U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz was in Lexington last week.
At a University of Kentucky energy innovation forum, Moniz told Lexington Herald-Leader reporter Bill Estep that he “dismisses Obama administration critics who have accused the president of waging a ‘war on coal’ through his administration policies.”
Moniz says the administration is committed to a future with less carbon being emitted into the atmosphere, but added the use of coal should be a part of any future electricity plan in the United States.
It took until the last hours of the last day of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly session but lawmakers finally passed a $21 billion budget for the commonwealth. The document is the result of many long, late-night discussions among legislators who struggled to compromise over the priorities House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and Gov. Matt Bevin brought to the negotiations.
So how do folks outside the halls of the capitol view the new two-year budget?
Business leaders see it as the most fiscally responsible spending plan the legislature has produced in years.
Education and social welfare advocates see a budget that continues a near decade-long trend of slashing funds for essential government services.
The spending plan puts more than $1 billion into the ailing pension plans for state employees and public school teachers. It also cuts most government agencies by 9 percent and higher education by 4.5 percent, while preserving funds for K-12 education. The budget sets aside about $125 million for a permanent fund that the governor wanted for future pension payments, and it includes $25 million for a new college scholarship program promoted by Democratic leaders. Finally there’s a new $100 million bonding pool for workforce development projects in each of Kentucky’s six Congressional districts, and small pay raises for state police officers.
Some of these details could change, though. Gov. Bevin still has a few days left to make line-item vetoes to the spending plan.
We wanted to know what two leading observers of Frankfort had to say about the budget and the legislative session as a whole. So we talked with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey, the executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. The full conversation will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on One to One, but until then, here’s a preview.
For decades radio commentator Paul Harvey had a nationally syndicated broadcast titled “The Rest of the Story.” The segment consisted of little-known or forgotten stories on a variety of subjects with a key element of the tale (usually the name of some well-known person) withheld until the end. Harvey always concluded these broadcasts with his signature sign-off, “And now you know… the rest of the story.”
I felt like Paul Harvey this week. Let me tell you why.
PBS and KET are airing a wonderful documentary on baseball great Jackie Robinson. Produced by Ken Burns and his daughter, the film examines the life and times of Robinson, who in 1947 lifted a nation and an entire race on his shoulders when he crossed baseball’s color barrier. (You can watch the program here and here.)
Burns reveals fascinating stories about the legend’s life on and off the field. But like many documentaries there was just too much history to cover in a four-hour production. For example I noticed that Burns only devoted one sentence to A.B. “Happy” Chandler, who was the commissioner of Major League Baseball when Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Former Kentucky Gov. A. B. “Happy” Chandler was commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1945 to 1951.
Happy played semi-pro baseball in his youth and went on to become a U.S. Senator and two-term governor of Kentucky. He succeeded founding MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who opposed allowing blacks to play in the big leagues.
Curious to know more about Happy’s role in the Jackie Robinson story, I called former 6th district Congressman Ben Chandler to see if he’d like to tell me what he knows about his grandfather’s involvement.
Boy, did he ever.
Chandler is an avid history buff, which he gets to indulge in his current job as the executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Counties. We sat down for a conversation about his grandfather and Robinson for this week’s edition of One to One. Here’s an excerpt of the full program that will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.