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News Around the State

Ky. legislature gavels in to begin 2019 session

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky legislature has gaveled in to begin a 2019 session that is expected to be dominated by pension changes and the race for governor.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate came to order at noon EST on Tuesday. They are scheduled to meet for a week before coming back in February to consider legislation.

The drama on Tuesday will be in the House, where the Republican majority will begin a recount of a seat that Democrat Jim Glenn won by a one-vote margin. GOP House leaders have not said if they will allow Glenn to take his seat while the challenge from Republican DJ Johnson is heard.

Man, 18, accused of trying to poison his mother with bleach

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man accused of trying to poison his mother by pouring bleach in her drink said he did it to make her sick, but didn’t want her to die.

WKYT-TV reports 18-year-old Justin Adkins was arrested Sunday. He was charged with second-degree assault-domestic violence and first-degree wanton endangerment.

The station quotes Kentucky State Police as saying Adkins’ mother told them her son had tried to poison her. The report also said a trooper could smell bleach in the drink.

According to an arrest citation, troopers say Adkins said he poured “only a little bit” of bleach into his mother’s drink in an attempt to make her sick, but “did not want her to die.” WKYT-TV did not say if he had a lawyer who could comment.

Gov. Bevin asks TVA not to close coal-fired unit

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is asking the Tennessee Valley Authority not to close the remaining coal-fired unit at its Paradise electricity plant.

Bevin’s office said the governor wrote to TVA CEO Bill Johnson on Friday, saying such a closure would be “devastating” to the state’s economy and the regional and national energy grid reliability. Bevin’s letter said the effects would be felt by employees who work there, people who live in Muhlenberg and surrounding counties and coal miners.

News outlets reported earlier that TVA is considering closing the plant’s Unit 3, the only remaining coal unit at the facility, because it would require expensive upgrades to keep it going.

TVA serves more than 9 million people across its seven-state region. The TVA covers most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia.

Former McConnell lawyer to raise money for AG race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A former lawyer for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he intends to campaign for Kentucky attorney general.

Daniel Jay Cameron filed a letter of intent with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance on Tuesday. The letter says he intends to start raising and spending money for the 2019 attorney general’s race. The filing does not put Cameron on the ballot, but it is the first step to launching a campaign.

Cameron will face state Sen. Whitney Westerfield in the May primary. Westerfield lost a close race for attorney general in 2015 to Democrat Andy Beshear.

Cameron joined the Louisville law firm Frost Brown Todd after leaving McConnell’s office. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.

Teacher seen dragging student no longer teaches at school

GREENUP, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky school district says a teacher seen dragging an elementary student on video no longer teaches at the school.

Greenup County Schools Superintendent Sherry Horsley said in a statement Monday to WSAZ-TV that as soon as administrators became aware of the incident, they contacted the student’s parents, got medical attention for the child and reported the incident to child protective services.

The video shows a teacher at Wurtland Elementary School dragging a 9-year-old boy by what appears to be his wrists in October.

The boy’s mother, Angel Nelson, says her son has been diagnosed with autism and other disorders and has limited speech. She said her son was diagnosed with sprains to both wrists afterward.

The school district hasn’t released the teacher’s name.

Beshear says he has raised $1.16M for governor’s race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Andy Beshear says he has raised more than $1.16 million for his campaign for governor.

Beshear released his fundraising totals on Tuesday. The money includes a $20,000 loan from Beshear, plus more than $24,000 in in-kind contributions. Beshear says his campaign has $850,000 available to spend.

Beshear is one of four announced Democratic candidates for governor. Monday, former Auditor Adam Edelen launched his campaign along with running mate Gill Holland. House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Geoff Young, a former state employee, are also running.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has said he will seek a second term, but has yet to file for the office or begin raising money for a campaign. Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth announced his candidacy on Tuesday. Two other Republicans are also running.

Special election for Ky. Senate seat set for March 5th

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has called a special election to fill a vacant state Senate seat in eastern Kentucky.

The election will be March 5th in Senate district 31, which includes Elliott, Martin, Lawrence, Morgan and Pike counties.

The Republican and Democratic parties will each nominate one candidate for the election. Independents and candidates from other political organizations can also file. The filing deadline is 4 p.m. on Jan. 15th. Write-in candidates must file a declaration of intent with the Secretary of State’s office no later than 4 p.m. on Feb. 5th.

Democratic Sen. Ray Jones had held the Senate seat since 2001. He resigned after he was elected judge executive of Pike County in November.

Democrats control nine of the Senate’s 38 seats. Republicans control 28 seats.