Lisa Autry

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum.  She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years.  Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville.  She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky.  Many of her stories have been heard on NPR. 

The leader of a health advocacy group says Kentucky isn’t investing enough in the prevention of cancer. 

Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, says many of the state’s cancer cases are related to smoking.  In a speech to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club on Wednesday, Chandler said the state isn’t doing enough to curb the habit. 

The Foundation wants a higher tax on cigarettes.  While the General Assembly raised the tax this year by 50 cents, Chandler says that’s not enough to make people kick the habit. 

U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky have joined a growing list of lawmakers who have had their private information made public.  The information leaks come as both lawmakers report increasing bouts of threat and intimidation.

The Washington-D.C. newspaper Roll Call reports that McConnell’s home addresses in Washington and Kentucky were posted on his public Wikipedia page this week.  In an op-ed to CNN, Rand Paul’s wife Kelley wrote that someone posted the address of their Bowling Green home online, as well as the senator’s cell phone number. 

The Kentucky Board of Education has signed off on new graduation requirements for high school students. 

Under the new standards, 10th grade students would have to pass foundation exams in reading and math in order to receive a diploma.  They could take the tests multiple times, but if they still can’t pass, they could appeal to their local superintendent.

Students would also have to meet benchmark test scores or prove career readiness by earning industry certification or completing an apprenticeship.

Despite some education groups, including the Kentucky Education Association, wanting the vote postponed, the Board of Education gave preliminary approval to the new requirements during a meeting in Frankfort on Wednesday. 

The nation’s largest professional sports organizations are registering in Kentucky for the first time following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

The high court in May ruled that a federal gambling statute violated the U.S. Constitution and cleared the way for individual states to decide on sports betting. 

The National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and the PGA Tour have all registered to lobby during the 2019 General Assembly.

At 3.3 million, a record number of Kentuckians are registered to vote ahead of the November general election, according to the Secretary of State's Office. 

The commonwealth will try to grow its voter rolls even further on Tuesday in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day. 

Many agencies, high schools, and colleges and universities in Kentucky will be conducting voter registration drives with the signup deadline only two weeks away.

kentucky driver's license
Dylan Lovan / AP

Kentucky transportation officials say newly redesigned driver's licenses will enhance security and make it harder for counterfeiters to duplicate.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says Brett Kavanaugh “absolutely” still has his support. 

The Bowling Green Republican says he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed in the next week or so, despite accusations that he sexually assaulted a young woman when he was in high school. 

Paul told WKU Public Radio on Thursday evening that he thinks it’s a mistake to discredit Kavanaugh’s personal life and career based on accusations.

"I think we should be judged on the totality of our life. He's been married for 25 years, he's a good husband and father, he's been a judge for 12 years," Paul commented. "I think we shouldn't discount that when someone comes forward with an accusation from 35 years ago."

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour has lost one of its attractions with the closure of a Bowling Green distillery. 

Corsair Distillery closed its doors on Friday, laying off six employees.  Founded in Bowling Green in 2008, the small-batch distilling company became a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour and exposed the city to visitors from around the world. 

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says there’s a growing movement across the nation to reform the pre-trial justice system. 

John Minton, Jr. says the current method of setting bail disproportionately affects low-income defendants who aren’t able to pay for release after being charged with low-level, non-violent offenses.

“We don’t need to lose sight of the number one, bedrock principle and that is the presumption of innocence operates in every case, so that presumption does not need to be lost," Minton told WKU Public Radio.

A new poll suggests that a majority of Kentuckians think the nation’s criminal justice system is in need of reform, and they want U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring reform legislation to the floor for a vote. 

Kentucky’s other U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, has long been a proponent of criminal justice reform.  He spoke in a teleconference on Thursday with Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and representatives from the Justice Action Network and Freedom Works.

Kentucky’s public schools would be required to post the national motto of “In God We Trust” inside their buildings under legislation that’s been pre-filed for next legislative session.  The bill is being sponsored by State Representative Brandon Reed, a LaRue County evangelist.

“In a time of rampant drug use, increasing school violence, and mounting cases of suicide among our youth, we need God in our schools now more than ever,” stated Reed.

An education board in Kentucky has voted to eliminate a requirement that public school teachers earn a Master’s degree to continue in the profession. 

The Education Professional Standards Board voted on Monday to approve a waiver that eliminates the mandate for teachers to move to Rank II.  The panel said the move will provide school districts with greater flexibility in recruiting and retaining educators. 

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton says when he initially learned of the decision, he was worried the state was lowering standards for teachers.

rand paul donald trump
Evan Vucci / AP

While President Donald Trump has initiated a warming of relations with Russia, the same could be said for his relationship with Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says President Trump should continue revoking the security clearance of former government officials. 

Paul is applauding the President's decision to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan.  The former CIA director has been critical of the president for meeting with Vladimir Putin and maintaining a dialogue with the Russian leader.  Trump and Paul maintain that diplomacy with Russia is necessary.

Kentucky’s Legislative Ethics Commission is asking state lawmakers to update an existing law to specifically prohibit workplace sexual harassment by lawmakers against their staff. 

The legislative ethics law currently doesn’t include such language.  The ethics panel has investigated such cases in the past, mostly recently involving former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, but on the grounds of misuse of public office. 

Legislative Ethics Commission Director John Schaaf told WKU Public Radio that updating the law would remove any questions about whether the panel has jurisdiction to investigate sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers.

Employees of Kentucky’s public colleges and universities will continue to receive tuition assistance in the upcoming fall semester, despite the end of a program that allowed them take some classes for free at other schools. 

The General Assembly this year eliminated a statewide mandatory tuition waiver requirement that allowed full-time employees of post-secondary institutions to take up to six credit hours per semester at no cost.  House Bill 592 retained those benefits only for employees of state and locally operated secondary area technology centers.

A Kentucky soldier who died in the Korean War is finally coming home.  Private First Class Joe Elmore was killed nearly 70 years ago, but his remains were never identified.

The Clinton County man went missing in action in 1950 in Changjim County, Hamgyeong Province, North Korea, but his remains have just been positively identified and are in the process of being returned to Kentucky.  His sister, Mary Bowlin of Bowling Green, got the news in a phone call on July 5.

 


As many Kentucky students head back to school this week, the state Department for Public Health is reminding parents to make sure children and teens are up to date on their vaccines

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade must show proof of having received two doses of the Hepatitis-A vaccine to attend school.  The commonwealth is in the grips of a Hepatitis-A outbreak with more than 400 confirmed cases in the past year.

Pushback to changes made to Kentucky’s public pensions and Medicaid program have led to a drop in Governor Matt Bevin’s job approval. 

A poll by Morning Consult suggests that Bevin is the fourth-least popular governor in the nation.

Fifty-seven percent of Kentucky voters said they disapproved of Governor Bevin’s job performance during the second quarter of this year, compared with 29 percent who backed him.  That’s a 25-point net dip from the first quarter.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear says he has his own vision for Kentucky, despite being the son of a former governor. 

Beshear embarked on the second of a two-day swing through the state on Tuesday, launching his 2019 bid for the governor’s mansion.  He’s the first candidate so far to formally enter the race, and he's no stranger to voters as Kentucky’s attorney general and the son of former Governor Steve Beshear.

At a stop in Owensboro alongside running mate Jacqueline Coleman, Beshear said that he and his father are “two different people.”

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