Lawmaker says ‘neighborhood schools’ bill dead

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Latest on the Kentucky legislature (all times local):

4:45 p.m.
One of the top Republicans in the state Senate says a bill that would let students attend the school closest to their home will not pass this year.
Senate Republican Caucus chairman Dan Seum said lawmakers did not have enough time to pass House Bill 151. But he said the bill would return next year, vowing to hold hearings on it over the summer so lawmakers could consider it for the 2018 legislative session.
Opponents said the bill would have effectively ended the busing system for Jefferson County Public Schools, designed to integrate the state’s largest school district. The school board publicly opposed the bill.
Seum said the busing program placed hardships on families and said it did not improve the district’s performance.
3:20 p.m.
Kentuckians could have to post a bond of up to $250,000 in order to appeal a zoning decision under a bill that has cleared the state Senate.
House Bill 72 would require a judge to set an appeal bond if the opposing party requests it. The bond would be up to $250,000 if the judge deems the appeal to be frivolous or $100,000 if the judge rules the appeal has merit.
A version of the bill that passed the House of Representatives would have exempted churches from paying the bond. The Senate, however, removed that exemption and replaced it with an exemption for people challenging the creation, operation or expansion of a landfill.
The bill narrowly passed the Senate with an 18-16 vote. It now goes back to the House to consider the changes.
3:10 p.m.
Kentucky lawmakers have given final approval to a bill aimed at making it easier for terminally ill patients to obtain experimental treatments.
Senate bill 21 cleared the House on an 87-7 vote Tuesday and goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.
The so-called “Right to Try” bill would apply to drugs that successfully completed the first phase of clinical trials but have not yet been approved for general use by federal regulators.
Supporters say it can take years for drugs to complete those trials – time that many terminally ill patients don’t have.
The measure – Senate Bill 21 – includes protections for doctors and other health providers if they recommend such treatments.
Supporters say that at the start of the year, 33 other states had already enacted similar laws.
3 p.m.
Kentucky’s public universities would be competing against each other for more than basketball and football victories under legislation headed to Gov. Matt Bevin. They’ll be vying for state funding.
The House gave final approval Tuesday to Senate Bill 153 that would create a performance-based formula for distributing state funds to the state’s public universities.
The overhaul in financing higher education would be phased in under the measure. Supporters say the goal is to improve student retention and graduation rates.
The formula would base 35 percent of funding on student success, including the awarding of bachelor’s degrees and the number of science, technology, engineering and math degrees awarded. Another 35 percent would be based on course completion, and 30 percent would hinge on operational needs on campuses.
2:25 p.m.
Kentucky lawmakers have agreed to loosen inspection requirements for underground coal mines.
The Kentucky Senate gave final approval to House Bill 384 on Tuesday. It would give the Department of Natural Resources commissioner discretion to replace up to three safety inspections with a mine safety analysis visit. It would also let the commissioner reduce the number of electrical inspections from two to one.
The bill would not affect federal mine inspections. Supporters say the bill would give the state flexibility to focus on other safety measures.
But others were reluctant to vote for a bill that would reduce inspections. Former coal miner and Democratic state Sen. Robin Webb voted against the bill, saying she worried fellow miners’ blood would be on her hands if an accident occurred.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Categories: News, State News

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