Ed Hastie grew up on a farm in Montgomery County and always wanted to live in the country. But he became a lawyer, not a farmer, so in 1978, he and his wife bought a 10-acre lot in southern Fayette County.
Preventing land developers and suburban homeowners from collecting a tax break meant to preserve Kentucky’s farmland will not be a high priority in the upcoming legislative session, several lawmakers said Tuesday.
Lexington overcharged the federal government more than $300,000 for conservation easements to protect two farms from future development, a federal audit found, prompting a local review of the city’s farmland preservation program. The review, however, was abruptly halted in June 2015.
The Kentucky Medical Services Foundation is a $200 million billing arm of University of Kentucky HealthCare that is largely out of the public eye. UK officials say the foundation fulfills its mission of aiding UK in multiple pursuits; critics call it a secretive slush fund that UK officials use without oversight.
"Harry Caudill: A Man of Courage" will debut Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at downtown Frankfort's Grand Theatre. Caudill was an Eastern Kentucky lawyer, activist, orator and writer. His 1963 book "Night Comes to the Cumberlands" drew national attention to the plunderous activities of the coal industry in Central Appalachia and the devastation it left.
A Herald-Leader analysis of state enforcement records found that Kentucky’s largest payday loan chains break the same laws time and again. But as they settle hundreds of violations with state regulators, they keep their store licenses and pay fines toward the bottom of the available range.
Kentucky congressmen often use money from their leadership PACs, which critics say are little more than slush funds, to pay for upscale dining, out-of-state trips, clothing, cigars, alcohol, entertainment and payments to lawmakers’ families.
Though Rand Paul’s PAC already had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars around the country on the sort of “testing the waters” expenses typical of someone running for president — travel, political consultants, staff payroll, catering, media production, printing, donor lists, mass mailings — his spokeswoman now says none of those expenses were for the benefit of Paul’s presidential campaign.
Investigators for the state legislature will examine how Kentucky officials annually waive $36.6 billion in property values under the farmland preservation tax break, a subject uncovered in February by a series of stories in the Herald-Leader.
The state has settled a lawsuit by the Lexington Herald-Leader and The (Louisville) Courier-Journal over access to records on child deaths and injuries, agreeing to pay a $250,000 penalty and attorney fees to the papers.
Legislation aimed at limiting Kentucky’s agricultural preservation tax break to working farms died without a hearing in this year’s legislative session, but discussion of the issue will continue, officials said Thursday morning.
After much debate, a House panel on Thursday approved a bill to require greater transparency from the state’s pension systems — including the one for legislators, which would have to begin posting information online.