News briefs: Feb. 13, 2013

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By The Staff

Kentucky’s income rose 3.8% in January

Kentucky's General Fund tax revenues grew by 3.8 percent in January compared to figures from January 2012. That's an increase of $30.4 million, according to the state Budget Director Jane Driskell.

Total revenues for the month were nearly $839 million compared to $908 million during January 2012. Receipts, according to a state news release, have grown 3.8 percent for the first seven months of the fiscal year.

The fiscal year 2013 revenue estimate calls for 2.4 percent growth and would require 0.4 percent growth for the final five months to make budget.

"We are pleased with the preliminary results of the tax amnesty program, which has bolstered our receipts over the last several months," Driskell said in the release. "However, we continue to be concerned about the performance of sales and tax receipts, which are basically flat year to date."

Individual income tax collections are up 35.4 percent and are up nearly 9 percent through the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

Corporation income tax receipts increased nearly 83 percent and have increased almost 8 percent in the first seven months of fiscal year 2013.

Cigarette tax receipts dipped 9.2 percent and have now fallen 4.8 percent year to date.

Coal severance tax receipts fell 26.8 percent for the month and are down 24.4 percent through the first seven months.

The Road Fund estimate calls for an increase of 3.9 percent in revenues for the fiscal year. Based on year to date figures, the state's Road Fund looks to finish the fiscal year slightly under budget, the news release said.


College, career night set

East Middle School, West Middle School and the Youth Service Centers from both schools will host a College and Career Readiness Parent/Student Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at West Middle.

John Leeper and Eddie Oakley, principals from Collins and Shelby County High Schools, respectively, will talk to parents and students about Project Lead The Way programs and the Accelerated Academy, along with highlights about all of the things that Shelby County students can take advantage of at area high schools.
Speakers expected to attend will represent Sullivan University, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Jefferson Community College, Shelby Area Technology Center, ROTC, and Kentucky State Upward Bound Program.


SCHS’s SBDM meeting 
Shelby County High School’s Site-Based Decision-Making Council has rescheduled its monthly meeting from Feb. 14 to Feb. 21. This regular called meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the main office conference room.


Drug scam settlement

Attorney General Jack Conway announced Tuesday that Kentucky has joined with other states and the federal government in reaching a more than $12 million settlement with Victory Pharma, Inc. to resolve allegations of an illegal kickback scheme. The company paid the states and federal government $12.2 million in civil damages to compensate Medicaid, Medicare and various federal health-care programs for harm suffered as a result of its conduct.

The settlement resolves allegations that San Diego, Calif.-based Victory Pharma paid unlawful kickbacks to health-care professionals to induce them to prescribe four of its drugs, Naprelan (osteoarthritis pain), Xodol (narcotic pain killer), Fexmid (muscle relaxant) and Dolgic (migraine headaches), according to a news release from Conway's office.

Prescriptions were paid for or reimbursed by the Kentucky Medicaid program, as well as other state Medicaid programs and government health plans.

The Kentucky Medicaid program will receive a total of $426,843 from the settlement, of which it will retain approximately $120,000 after reimbursing the federal government for its share of the settlement.


Bed bugs at La Grange Elementary

Officials are warning parents of La Grange Elementary students that bed bugs have been located in the school. According to a letter sent to parents Thursday, officials have found four bed bugs inside La Grange Elementary in recent weeks.

The letter, signed by principal Heather Thomas, asks parents to inspect all belongings that travel back and forth to school.

Thomas said the school district's nurse has isolated the bed bugs' origin to one family's home.


28 percent have no health insurance

Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) of working-age adults in Kentucky do not have health insurance while the number of adults ages 18-64 who get health insurance from their employer, or their spouse’s employer, has plummeted. Those are among the findings in the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

Because 98 percent of seniors have some form of health coverage, this report focuses only on working age adults (ages 18-64). The poll shows that 41 percent have been uninsured at some point in the last 12 months and that 37 percent get insurance from an employer, down from 55 percent in 2008. About four in ten (43%) of adults living at or below 100% of the federal poverty level reported being uninsured.
The KHIP was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.  The poll was conducted in a random sample of 1,680 adults from throughout Kentucky. The poll has a margin of error of ± 2.5 percent.


Statewide smoking ban passes legislative panel

The Kentucky legislature has taken the first step in approving a statewide smoking ban.

The Lexington Herald-Leaderreported that House Bill 190 Thursday that would ban smoking inside public places, while still allowing patrons to smoke outside.

This is the second year that the House Health and Welfare Committee has passed a statewide smoking ban sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington) Gov. Steve Beshear has backed the initiative, and he mentioned HB 190 last week in his State of the Commonwealth speech. But the proposal has never made it to the House floor for a vote.

Republican Rep. Julie Adams of Louisville, a co-sponsor of HB 190, said 300 organizations have backed the Smoke-Free Kentucky initiative, and polls show that the majority of registered voters support a statewide smoking ban.

Twenty-nine states have passed statewide smoking bans, and 24 have passed bans that are similar to HB 190, she said. And 22 communities in Kentucky have passed smoke-free ordinances, Adams said.


SCPS now going social media

Shelby County Public Schools has set up an account on Twitter under  @shelbycountysch. Administrators will post items that parents and students need to know, such as the school calendar being extended one day because of missing class Feb. 1; or a College/Career Night for East Middle and West Middle on Feb. 28; or a video created by Shelby Teen Prevention Council for competition.

Chief Information Officer Tommy Hurt said there will also be a Facebook page developed for even further communications. “We realize technology is the primary way adults and students communicate today so we want to be readily available to not only provide information but to also seek feedback,” Hurt said.

He also said parents should continue to visit www.shelby.kyschools.usfor headline news.


I-64 lane closures possible

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from the Welcome Center to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the roadway-widening project. Lane closures are scheduled Sunday through Friday from 7 each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday. The eastbound exit to KY 55 South (Exit 32A) is closed for several months because of ramp construction. Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.