• HB290 — It’s a fiasco, described by some as mediocre, and it just passed the House, 96-0
* SB89 — Passes the Senate but probably with nowhere to go
• Ad Managers — Get your newspaper registered first for the KPA Ad Contest
• John Nelson among 2013 Journalism Hall of Fame inductees
WE’VE PASSED THE HALFWAY MARK — SHOUT HALLELUJAH!
Today is the 17th of 30 legislative days for the 2013 General Assembly. It’s getting near the end (another Hallelujah is in order) and they have a lot to accomplish if anything is going to get done.
But watch for the governor to issue a Special Session directive around March 27, calling them back into session to tackle pension reform, redistricting and tax reform. Frankly, everything should have been off the table this session until those issues were dealt with. I mean who really cares about legislation naming the Official Kentucky Soft Drink, or the Official Kentucky Rifle? Deal with the major issues, folks, then play your games. But that’s not the way it works and there will be at least ONE special session, maybe even a SECOND.
Anyway, here’s a couple of observations on major bills we’ve been watching, working on, trying to defeat, trying to get passed, whatever.
Senate Bill 89 — This legislation was all-encompassing on workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, trying to help legitimate small businesses. The bill passed its Senate Committee last week, along a party-line vote and that’s pretty much the story in the full Senate. It survived 23-15 with one GOP Senator voting against it. But it’s probably dead for this session with the Democratic majority in the House.
Here’s our main interest in the bill. Since the mid-1970s, newspaper carriers have been singled out in state law as to being employees of newspapers. No other business, industry, manufacturer has specific language as does our industry. And it all stems from the late Sen. Kelsey Friend taking issue with the Courier-Journal editorial stance and putting in this language to get back at the CJ.
We probably have support from several legislators to repeal that language but finding the vehicle will be the almost impossible part. We do, however, have some who probably would support stand-alone legislation, though it’s too late in this session to get a bill filed. We’ll continue seeking that vehicle, legislation that is moving through the process, but it has to be one with the same subject or the same state law statute (KRS 342.)
Several newspaper folks have worked too hard this session to just give up now.
House Bill 290 — What a fiasco! This began with Rep. Tom Burch filing the wrong bill. He filed HB246 and then those involved asked “What the heck?” and determined Burch had somehow gotten a hold of a bill no one had ever seen. Later on, he did get the correct bill filed, HB290.
This is the language about the child fatality and near fatality review panel. Folks, it’s pretty simple language to make everyone happy and Ashley Pack drafted the changes needed in HB290 to satisfy our issues and to give the panel the documents it needs, without redactions, so it can examine what the cabinet did or didn’t do.
There was a “Gang of Eight” (an unofficial title given to the group of legislators who met to discuss the issues) and we gave them each a copy of our language. It made it so simple, so easy and had some momentum among the “gang” and among child advocacy groups. But the main sponsor, Rep. Tom Burch, seems to continue writing his own language, maybe even language given him by the cabinet. As of this morning, he has filed four floor amendments, and still the language isn’t close to ensuing safeguards for Open Records and giving the panel what it’s been asking for.
For all the trouble HB290 has been, we probably will let Burch get the legislation through the House, and then make sure the Senate begins with the amended bill and our language. HB290 could come before the full House this morning and it will be interesting to see if the “Gang of Eight” stands up for what those four floor amendments don’t do.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet nothing survives this session and that would be fine. Because then we’re dealing with current law and Judge Shepherd’s orders and that specifics that the records are open and limited redactions can by done by the Cabinet for Self-Protection.
LATE UPDATE — HB290 just passed the House 96-0.
Hopefully changes can be made in the Senate to ensure transparency.
House Bill 436 — One of the last bills filed this session so chances of it advancing a slim and none. Stranger things have happened and maybe it will get through the process. We hope it does for it would open juvenile and family courts.
I’ll give you the LRC synopsis and tell you that we’re letting its sponsor, Rep. Dennis Horlander, know that KPA supports this.
AN ACT relating to open courts for child proceedings.
Amend KRS 610.070 to provide that delinquency proceedings in juvenile courts shall be open to the public when the child was at least 13 years of age at the time he or she allegedly committed a felony offense; provide that all other proceedings in juvenile courts or Family Courts are presumed to be open; provide procedure for closing hearings; amend KRS 610.340 to provide that records in juvenile and Family Courts relating to children are open to public inspection, with stated exceptions.
There is support from some family court judges and attorneys but again it being so late in the session we’re not certain of its chances. It’s been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Tilley. If it’s going to move, it’s got to move through the committee process next week.
216 + 458 = 674 BILLS FILED DURING SESSION
The General Assembly will end in another month with 674 total bills filed: 216 in the Senate, 458 in the House.
And through the first 17 days a grand total of ONE has made it through both chambers. That was the bill to allow universities to bond major construction projects. And it was signed yesterday by Gov. Beshear.
The 674 bills filed is not an odd-year session record by a long shot. It does beat the 662 in 2011 and 579 in 2001 but not close to 2005 (781 total), 2007 (795 total) or 2009 (734 total).
Are state laws in that bad of shape that so many bills are required? They might get 10 to 15 percent through both chambers this year so obviously there are a lot of bills filed that never make it to a committee hearing much less consideration by one or both chambers.
HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR NEWS RELEASES TODAY?
It saves you a lot of time, keeps stacks and stacks of envelopes off your desk and those are reasons you ought to make certain you check accesskpa.com daily or at least a couple of times each week. We post news releases for various organizations and companies. That’s a much better system than relying on the mail and tying up a fax machine. We simply get the release in a text format for you, you download it from accesskpa.com, put it in your font and size and it’s ready to go on the page.
But if you don’t check the website, (www.accesskpa.com) you won’t have these releases.
There’s a bunch that have been posted recently and here are three from this week:
• an op-ed or letter to the editor from the Transportation Cabinet on ‘Booster seat enhancement bill needed for greater child safety’
• EKU Homeland Security Program Thriving
• Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Inc. announces first-ever Kentucky Gives Day
FED REGS SWITCH FORFEITURE NOTICES TO WEBSITE
For the last two years, the Newspaper Association of America, the National Newspaper Association and the Public Notice Resource Center have been battling a change from newspaper publication to government website of some possessions seized by the government. The move takes effect March 1.
Here’s a link to the pdf detailing the background on the switch as detailed in the January 29, 2013, Federal Register. It notes arguments presented by the newspaper groups.
The website is www.forfeiture.gov and checking it out early in the week, there was only one listed in Kentucky. It’s under “Fayette County” but is a very old home, built in the 1800s, for auction in Lawrenceburg.
FROM GENERAL EXCELLENCE TO ‘BEST OF CLASS’?
Reading some of the stories written by newspapers on their awards in the fall contest, one theme seemed central.
“Best of class”
That was referenced in more than one of the stories and gave me the idea that maybe we should switch the “General Excellence” designation to “Best of Class.” I’ve asked the News Editorial Division and the Ad Division members for their thoughts and while not all have responded, it seems to be something that meets with agreement.
The only change would be the title and all the criteria would remain in place. More later.
JOURNALISM HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Congrats to John Nelson and four others on their selection to be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. The recipients will be John Nelson; Marla Ridenour; the late Ralph Gabbard, TV executive; Don Modlin, retired news director of WKYU-FM; and Bill Goodman with Kentucky Educational Television.
The induction ceremony will take place April 23 at noon at a location to be determined. Al Tompkins with the Poynter Institute will be the luncheon speaker.
‘HEALTHY ME’ PROJECT IDEA FROM OWENSBORO NIE
This comes from Steve Rocco, NIE coordinator for the Owensboro Messenger Inquirer. If you’d like more information about Steve’s project, please contact him at email@example.com and he can send you a pdf and sample column.
Here’s Steve’s note:
I want to share with you something our Newspaper in Education program is doing regarding student health.
Last April, we invited some area educators and health professionals to the newspaper for a meeting. One of the things we discussed was what major health issues do they see as confronting young people today. To a person, they saw childhood obesity and a sedentary lifestyle as the biggest problems.
Out of that grew a weekly column we named “Healthy Me!” We had 11 columns during the fall semester and probably will have a similar number during the spring semester. These columns are written by area health professionals, often those associated with the schools.
FREE BUSINESS WORKSHOP FEB. 27 IN LOUISVILLE
Just a reminder — FREE local biz journalism workshop in Louisville on Feb. 27
Learn to break local stories using economic data
There’s still time to sign up for a free workshop in Louisville from 2-5 p.m. on Feb. 27: Breaking Local Stories with Economic Data.
Presented by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the free workshop will feature instructors Paul Overberg of USA Today and Jeannine Aversa, formerly of The AP and now with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. They will provide a road map to finding at least 15 local enterprise stories from government economic data.
Examples will be specific to the Louisville region, but applicable anywhere.
Sign up for this free workshop, which precedes the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ CAR Conference, Feb. 28-March 3. Conference registration is not required to attend the free workshop, but conference hotel rates may still be available at $129 a night, plus tax.
Yes I realize there are still about three weeks until the deadline to enter the Advertising Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers – 2013 competition but as of today a grand total of 16 papers have registered for the contest. And of the 16, not one is a daily newspaper.
We can’t stress it enough. You MUST register for the contest before you can enter. Registering means you will receive from David Spencer your specific identifying criteria for all your entries.
I wrote a few weeks ago about discussions with Bob Atkins from Tennessee about a Border War Golf tournament, featuring teams from KPA going against counterparts from the Volunteer State. I’ll be attending a meeting Monday in Franklin, KY., to make some plans for this.
And here’s where you come in. We’re looking at having this at a private club north of Nashville. And like most any private club, its best day for an outing is on Monday when it’s “closed.” Mondays are not the best days for newspapers, especially weeklies.
But I am asking — Would you be willing to play in the golf tournament if it was held on a Monday? We’re looking at probably September 10 or September 17. Some of you have played in the American Profile golf tournaments over the last nine or 10 years and chances are almost certain there will not be one in 2013. That’s why we’re looking at September.
And if we play at one of the nicer Tennessee private courses, we’d have to do it on Monday. I probably still would prefer Thursdays, with Fridays as the second choice because more newspaper folks would be able to get away.
So I need you golfers to reply — would you be willing to get away from the office on a Monday to participate in this Kentucky Press vs. Tennessee Press Border War Golf tournament. I need your response by Monday morning.
I’ll be leaving the office by or before 10 Monday morning and might return late afternoon. In case you need me, use the cell phone — 859-608-2213. And if you’re interested in joining in the discussion on this, come on down to the Oasis Restaurant at exit 2, I-65, Franklin, Ky. Be there by noon Central Time.
PAST KPA CONTEST AWARDS
Lost track of the awards you personally or your newspaper has received in past KPA news and advertising contests. We have part of the solution and make this available because several has asked for previous results. Seems in moving or with new staff coming on, there’s no local documentation of all the awards for any particular newspaper.
So if you’re in need of past results, here’s what you need:
list of editorial contest results is at — http://www.kypress.com/site/index.php?id=98
list of ad contest results is at — http://www.kypress.com/site/index.php?id=9
We only have results here going back to 2004. There might be ways to retrieve previous years but these links allow you to go through the last nine or 10 years and see what you or your newspaper won.
MADISON NOMINATIONS DUE TODAY
This has been published at least twice in recent Friday Emails so I won’t give you all the details, except to remind you today is the deadline to submit a nomination.
The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky is inviting nominations for its annual James Madison Award to recognize a Kentuckian for outstanding service to the First Amendment. The award, created in 2006, honors the nation’s fourth president, whose extraordinary efforts led to the passage and ratification of the Bill of Rights.
Nominees must have significant ties to Kentucky, and their efforts must have resulted in the preservation or expansion of freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech. Dedication to the First Amendment principle of free expression is not accomplished in a day’s work but rather a lifetime. Thus the award recognizes a long-term commitment to such ideals.
The deadline for nominations is Feb. 22.
Nominations should be sent to Mike Farrell, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, 144 Grehan Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0042, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Mike Farrell, director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at (859) 257-4848, or email@example.com
INTERN PROGRAM DEADLINE APPROACHING AS WELL
Twenty newspapers will received a 2013 intern and as of today only one, the Lexington Herald-Leader, has made its selection and notified me. Hopefully the other 19 are at least interviewing some of the student applicants and will decided in the next few days what student will be their intern for 2013.
If you’re a host newspaper — Beechtree News, The Lake News/Calvert City, Leitchfield Record, Morehead News, Owenton News Herald, McLean County News, Spencer Magnet/Taylorsville, Eagle Post/Oak Grove, Dawson Springs Progress, Shelbyville Sentinel News, Shepherdsville Pioneer News, Oldham Era/LaGrange, Franklin Favorite, Jessamine Journal/Nicholasville, Anderson News/Lawrenceburg, Todd County Standard/Elkton, Lexington Herald-Leader, Stanford Interior Journal, Crittenden Press/Marion, Winchester Sun — then contact student applicants, interview them, make your selection and notify us. The Past Presidents have an absolute deadline of April 15 to have all interns selected. Any Host Newspaper not doing that by April 15 will lose their intern for 2013.
SHADOWING A SENATOR
I understand Georgetown News Graphic editor Jerry Boggs will be in Frankfort Tuesday, shadowing Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, Majority Floor Leader for the Senate. Jerry will be following Senator Thayer through committee meetings, conferences in his offices, welcoming groups to the Capitol and legislature and then during the full Senate session that afternoon.
If that’s been done in the last few years by a newspaper, I either missed it or have forgotten it. But it should make for a good story and photo ops if you want to spend time with your Senator or Representative for a “Day in the Life of…”
AND SPEAKING OF GEORGETOWN
Mike Scogin reports he only heard from one newspaper on the question of city or county employees being paid to eat lunch. If you checked into that practice with your local governments, let Mike know the results by calling him at 502-863-1111.
Running down to the Capitol shortly to talk with Rep. Dennis Horlander about his HB426 and then back here probably for most of the rest of the day.
Monday, I’ll be leaving by or before 10 to head to Franklin and it could be 4/4:30 before I get back to the office. I will be available by cell phone if you need me.
I think I’m here the rest next week, counting the days til the legislature ends and trying to find a vehicle for our part of SB89 that we need approved.
Other than those things, call if you have questions, comments, concernings, issues, additions, deletions, clarifications, corrections or anything else.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Now through March 26, 2013 – 2013 Kentucky General Assembly Session – Part Two
Today, February 22, 2013 – Deadline to nominate an individual for the James Madison Award, presented by the First Amendment Center at UK
Monday, February 25, 2013 – 12 Noon/Central — Meeting in Franklin, KY., with representatives from Tennessee on the Inaugural Border War golf outing
March 10 – 16, 2013 – Sunshine Week
March 13 – 15, 2013 – National Newspaper Association’s “We Believe in Newspapers” Leadership Conference – Crystal City Marriott, Washington, D.C.
March 14, 2013 – 12:30 – 5 p.m. – NNA/Newspaper Industry ‘Day on the Hill’ in D.C., visiting Congressional members
August 6 – 9, 2013 – Newspaper Association Managers Annual Convention, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia
September 12 – 15, 2013 – 127th Annual National Newspaper Association Convention and Trade Show, Phoenix, AZ
October 24 – 25, 2013 – Tentative Dates for 2013 KPA Fall Board Retreat
November 3 – 5, 2013 – 2013 Southeast Region Newspaper Association Managers (SERNAM) Fall Conference, Park Vista Hotel, Gatlinburg
January 23 – 24, 2014 – 2014 KPA Winter Convention, Hyatt Regency, Lexington
January 22 – 23, 2015 – 2015 KPA Winter Convention, Marriott East, Louisville
Sometime in 2017 – We’ve been asked to judge the Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest in 2017. Please hold the year open for further information on when, where and what media format Mississippi papers will be in that year.
Sometime in 2018 – Colorado judging KPA Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers Competition