Kentucky’s Tweeting Governor Blocks Critics On Social Media… And He’s Not The Only One

By Brendan McCarthy and June Leffler June 15, 2017

Gov. Matt Bevin in recent months has turned to social media platforms to slam local media and share his political views directly with followers.

But as Bevin ramped up his criticism and online dispatches, he’s also blocked more than 500 Twitter users from following him, according to records released this week by ProPublica, a national investigative newsroom.

Bevin’s list of blocked social media users — obtained by ProPublica through a records request — includes many people who have shared their disdain for Bevin or President Donald Trump.

Bevin’s not alone in booting folks from following his 140-character messages. Trump has banned more than a few. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had sought to silence some tweeting gadflies.

The practice, however, has potential legal ramifications and could soon play out in court.

Attorneys for several Twitter users blocked by Trump are arguing that his account is a public forum and that the government cannot constitutionally exclude critics, The New York Times reported this week.

The attorneys issued a letter to Trump and hinted that if the blocking continues, a lawsuit could follow.

Bevin’s office released the following statement Thursday:

Gov. Bevin is a strong advocate of constructive dialogue, and he welcomes thoughtful input from all viewpoints on his social media platforms. Unfortunately, a small number of users misuse those outlets by posting obscene and abusive language or images, or repeated off-topic comments and spam. Constituents of all ages should be able to engage in civil discourse with Gov. Bevin via his social media platforms without being subjected to vulgarity or abusive trolls.

The office also issue a tweet — citing a “#FAKENEWS ALERT” — along with a video criticizing the media.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office, which weighs violations of the Open Records Act, has never issued an opinion “about the nature of social media and whether blocking someone violates the open records law.”

To date, no one has filed an appeal challenging a public official’s social media blockade.

Beshear declined to share his views on the matter and called it inappropriate because the office may have to tackle the issue in the future.

Beshear said he has never blocked anyone on Twitter. The Twitter account of his predecessor, Attorney General Jack Conway, had barred several followers. Beshear said he had his staff unblock those users.

(How To Find Out Who Your Favorite Politician Is Blocking On Twitter)

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky’s Tweeting Governor Blocks Critics On Social Media… And He’s Not The Only One

By Brendan McCarthy and June Leffler June 15, 2017

Gov. Matt Bevin in recent months has turned to social media platforms to slam local media and share his political views directly with followers.

But as Bevin ramped up his criticism and online dispatches, he’s also blocked more than 500 Twitter users from following him, according to records released this week by ProPublica, a national investigative newsroom.

Bevin’s list of blocked social media users — obtained by ProPublica through a records request — includes many people who have shared their disdain for Bevin or President Donald Trump.

Bevin’s not alone in booting folks from following his 140-character messages. Trump has banned more than a few. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had sought to silence some tweeting gadflies.

The practice, however, has potential legal ramifications and could soon play out in court.

Attorneys for several Twitter users blocked by Trump are arguing that his account is a public forum and that the government cannot constitutionally exclude critics, The New York Times reported this week.

The attorneys issued a letter to Trump and hinted that if the blocking continues, a lawsuit could follow.

Bevin’s office released the following statement Thursday:

Gov. Bevin is a strong advocate of constructive dialogue, and he welcomes thoughtful input from all viewpoints on his social media platforms. Unfortunately, a small number of users misuse those outlets by posting obscene and abusive language or images, or repeated off-topic comments and spam. Constituents of all ages should be able to engage in civil discourse with Gov. Bevin via his social media platforms without being subjected to vulgarity or abusive trolls.

The office also issue a tweet — citing a “#FAKENEWS ALERT” — along with a video criticizing the media.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office, which weighs violations of the Open Records Act, has never issued an opinion “about the nature of social media and whether blocking someone violates the open records law.”

To date, no one has filed an appeal challenging a public official’s social media blockade.

Beshear declined to share his views on the matter and called it inappropriate because the office may have to tackle the issue in the future.

Beshear said he has never blocked anyone on Twitter. The Twitter account of his predecessor, Attorney General Jack Conway, had barred several followers. Beshear said he had his staff unblock those users.

(How To Find Out Who Your Favorite Politician Is Blocking On Twitter)

CONTINUE READING…

Senators introduce bill to end federal medical marijuana prohibition

Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws

Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.

Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.

“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.

Don’t miss: The marijuana industry could be worth $50 billion annually by 2026

The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.

Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.

CONTINUE READING…

Senators introduce bill to end federal medical marijuana prohibition

Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws

Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.

Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.

“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.

Don’t miss: The marijuana industry could be worth $50 billion annually by 2026

The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.

Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.

CONTINUE READING…

Senators introduce bill to end federal medical marijuana prohibition

Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws

Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.

Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.

“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.

Don’t miss: The marijuana industry could be worth $50 billion annually by 2026

The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.

Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.

CONTINUE READING…

Biotechnology company opens mosquito factory in Lexington

by Monica Kast

[email protected]

Image result for Mosquito-fighting company to raise sterile mates in Lexington factory

A Lexington biotechnology company aimed at fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus opened a mosquito factory Wednesday on Malabu Drive.

MosquitoMate, founded by University of Kentucky entomology professor Stephen Dobson, will use the 6,000-square-foot space to raise millions of sterile, non-biting mosquitoes that will act as a “biopesticide” against other mosquitoes that sometimes carry infectious diseases. The company opened a research and development center on Regency Road four years ago, Dobson said.

According to MosquitoMate, the new lab will be able to raise more than 50 million eggs and three million male mosquitoes per week. Those male Asian tiger mosquitoes, or ZAP mosquitoes, do not bite and are sterile, so when they mate with a female mosquito, her eggs will not hatch.

The company and its partners have conducted successful trials in California, New York and Lexington that dramatically decreased the population of biting mosquitoes, according to a news release.

MosquitoMate grew out of research done at UK.

Dobson said MosquitoMate has been operating under an experimental use permit for the last few years, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing its research.

If approved by the EPA, the company plans to sell its mosquitoes to homeowners, “ the people this technology is intended to serve,” he said.

“MosquitoMate has very much to be thankful for,” Dobson said. “We have come very far in just a few years.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto attended the ceremony and noted the potential economic impact of the company, which plans to add 12 jobs at its new location. The company now has 10 employees.

“This story is a Kentucky story, a story of momentum,” Capilouto said. “There’s a lot more that can come out of the University of Kentucky.”

Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku

CONTINUE READING…

http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article156202794.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/

Biotechnology company opens mosquito factory in Lexington

by Monica Kast

[email protected]

Image result for Mosquito-fighting company to raise sterile mates in Lexington factory

A Lexington biotechnology company aimed at fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus opened a mosquito factory Wednesday on Malabu Drive.

MosquitoMate, founded by University of Kentucky entomology professor Stephen Dobson, will use the 6,000-square-foot space to raise millions of sterile, non-biting mosquitoes that will act as a “biopesticide” against other mosquitoes that sometimes carry infectious diseases. The company opened a research and development center on Regency Road four years ago, Dobson said.

According to MosquitoMate, the new lab will be able to raise more than 50 million eggs and three million male mosquitoes per week. Those male Asian tiger mosquitoes, or ZAP mosquitoes, do not bite and are sterile, so when they mate with a female mosquito, her eggs will not hatch.

The company and its partners have conducted successful trials in California, New York and Lexington that dramatically decreased the population of biting mosquitoes, according to a news release.

MosquitoMate grew out of research done at UK.

Dobson said MosquitoMate has been operating under an experimental use permit for the last few years, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing its research.

If approved by the EPA, the company plans to sell its mosquitoes to homeowners, “ the people this technology is intended to serve,” he said.

“MosquitoMate has very much to be thankful for,” Dobson said. “We have come very far in just a few years.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto attended the ceremony and noted the potential economic impact of the company, which plans to add 12 jobs at its new location. The company now has 10 employees.

“This story is a Kentucky story, a story of momentum,” Capilouto said. “There’s a lot more that can come out of the University of Kentucky.”

Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku

CONTINUE READING…

http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article156202794.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/

Last month, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act

By UpCounsel Employment Attorney Josh Garber

Last month, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act, a controversial piece of legislation that would allow private-sector employees to trade overtime pay for compensatory time off, which the employee could use to take time off from work at later date.

Although its supporters tout the bill as pro-employee, there are many who oppose the bill and argue that employees may feel pressured by their employer to trade much needed extra income for days off from work. While the Working Families Flexibility Act specifically bans employers from “directly or indirectly intimidating, threatening, or coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten, or coerce an employee” to choose comp time over pay, the bill’s opponents argue that employers will have strong incentives to give overtime hours to workers who choose to take comp time, cutting off access to work to those in need of overtime pay.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren went to so far as to call the bill a “disgrace,” saying that it will gut protections for working families. Another opponent of the bill, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said, “The choice between overtime pay and comp time is a false choice for workers. We know what happens in the reality of the workplace. The vague promise of time off in the future is often never realized.”

Despite these criticisms, those who support the legislation argue that many families would prefer additional time off to more pay, and that this freedom to choose, if not infringed on, is ultimately good for workers.

The Working Families Flexibility Act is likely to face stiff opposition; however, if passed in the Senate, it has the potential to significantly impact workplace dynamics for non-exempt workers around the country.

CONTINUE READING…

Last month, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act

By UpCounsel Employment Attorney Josh Garber

Last month, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act, a controversial piece of legislation that would allow private-sector employees to trade overtime pay for compensatory time off, which the employee could use to take time off from work at later date.

Although its supporters tout the bill as pro-employee, there are many who oppose the bill and argue that employees may feel pressured by their employer to trade much needed extra income for days off from work. While the Working Families Flexibility Act specifically bans employers from “directly or indirectly intimidating, threatening, or coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten, or coerce an employee” to choose comp time over pay, the bill’s opponents argue that employers will have strong incentives to give overtime hours to workers who choose to take comp time, cutting off access to work to those in need of overtime pay.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren went to so far as to call the bill a “disgrace,” saying that it will gut protections for working families. Another opponent of the bill, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said, “The choice between overtime pay and comp time is a false choice for workers. We know what happens in the reality of the workplace. The vague promise of time off in the future is often never realized.”

Despite these criticisms, those who support the legislation argue that many families would prefer additional time off to more pay, and that this freedom to choose, if not infringed on, is ultimately good for workers.

The Working Families Flexibility Act is likely to face stiff opposition; however, if passed in the Senate, it has the potential to significantly impact workplace dynamics for non-exempt workers around the country.

CONTINUE READING…

Developing Kentucky’s Workforce Op-Ed by Governor Matt Bevin

hi-res-color-state-seal-9x9_crop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Woody Maglinger
502-564-2611
[email protected]

Developing Kentucky’s Workforce

Op-Ed by Governor Matt Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 15, 2017) – From the beginning of our administration, we have set the goal of making Kentucky the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in the world. We are off to a good start. We recently shattered our annual record for new economic development projects and we did so in only the first five months of 2017.  Many factors weigh into the decisions of businesses to expand or locate their facilities in our state. However, every business leader I meet with emphasizes the quality of our workforce as one of their most critical considerations. That is why our state has made workforce development a top priority.

Early in our administration, we launched the Work Ready Skills Initiative. This statewide bond program was set up to build a highly trained, modernized workforce to meet the needs of employers and to result in sustainable incomes for our citizens. The program has focused on the construction, equipping, or renovation of, facilities dedicated to workforce skills training. It also provides funds for these facilities to purchase or upgrade equipment. In May of this year, we awarded our second round of funding and we are seeing excitement spread across the commonwealth about upgrading our workforce training capabilities.

Along with facility upgrades, we are focused on empowering individuals to obtain post-secondary degrees and certificates.  Kentucky offers students a dual credit scholarship program. This program funds scholarships for high school seniors to take courses that offer high school and post-secondary credit concurrently. When students are incentivized to pursue these high-quality college and technical courses, they are more likely to continue their education after graduation, giving them greater career and technical readiness.

In the commonwealth we also recognize the value of apprenticeships. These training programs provide career pathways for those just entering the workforce as well as increased opportunities for those looking to broaden their career opportunities. That’s why Kentucky’s Labor Cabinet launched the Kentucky Trained, Kentucky Built campaign last fall.  Via their newly created Division of Apprenticeships, the cabinet is working closely with private businesses to expand apprenticeships tailored to meet employer needs.  Currently 150 employers and labor management organizations have registered programs and we want that number to grow. The Labor Cabinet has also teamed up with the Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety to create the “Justice to Journeyman” program. This initiative provides inmates and youth a path to earn nationally recognized journeyman credentials in a skilled trade. Giving these individuals a productive path back into society reduces recidivism and enriches our communities. 

Recently our Education and Workforce Development Cabinet launched the Help Wanted Kentucky Initiative. Through their website, www.helpwantedky.com, they have created a central location for Kentuckians seeking education and job opportunities in Kentucky’s five high-demand industries. The website includes information about the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which provides tuition for job certifications at 21 Kentucky colleges and universities. Information is also provided about what training is required for the high-demand jobs and where that training is being offered. Many of the certification programs can be completed in less than six months. 

Along with these initiatives, we have just announced the creation of a Work Matters Task Force. This 23 member task force will bring together every department of state government that has a hand in workforce development with members of the private sector. Their mission will be to address barriers to employment and promote workforce inclusion among people with disabilities, foster children, disabled veterans, and those burdened by past substance abuse or criminal records.  These populations have valuable and unique contributions to lend to our society and our labor force, yet in many cases are underutilized. Providing a path to employment allows them to gain independence and self-sufficiency while improving Kentucky’s economy.

These are just a few of the programs and initiatives we are implementing for workforce development in Kentucky. Updated facilities, scholarship assistance, highly-focused training programs and a clear path to employment, all bring financial opportunity and dignity to individuals while providing the skilled labor that growing businesses require. The employees in Kentucky and across America deserve no less. Our futures depend on it. 

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