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April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

Journalists from around the state discuss news of the week with host Bill Bryant. Guests: Jack Brammer from the Lexington Herald-Leader; Marcus Green from WDRB in Louisville; and Deborah Yetter from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
S43 E24 Length 26:31 Premiere: 4.28.17

News of the Week: April 28, 2017

In the final hours of the 2017 General Assembly session, Gov. Matt Bevin asked lawmakers to allocate $15 million to lure an unnamed manufacturer to locate a new factory somewhere in eastern Kentucky. Despite the dearth of details, legislators approved the incentive package.

The mystery was finally resolved Wednesday when Braidy Industries announced it would invest $1.3 billion to build a massive aluminum rolling mill in Greenup County.

The journalists on KET’s Comment on Kentucky discussed the details of the project, as well as other economic and political news from around the commonwealth.

Jobs for Northeastern Kentucky
Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader calls the announcement a “home run” for the Bevin administration and a boon for a part of the state that’s struggled with losses of coal and manufacturing jobs in recent years. He says Braidy Industries plans to build on a $2.5-million-per-square-foot facility near the community of South Shore. Construction of the mill is expected to create 1,000 jobs; when operational, the facility will employ 550 people, earning an average of $38 an hour (including benefits), says Brammer.

Braidy Industries considered 24 locations before settling on Greenup County. Brammer says the company cited the state’s right-to-work status, which legislators approved earlier this year, as a reason for selecting Kentucky. The state will also provide the $15 million payment as well as $10 million in tax breaks over the next 15 years, according to Brammer.

To get those incentives, the company will have to give full-time employment to 367 Kentucky residents, says Marcus Green of WDRB-TV in Louisville. He says Braidy sought a plant site with good access to railroads and river shipping. He says they considered locating in the Riverport industrial area of southwest Jefferson County before selecting the site along the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky. Green says the facility will produce aluminum for the auto and aerospace industries.

This marks the third major project announced for the state this year. In January, Amazon said it would spend $1.5 billion on a worldwide air hub at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. And in April, Toyota announced it would invest $1.33 billion to upgrade its Georgetown auto assembly facility. Brammer says Gov. Bevin is focusing his energies on major economic development projects, which could result in more jobs announcements in the future.

Making Money and Doing Good
For-profit Kentucky businesses will soon be able to include doing social good as part of their founding documents.

Green says some 30 states already allow for so-called public benefit corporations that write environmental, economic, educational, or other social goals into their articles of incorporation. If the company is later sold to new owners, they would have to continue to abide by those goals. Prominent examples of such companies include ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s and the outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia.

Rep. Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) sponsored public-benefit corporation legislation that state lawmakers approved in March. Green says chamber of commerce officials hope the move will attract more investment capital to the commonwealth.

Kentucky businesses can apply to be public-benefit corporations starting later this year. Green says the specific social goals included in a company’s mission must remain in place unless a vast majority of shareholders vote to change them.

Foster Care and Adoption
With more than 8,000 children in state care, judges around the commonwealth are seeing more cases of child abuse and neglect on their dockets.

Deborah Yetter of the Louisville Courier-Journal says Jefferson Family Court Chief Judge Paula Sherlock had 60 such cases on one day recently, and that nine other judges in Louisville are hearing similar cases of children being beaten, whipped, burned, or sexually abused. There are now some 15,000 incidents of substantiated child abuse or neglect each year in the commonwealth, according to Yetter.

Gov. Bevin has prioritized improving Kentucky’s foster care and adoption systems so that more children in state care get placed in good homes. Yetter says Bevin wants to streamline the adoption process, which can be complicated and costly. The governor is expected to appoint what he’s calling a “czar” to oversee adoption and foster care.

The 2017 General Assembly passed legislation that will enable foster children to be placed with individuals who are not blood relations but do have an existing emotional relationship with the child. But Yetter says lawmakers failed to approve support payments for relatives who take in a child of a family member. She says the state used to pay $300 a month to individuals who cared for a related child, but the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear ended those payments due to budget problems.

The fact that Kentucky no longer supports family members who provide foster care while it does pay a stipend of $25 a day to traditional foster parents could wind up before the U. S. Supreme Court. Yetter says the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided in favor of a Lexington woman who sought help for taking in two of her nephews. The ruling says if the state approves temporary placement of a child in the home of a relative, then that is equivalent to foster care and the state has to make support payments. Yetter says that could be a huge expense for the commonwealth, if the decision is upheld. She says the state is hiring Washington attorneys in preparation for a possible Supreme Court fight.

Meanwhile, a family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe Counties says he will no longer hear adoption cases that involve prospective parents who are homosexual. Yetter says Judge Mitchell Nance will hand those cases off to another judge. She says the judge made that decision because of his religious principles.

Democrats Seek Congressional Candidates
Two high-profile Democrats have opted not to run for Congress next year against incumbent Rep. Andy Barr (KY-6).

Brammer says current Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and former state Auditor Adam Edelen will not enter the Democratic primary for that seat. He says there’s some speculation that one or both Democrats might seek the governor’s office in 2019.

That leaves the Democratic race to challenge Barr wide open. Brammer says Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a fighter pilot with Kentucky roots, is considering a run. She won’t announce her decision until she retires from the military this summer. Brammer says followers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders might try to field a candidate in the race. And Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who tried to unseat U. S. Sen. Rand Paul last year, might enter the contest as well.

Barr, a Republican in his third term, already has nearly $800,000 in his campaign coffers.

The opinions expressed on Comment on Kentucky and in this program synopsis are the responsibility of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of KET.

Program Details

Comment on Kentucky

About Comment on Kentucky

KET's longest-running public affairs program has been assembling journalists to offer perspectives on the week's news and newsmakers since 1974. The program is hosted by Bill Bryant.

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Season 43 Episodes

October 27, 2017

S43 E50 Length 26:36 Premiere Date 10.27.17

October 20, 2017

S43 E49 Length 26:35 Premiere Date 10.20.17

October 13, 2017

S43 E48 Length 26:44 Premiere Date 10.13.17

October 6, 2017

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September 29, 2017

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September 22, 2017

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September 15, 2017

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September 8, 2017

S43 E43 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 9.8.17

September 1, 2017

S43 E42 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 9.1.17

August 25, 2017

S43 E41 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 8.25.17

August 18, 2017

S43 E40 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.18.17

August 11, 2017

S43 E39 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 8.12.17

August 4, 2017

S43 E38 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 8.4.17

July 29, 2017

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July 21, 2017

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July 14, 2017

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July 7, 2017

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June 30, 2017

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June 23, 2017

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June 16, 2017

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June 9, 2017

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June 2, 2017

S43 E29 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 6.5.17

May 26, 2017

S43 E28 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.26.17

May 19, 2017

S43 E27 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.22.17

May 12, 2017

S43 E26 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 5.12.17

May 5, 2017

S43 E25 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 5.8.17

April 28, 2017

S43 E24 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.28.17

April 21, 2017

S43 E23 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 4.24.17

April 14, 2017

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April 7, 2017

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March 31, 2017

S43 E19 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 3.31.17

March 24, 2017

S43 E18 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 3.24.17

March 17, 2017

S43 E17 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 3.17.17

March 10, 2017

S43 E16 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 3.10.17

March 3, 2017

S43 E15 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.3.17

February 24. 2017

S43 E14 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 2.24.17

February 17, 2017

S43 E13 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 2.17.17

February 10, 2017

S43 E12 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 2.10.17

February 3, 2017

S43 E11 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 2.3.17

January 27, 2017

S43 E10 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 1.27.17

January 20, 2017

S43 E9 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.20.17

January 13, 2017

S43 E8 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.13.17

January 6, 2017

S43 E7 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 1.6.17

December 16, 2016

S43 E6 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 12.16.16

December 9, 2016

S43 E5 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 12.9.16

December 2, 2016

S43 E4 Length 24:46 Premiere Date 12.2.16

November 18, 2016

S43 E3 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.18.16

November 11, 2016

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November 4, 2016

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