Wednesday News & Notes

Forward Kentucky
Forward Kentucky

Senate approves healthcare bill for vets sickened by burn pits while serving; Paul votes against it

A bill enhancing health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits won final approval in the Senate on Tuesday, ending a brief stalemate over the measure that had infuriated advocates and inspired some to camp outside the Capitol.

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 86-11. It now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. Biden described the legislation as the biggest expansion of benefits for service-connected health issues in 30 years and the largest single bill ever to address exposure to burn pits.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was one of the 11 Republicans to vote against the bill. (WHAS)

Governor, legislative leaders consider special session to deal with EKY flooding

Money has poured into a charity set up by the state to help Eastern Kentucky flooding victims, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday, but more work remains as temperatures rise this week, and a special session for relief could be in the works.

Legislators from the region have suggested a special session in the Kentucky legislature to help cities affected by flooding spend money from donations, Beshear said.

In a separate press conference Wednesday, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said discussions about a special session on how to use emergency flood relief funds have taken place, but additional details are still being worked out. It could be modeled around similar legislation passed in the aftermath of the tornadoes in Western Kentucky late last year, Stivers added. (Courier-Journal)

U of L physicians' work at abortion clinic suspended amid complaints by legislators

Two University of Louisville medical professors have suspended their work at EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only full-time abortion clinic, after questions arose from lawmakers who oppose abortion.

Jessica Loving, a former U of L board chair and abortion rights supporter, said she’s concerned by the appearance that anti-abortion lawmakers are using state funding to pressure U of L.

“I think it's very inappropriate for legislators to try to hold an academic institution hostage, particularly when it involves medical care,” she said. (Courier-Journal)

Rep. Pam Stevenson considering run for Kentucky AG

Multiple sources tell Kentucky Fried Politics that state Rep. Pam Stevenson is considering a run for Kentucky Attorney General next year. Stevenson, a Democrat from the West End of Louisville, is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel elected to the state House of Representatives in 2020. She is uncontested this year in her bid for re-election. While in the Air Force she served as a judge advocate (JAG) representing America. Stevenson is also the founder of a nonprofit law center that helps veterans, the elderly, and working families. (KY Fried Politics)

Kentucky prosecutor who got a defendant pregnant is now running for judge

An elected commonwealth attorney in Southern Kentucky who admitted getting a criminal defendant pregnant, then moved to rescind her pretrial diversion agreement when she told his then-wife about the affair, is seeking higher office.

Matthew Leveridge, commonwealth's attorney of Russell and Wayne counties, has never been disciplined for having sex in 2014 with Latisha Sartain. Now, eight years after their brief affair that ended when she got pregnant, Leveridge is running for circuit judge. (Courier-Journal)

And from the Twitterverse, one from a month ago that we missed:

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