Attorneys General Advising Congress to Scrap Legislation Blocking State Oversight of Student Loan Industry

Attorney General Andy Beshear and a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general sent a letter urging congress to scrap legislation that would block states from combating fraud and abuse by the student loan industry. The coalition is advising Congress to remove language from the pending version of the Higher Education Act reauthorization, H.R. 4508, also known as the PROSPER Act, that will obstruct state oversight of private companies that initiate, service or collect on student loans. Beshear said that protecting Kentucky students from predatory loan companies who seek to mislead them is simply the right thing to do, and Congress must take immediate action and join their coalition in standing up for students.

Black Lung Tax Extension Proposed to Congress

According to a report from E&E News, an extension of the black lung tax has been proposed in Congress. The proposal would use the increased revenue from the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to offset the RECLAIM Act. Evan Smith, staff attorney at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, said protecting the Trust Fund is vital with the resurgence of black lung disease so that disabled miners and widows receive their entitled benefits. Black lung excise tax revenue would continue going directly to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. The extension of the tax would serve as an offset for RECLAIM by satisfying Congressional Budget Office accounting rules. The current tax levels are set to expire at the end of 2018.

Man Charged with Murder of Officer Scotty Hamilton

Photo: Pike County Detention Center

A suspect has been charged with the murder of Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton. Kentucky State Police arrested 55-year-old John Russell Hall on Thursday, March 15, 2018, around 11:00am. He was taken into custody without incident in the Stoney Brook area of Pike/Floyd Hollow, located in the Betsy Layne community of Floyd County. Hall was charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and murder of a police officer. He was lodged in the Pike County Detention Center.

Wildlife Women Weekend at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park March 23-24, 2018

The Jenny Wiley State Park is hosting a Wildlife Women Weekend Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24. The weekend will be informative for avid hunter, new hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts as they learn about turkey hunting. Seminars will be held on field care for the harvest, turkey calling, shotgun and archery safety, hunting ethics, set up, and much more. Children are also welcome to attend. Overnight packages are available that include lodging, meals, and all seminars, starting at $130 for single occupancy, and $59 per additional adult. Seminars only are $15 per adult or $25 for two. Children 13 to 17 are $5 and kids 12 & under are free. For more information, contact the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at 889-1790.

Kentucky and Ontario Chambers of Commerce Join Efforts in Defense of NAFTA

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are supporting respective national, state and provincial leaders, in particular the Kentucky congressional delegation and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, in actively encouraging the renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the current renegotiation process. Trade between Kentucky and Ontario is of critical importance, with almost $11 billion at stake. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson, said Canada is one of Kentucky’s top export markets, supplying automobiles and auto parks, agricultural commodities, aerospace products, and other important products to the Ontario economy.

Wheelwright Man Sentence for Distributing Child Pornography

A Wheelwright man has been sentenced for distributing child pornography. David Glenn Boyd, 53, was sentenced on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 to 120 months in federal prison, to be followed by a life term of supervised release. Boyd previously admitted that, in August of 2016, he knowingly distributed images of child pornography over the Internet. A forensic examination of his laptop computer revealed 42 still images and 35 videos of child pornography. Boyd must serve 85 percent of his federal sentence.

Person of Interest Sought for Questioning in Murder Investigation of Officer Hamilton

Kentucky State Police are actively searching for the suspected shooter. An arrest warrant has been obtained for 55-year-old John Russell Hall and he is being south for questioning relating to the murder of Officer Hamilton. Hall is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of John Russell Hall should contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 at 606-433-7711.

Allen wins Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition

Photo: Big Sandy Community and Technical College

Students from area high schools gathered at the Mountain Arts Center on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 for their chance to become the 2018 Big Sandy Idol. Twenty-eight students representing high schools from across Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties competed, with runner-ups performing on Friday for a chance to advance to Saturday night’s competition. Mykayla Daniels from Johnson Central High School and Danica Dye from Belfry High School tied to advance to Saturday’s competition. The title of Big Sandy Idol went to Johnson Central High School student Aliyah Allen, who will receive a full scholarship and a spot with the Big Sandy Singers and band, and an album recording. The Big Sandy Singers and Band and the Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition have awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships since it began 12 years ago.

Road Repair on Stephens Branch Scheduled for March 14, 2018

Contractors are scheduled to begin repairing a break in the roadway on KY 1210 along Stephens Branch in Floyd County Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The location is between milepoint 2.7 and 3.0 near the hill above Ballard Prater Drive. Due to the width of the road in this area, motorists should expect delays. Work will begin around 8:15am until around 5pm. The road will be open to emergency vehicles and school buses. The work is expected to be completed in one day.

Attorneys General Pushing Congress to Fix Compensation System for Child Porn Victims

Attorney General Andy Beshear and 54 other state and territory attorneys general are calling on Congress to pass a measure that would ensure victims of child pornography receive meaningful restitution. In a letter sent to House leaders, the attorneys general demand Congress quickly pass the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017, which establishes guidelines for victim restitution in child pornography cases. The letter outlines six ways the act will improve current law, including clarifying that victims be fully compensated for all the harms resulting from every perpetrator who contributed to their trauma and creating a process for victims to receive compensation from a dedicated reserve.