News in Brief

House votes to permanently increase police incentive pay

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved a bill that would permanently increase annual incentive pay for police officers.

Lawmakers approved House bill 60 by vote of 95-0 on Friday. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

The bill would permanently increase police officers’ incentive pay to $4,000 from $3,100. Lawmakers did this last year, but it was part of the biannual spending plan and would expire after two years.

The money for the incentive pay comes from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund, which is made up of an assessment on property and casualty insurance premiums. The fund often has a surplus, and lawmakers have often spent it to help balance the state budget. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has vowed to stop that practice.


Bill would require schools to buy portable defibrillators

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky’s public schools would have to purchase portable defibrillators under a bill that has passed the state House of Representatives.

Lawmakers approved House bill 252 by a vote of 92-2 on Friday. The bill requires each school council or principal if there is no council to purchase a defibrillator by the 2019-2020 academic year. It also requires the schools to adopt policies on how to use the devices, which uses an electric shock to restart the heart.

Republican Rep. Steve Riley of Glasgow, a retired teacher, said he voted for the bill in honor of a student who died at Barren County High School in 1992 that he tried to resuscitate.

Republican Rep. Lynn Bechler voted against the bill because it requires schools to buy something without giving them the money to purchase it.


High-tech greenhouse to employ 140 in Pikeville

PIKEVILLE (AP) — Cherry tomatoes and bell peppers are among the crops planned for a 2 million-square-foot greenhouse announced for Pikeville.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office announced in a news release the $50 million high-tech facility will create 140 full-time jobs at a former surface coal mine.

AppHarvest’s greenhouse will grow fresh vegetables year-round for consumption in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. The release said the facility will use computerized monitoring and hydroponic, above-ground growing systems.

AppHarvest founder and CEO Jonathan Webb said he expects greenhouse construction to begin in June.

Bevin’s office said the company has received preliminary approval for up to $2.5 million in tax incentives.


House passes bill to back VA nursing home in Bowling Green

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky House has offered a boost for efforts to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green by passing a bill to authorize $10.5 million in bonds for the project.

Its supporters say the commitment of state support will improve chances that the proposed 90-bed facility becomes a reality.

The measure passed on a 99-0 vote Thursday and goes to the Senate.

Supporters say the $10.5 million in bonds would be used to match $19.5 million in federal funding. Rep. Jody Richards says Bowling Green has offered a parcel of land just off a new interchange that will open soon as the site for the nursing home.

Rep. Michael Meredith of Brownsville says the nursing home would support 40,000 veterans in southcentral Kentucky.

The legislation is House Bill 13.


2 Indiana officers honored for saving suicidal man’s life

MADISON (AP) — Two southern Indiana police officers have been honored for saving a suicidal man who ventured beyond pedestrian guardrails on an Ohio River bridge.

Madison Assistant Police Chief Jeremey Perkins and Detective Ty Eblen received letters of commendation during Tuesday’s city council meeting for their efforts in saving the man.

The Madison Courier reports the officers found the man Feb. 15 on the other side of the pedestrian crosswalk handrails on the Madison-Milton Bridge that links the southern Indiana city with Milton, Kentucky.

The officers were able to talk him back to safety in the city about 40 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky.

Police Chief Dan Thurston says there’s no doubt his officers saved a life that day.

The two officers say they were just doing their job.

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