Somewhat slow news day in the Kentucky politics space ... but we’ve got you a few snippets and excerpts.
Beshear unveils changes to juvenile detention system
Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday announced plans to revamp Kentucky's troubled juvenile detention system by assigning male teenagers to facilities based on the severity of their offenses. The new classification system — for male juveniles ages 14 and older — is aimed at enhancing safety in a system struggling with violent outbursts. A riot broke out last month at one Kentucky juvenile detention center, leaving several young people and staff wounded.
Beginning in 2023, the new system will place male juveniles charged with serious crimes in a high-security facility, Beshear said at his weekly news conference. It will replace a decades-old regional system that has placed juveniles in detention facilities based on where they live. (Herald-Leader)
Paducah city commission weighing options after commissioner sends racially-insensitive texts
The Paducah City Commission is weighing whether or not to remove member David Guess after racially insensitive text messages sent last month came to light. The issue was the lone agenda item in a called meeting Wednesday night which included an executive session that lasted over two hours.
“On November 8, 2022, city employees removed political signs from city-owned property that were in violation of the city’s sign ordinance. Some of the removed signs were advertising an African-American candidate for city commissioner,” said Mayor George Bray after the closed session, referring to the campaign signage of commission candidate Dujuan Thomas. “Commissioner David Guess sent a series of text messages to a city employee wherein Commissioner Guess made the statements: ‘You got dujan [sic] under control’ and ‘Whitey keeping a black man down,’ ” Bray said. (Paducah Sun)
Louisville mayor-elect Greenberg names interim police chief
Mayor-elect Craig Greenberg announced on Friday that he has selected Deputy Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel as Louisville Metro Police Department's interim chief. She'll take over the position on Jan. 2, 2023, in place of Chief Erika Shields, who announced in November she will resign on the day Greenberg takes office.
Greenberg said Gwinn-Villaroel was selected after a thorough interview process and input from the community. (Spectrum News)
Kentucky leads the way in improving college completion rates
Kentucky is at the head of the pack nationally for its improvements in six-year college completion rates, state higher education officials said.
The six-year college completion rate in Kentucky increased by 1.1 percentage points, making it one of only five states to record gains of 1 percentage point or more, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education said in a news release Thursday.
Kentucky's gains tied for second best in the nation, the council said, citing a recent report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. (WHAS 11)
Advocates urge Congress to update black lung program
Once upon a time, it was thought that a coal miner might at least be able to work a few decades before struggling for breath. But as miners begin to drop out of the workforce due to the deadly and incurable black lung disease, they are losing out on the prime of their lives and a lifetime of wages.
When a miner is diagnosed with black lung, they can seek money from a former employer to help pay for medical visits or disability, similar to a worker’s compensation plan. But advocates argue the program’s benefits have been diminished by inflation, and the approval process is a labyrinth of applications, doctors visits and bureaucracy.
They’re urging federal lawmakers to boost benefits and streamline the process through the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act before the end of the year, when a newly divided Congress takes office. (Louisville Public Media)