it has a chance to be heard by the full Senate. Legislative leaders say that actuarial analysis supporting the plan will be released to the public for review before lawmakers vote on the matter.

In other business this week, legislation on a number of other issues advanced:

*  Dyslexia. House Bill 187 would require the state to provide school districts with a “dyslexia toolkit” to guide instruction of students with dyslexic traits. In hopes to provide a mechanism to fund district support for dyslexic students, HB 187 has passed the House Education Committee and now returns to the full House for further consideration.

 

*  Terrorism. Senate Bill 57 would allow someone injured by an act of terrorism to file a claim for damages against the terrorist, giving the victim recourse through the state when federal law may not view an act as terrorism. With a 17-0 vote from the House Judiciary Committee, the measure now goes to the House floor for further consideration,



*  Pawn Shops. House Bill 74 would make it harder to pawn stolen items in Kentucky by requiring the daily transactions at pawnshops to be entered into a database accessible to police. After passing the state Senate with a 35-0 vote, the legislation now goes back to the House for consideration of a Senate amendment to the bill.



*  Sex Trafficking. Senate Resolution 149 recognizes the hospitality industry’s role in identifying and preventing child sex trafficking and encourages Kentuckians to patronize hospitality facilities that participate in the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. With a 35-0 vote on the Senate floor, SR 149 has been adopted.

*  Sex offenders. House Bill 70 is an attempt to clarify and revise Kentucky’s restrictions on internet access for registered sex offenders after a unanimous decision by U.S Supreme Court last year that struck down a similar North Carolina ban. After passing the Senate Judiciary committee, HB 70 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

*  Adoption and Foster Care. House Bill 1 seeks to alter several aspects of Kentucky’s current adoption and foster care laws. These provisions would allow the state to charge a mother with child abuse if she gives birth to a drug-addicted baby, streamline rules for termination of parental rights, and ensure that dependent, neglected or abused children placed in foster care are reunified with family or placed in a new permanent home in a timely manner. Passing through a House committee meeting this week, HB 1 now goes to the full House for consideration.

If you’d like to share feedback on issues under consideration with state lawmakers, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.

 By Robert Weber (LRC) <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..gov>';document.getElementById('cloak3e400acc6fbd588e73cda59320223f43').innerHTML += ''+addy_text3e400acc6fbd588e73cda59320223f43+'<\/a>'; ;

February 23, 2018

Republican lawmakers said legislation aimed at overhauling Kentucky’s pension system for government employees and retirees could save taxpayers $4.8 billion over the next 30 years while also eliminating an unfunded liability of more than $40 billion.

Pensions GOP meeting: State Sen. Joe Bowen, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Pro Tem David OsbornePensions GOP meeting: State Sen. Joe Bowen, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne


While they tried to build public sentiment for the measure that was filed late Tuesday, government workers and retirees came out strongly against it, saying lawmakers should have found ways to generate more revenue, rather than relying on structural changes to restore financial solvency to the plan.


State Sen. Joe Bowen, the chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee where the bill will have its first hearing in about a week, said one important component of the process has been sharing the risk.





GOP lawmakers talked about the pension reform bill :

Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne and state Sen. Joe Bowen. (Photo by Tom Latek/Kentucky Today)

“The taxpayers had assumed all of the risk in these plans and we addressed that,” said the Owensboro Republican. “Now the risk is being spread out, and that’s a major concern for a lot of folks out there. Not necessarily the folks in the system, but the people that are ultimately responsible for funding the system, the taxpayers.”




Bowen, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne met with reporters in the Capitol Annex on Wednesday morning to provide details about the measure that was introduced Tuesday night.

They did not release a written copy of the actuarial analysis showing where the savings would come. 


Stivers cautioned the actual amount of the unfunded liability is a moving target.


“If you go from year to year, it can go from $30 to $40 million to sometimes being $100 million, almost $1 billion in some years,” he said.




Before filing the overhaul legislation, Republican lawmakers removed a provision that would have moved new hires into a mandatory 401 (k)-style system.




“There were some people who felt very strongly from an ideological standpoint that we needed to transition to a defined contribution plan,” Osborne said. “But when the data came back, it didn’t support financially our ability to do that. 


”When we’re making difficult budget decisions right now, it’s very difficult to stand on ideology, when we’re making significant cuts to programs across the spectrum of the budget.”




Under the overhaul, teachers with less than 20 years on the job would have to work until age 60 with at least 35 years of service to avoid a reduced pension. 


Future teachers would enroll in a cash-balance plan that reflected investment returns in their individual accounts, rather than a traditional defined-benefit pension.


State employees would no longer be permitted to use accumulated sick days to earn time toward their 27 years of service retirement.




“If they had a year and a half of sick day credits, they could stop working at 25-and-a-half years and get credit for 27,” Stivers said.

“You’ll now have to get to 27 years before you use them.”




According to Stivers, a big component in eliminating the unfunded liability is putting more money in the system. 




“The only thing we were doing was making part of the interest payment and re-amortizing it into the principle,” he said. “We’re going to start the liabilities down by additional contributions from the General Fund.”


The Kentucky Public Pension Coalition said in a press release the bill was unacceptable.

“After a brief review, we are very concerned about many aspects of the bill that harm dedicated public servants, including unfairly reducing the benefits they have earned. We look forward to a more in-depth review of the bill in coming days.”




Bowen said the bill, which was introduced Tuesday, was the culmination of six months of hard work.




“I, for one, don’t think anyone can really find any fault with what we’ve done,” he said.

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today