• Legislature works til almost midnight and takes today off
• At best, 12 percent of the 674 bills introduced might become law
• It’s the weekend to Spring Forward!
• Kim Greene named Madison Award winner
• KPNS now at 72. Will your newspaper be next?
•Associates announce three Host Companies for internships
• September 9 confirmed for Kentucky Press vs. Tennessee Press Border War Golf Tournament!
IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN — RESET YOUR CLOCKS
This Sunday set them up an hour. That probably means getting to work when it’s somewhat dark but an hour longer of sunlight (or gray skies) when you get off.
And hopefully you informed your readers to do likewise.
LATE NIGHT WORK = DAY OFF
Today was supposed to be the first of two “concurrence only” days for the legislature, meaning they would be acting only on bills that had passed both chambers but in different forms. If a bill passes one chamber, then another but with changes, the originating chamber has to accept or reject the changes or send the bill to a conference committee and start all over.
But Thursday turned into a very long day and late into the night for legislators so all have gone home for the weekend. They’ll return Monday and then move today’s scheduled session to Tuesday. Then they’ll go home again only to come back March 25 and 26 to override any vetoes the governor makes.
Then again, until that final gavel sounds and the fat lady sings, they can do what they want, when they want, to whom they want. So stay tuned.
IT’S OFFICIAL – SEPTEMBER 9 IS INAUGURAL GOLF TOURNEY
September 9 it is; that’s the date for the Inaugural Border War golf tournament featuring Kentucky Press Association vs. Tennessee Press Association members. The outing will be at one of Tennessee’s top country clubs, Fairvue Plantation in the Gallatin/Hendersonville TN area.
We need golfers — 32 at least from Kentucky. So let me know if you’re interested. Everything will cost you $75 but it all goes to the Kentucky Journalism Foundation so it’s mostly tax deductible.
Tennessee already has about 30 golfers committed (to playing, not to an insane asylum) so ante up KPA members and let me know you’re interested. We’ll be sending information in the near future.
KIM GREENE RECEIVES MADISON AWARD
The First Amendment Center at UK announced Monday night that Kim Greene, former KPA general counsel as well as counsel with Landmark Community Newspapers and who was instrumental in getting the KPA FOI Hotline started back in the 1980s, is the recipient of this year’s James Madison Award.
Kim, who is the wife of KPA general counsel Jon Fleischaker, retired a few years ago but the training and education she gave to Kentucky newspapers on First Amendment issues lasts through today.
The award presentation was made Monday night by Judith Clabes, former Chief Executive Officer of the Scripps-Howard Foundation who was instrumental in establishing the First Amendment Center at UK. Clabes herself is a former recipient of the Madison Award. 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.
Greene spent nearly a quarter of a century as a media attorney representing numerous news outlets across the state. In the mid-1980s, she helped set up the KPA Freedom of Information Hotline and in 1996 helped develop the KPA Legal Defense Fund.
She worked with Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, on passing legislation that requires the Attorney General to write and disseminate “Your Duty Under the Law,” a booklet for public officials that explains the Open Meetings and Open Records laws. She also testified before many legislative committees on issues related to the First Amendment and the media’s and public’s right to meeting and records access.
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.
Former Secretary of State Trey Grayson was the keynote speaker.
MOST @KYPRESS.COM EMAIL ADDRESSES DEFUNCT
Staff members are still reachable at their long-standing @kypress.com but for Board members and others wanting that as an email address, will find those “Undeliverable.” Because so many were getting spam emails through the @kypress.com email address, we stopped using those about a year ago.
Staff can still be reached at their first initial last name @kypress.com with no space between the first initial and last name.
AUDIO, VIDEO AND THE PRINTED PRODUCT
When Mike Scogin finally received records from the Georgetown Police Department concerning an investigation into a city council member and his former employee, the News Graphic got everything — the transcript, the audio from the police interrogation and the video from that same interrogation. The audio and video were separated because of an agreement for the police to redact the identification of employees and customers who were mentioned.
The News Graphic printed the transcript, about one and half pages in the March 5 issue, and took advantage of having the audio and video by putting that on www.news-graphic.com
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: JOIN KPNS
Hope you publishers and editors will go to kypressonline.com and read David Greer’s blog item about the Kentucky Press News Service. It’s enough to make me want to sign up KPA for the news service; if it wasn’t operated by us.
Here’s part of David’s message to those newspapers that are not yet participating. And like he says, the cost is $0 as in FREE!
Call me a skeptic but it’s a rare day in this life when you get something for free. And to get a high-quality and useful product or service for free is even more elusive.
Well, not necessarily. KPA’s Kentucky Press News Service – KPNS – is a great resource for any newsroom and it’s free to KPA members. That’s a hard deal to beat. And KPNS has been growing by adding new members and the feedback we’ve received is excellent.
Here’s the part where I am obligated to admit that I am totally biased since I coordinate the editorial side of KPNS while fellow KPA staff member David Spencer handles the technical side.
The birth of KPNS was the direct result of KPA members wanting a credible source for Kentucky news content at an affordable price. We began with about 20 newspapers. Now, we’ve grown to more than 70 members across the state – primarily newspapers (of all sizes) but KPNS also includes some local news websites and a couple of public radio stations.
Since its start, KPNS has made it possible for members to share with other members a total of more than 20,600 news stories from across the state. Plus, we’ve shared 750 editorials from Kentucky publications. We added the editorial service just a year ago after receiving member feedback.
(Now go to kypressonline.com and read the rest of the article.)
AND HERE’S WHAT ONE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER EDITOR WROTE ME THIS WEEK
I love KPNS. That’s the most wonderful tool for member newspapers.
AND ONE MORE MAKES 72!!
Greg Bird and the McCreary County Voice signed the agreement this week so that makes two new members in the last two weeks. We’re at 72 in all. We’re approaching half of the Kentucky newspapers under agreement and participating.
AND ONE MORE NOTE — A PLEA FOR HIGH SCHOOL CONTEST JUDGES!!
From David Greer: Please include in your Friday email that we are very much in need of more judges for the high school newspaper contest judging March 28 at KBA in Frankfort.
My first email last month garnered six judges but another plea sent yesterday generated no responses.
For the first time in a decade, I’m concerned whether I can find enough qualified people to judge.
So how about it? Surely you can find one or staff members to help judge the high school association contest. If so, contact David Greer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 800-264-5721. And while you’re at it, tell him you want to sign up for KPNS.
HAL ROGERS STEPS TO THE PLATE TO FORCE SIX-DAY DELIVERY
Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers filed a Continuing Resolution this week that will require the US Postal Service to continue six-day delivery through at least September 30.
Chip Hutcheson, Max Heath and I — and perhaps some of you that we don’t know about — were in touch with Travis Cone at Rogers’ office this week to thank him and to let him know Kentucky newspapers are appreciative and behind him in this effort.
Here’s a little more on the Continuing Resolution, from Tonda Rush at the National Newspaper Association:
As part of the House’s decision to go ahead with funding of the government through end of the fiscal year, the 6-day mail mandate was re-enacted yesterday. The Senate has not yet voted, but is not likely to vote to eliminate Saturday delivery this fiscal year.
The vote was 267 to 151 with some Democrats opposing the bill because of other spending measures included in it.
This is a good next step, and NNA extends its thanks to several key members of the Congressional Action Team who scrambled Monday and Tuesday to make calls to important leadership Republicans. We particularly thank our Kentucky members who reached out quickly to Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, when it became known the House intended to accelerate this vote.
It is now much more likely, but not certain, that the 6 day mail requirement will remain the law through 9/30 and part of the USPS delivery plan through end of the calendar year. Two things could happen to change that: 1) enactment of sweeping postal reform legislation that allows USPS to move forward with its plans; or 2) a decision by USPS to flout the law and move forward anyway, which is certain to prompt a lawsuit.
We will keep you posted.
(I guess that means two of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation members got national attention this week. The effort by Rep. Hal Rogers has been noticed by newspapers across the country. And Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster mid-week certainly got national attention.)
VISITING WITH ROGERS’ OFFICE ON THURSDAY
With that news, Chip Hutcheson arranged a meeting with Travis Cone during the National Newspaper Association’s Day on Capitol Hill. That happens this coming week and the visit occurs Thursday, March 14. We’re also visiting with Sen. McConnell and freshman Rep. Andy Barr.
Come on and go with us for NNA’s “We Believe in Newspapers Day” and the visits “On the Hill.”
ASSOCIATES SELECT THREE FOR INTERNSHIPS
The Louisville Better Business Bureau, the Bluegrass State Games and Kentucky Utilities have been selected to receive interns this summer from the KPA Associates Division. This will mark the 15th year the Associates have given members a free intern, modeled after the KPA/Journalism Foundation program. The Associates interns focus on public relations during their 10-week program.
Again, newspapers and the public’s right to know fared pretty well. We didn’t get everything we wanted but then again 99.9 percent of the effort was playing defense.
SENATE BILL 89 — Our attempt at repealing the law on newspaper carriers being defined in state law as employees got through the Senate but stalled in the House. That was obvious when all Senate Democrats voted against the bill. Not because of our language but because of other language offered by the Small Business Coalition. We’ve already started looking toward 2014 when we’ll go it alone if necessary and get the current law changed. We’re looking for sponsors in both the House and the Senate in hopes of getting an early start and support for the change.
HOUSE BILL 1 — we wanted current language that special districts must publish financial statements in newspapers as required, to be put back in after the House took it out. When the Senate changed the bill, it wasn’t included, the state folks stating that it was an additional cost to the districts. Well, first, they have how many billions of dollars? It really isn’t all that expensive and it makes it convenient for the public to find the information. But if the additional cost was the reason, what about the other four or five new public notices they put into the bill? One that will be required is that if the district should dissolve, it has to publish notice in the newspaper of that intent. I would have given up that notice in turn for the financial statements. When I testified before the Senate Committee two weeks ago, and told by the chairman it was a reasonable request, Auditor Adam Edelen told the committee he could support our request. In the end, it didn’t make the list.
HOUSE BILL 290 — Sen. Julie Denton finally took the reins of this legislation and got it in an acceptable form that KPA was satisfied with. The bill addressed the external review commission, formed by executive order, that would oversee the deaths and near deaths of children under the watch of “the cabinet.” It was still not satisfactory when it came out of the House but Senator Denton incorporated several bits of language about the records the commission could see and limited when the commission could go into executive session. Got through Sen. Denton’s Health and Welfare Committee but Thursday she kidnapped it and sent it back to committee. There were reports she had added several other bills to it that would have killed the bill but cooler heads then prevailed and by late Thursday night, it was back in its Senate committee form and passed the Senate. Rep. Tom Burch, who sponsored the bill originally, reportedly has said he would concur with the changes so it appears the final law is set.
HOUSE BILL 83 — Rep. Derrick Graham’s bill that would change the time that the “Your Duty Under the Law” publication on Open Meetings/Records has to be distributed sailed through the House. This publication is required to be given to all newly elected and appointed public officials. But instead of giving it to them right after each election, the bill would allow the booklet to be distributed 60 days after the official takes office. We didn’t oppose this once we learned of the reason.
HOUSE BILL 115 — A bill by Rep. Kevin Bratcher that would allow a victim of a crime to speak publicly about the case resulted from a Jefferson County case. We supported it and would have even liked for it to extend to defendants as well as victims. Bratcher amended the bill just before it passed the House to limit speaking publicly until after the adjudication process was finished. That’s crazy! Jon Fleischaker thinks that amounts to a gag order and would be unconstitutional. Think of the Heath High School shootings a few years ago. That would mean the victims of that would not be able to have discussed the case until after all the court proceedings had ended.
HOUSE BILL 47 AND OTHER EXPUNGEMENT BILLS — While some made it through the House and KPA opposed all but one, the Senate apparently has slammed the door on them. We could have lived with Rep. Brent Yonts House Bill 57 that pertained only to misdemeanors but clarified the language on driving records. Others went far beyond that, pertaining to Class D felony convictions and allowing application for expungement five years after the sentence is completed. We’ve fought these same bills for the last 10 to 12 years and fortunately the Senate has always stood strong against expunging records. In all, there were eight expungement bills filed, six of them in House. At what point do they get the message in the House that there’s no interest in expunging felony records in the Senate?
HOUSE BILL 392 — Sponsored by Rep. Jill York, HB392 would have required public agencies evaluate where their meetings are held and do their best to provide convenient and adequate space. The House committee approved it unanimously and then it passed the full House 98-1. But since it was filed late in the session there wasn’t enough time for it to be heard by the Senate. I’ve talked with her several times and look for HB392 to come back in 2014, only earlier in the session.
HOUSE BILL 203 — The project of Secretary of State Allison Grimes, look for HB203 to be passed by the Senate when it returns Monday. It’s on the consent calendar, meaning there’s been no stated opposition after coming out of committee on a unanimous vote. This bill would prohibit the release of the names and addresses of people requesting to vote by absentee ballot. It’s a change in open records and KPA is always leery of those but after checking with editors around the state, we had no problem with the bill. It does require that numbers of persons requesting to vote by absentee shall be made available on request. And the editors told me they don’t believe there’s a reason to request the specific names as long as numbers are available. Names will be made available after election day, however.
HOUSE BILL 436 — Jon and I worked with Jefferson County attorney Mike O’Connell and State Rep. Dennis Horlander on this bill that would have allowed for openness in juvenile court proceedings. It was introduced late in the session and there just wasn’t time for it to get through the entire process. Again, hopefully, it will be introduced early in 2014 and can make its way through the process.
SOME NUMBERS TO CONSIDER
The session will end with 216 Senate bills and 458 House bills (674 total) being introduced for consideration.
As of this morning, five Senate bills have passed both chambers, 40 House bills have passed both chambers, and 40 more passed both but were changed in the process. It would appear those 40 will be targeted on Monday and Tuesday for concurrence or non-concurrence. If the originating chamber agrees to the changes made by the other, it will be approved and sent to the governor. If the originating chamber does not agree, the bill will go to a conference committee and normally whatever the conference committee comes up with is what will pass.
Now I’m no mathematician but I think that means two percent of all Senate bills were approved in both chambers. The House figure is eight percent. And overall, with 674 bills introduced and bills that have been approved by both is 6.6 percent. That figure will go up a little if all 40 bills up for concurrence are agreed to. Still, even if all 40 are treated that way, at best 12.6 percent of all the bills introduced were worthy of becoming law.
And back in the 1990s, we were sold a bill of goods by those folks that they needed annual sessions to get all the laws enacted that need to be addressed.
And I have oceanfront property in Sadieville, Ky., for sale. Cheap.
KUDOS TO SOME FOR STANDING UP FOR CHANGE
I heard more comments from legislators this session that the system is broken and something needs to change. Falling well short of suggesting that voters be asked, again, if they want annual sessions (because the know the answer this time is an emphatic NO), legislators in committee and on the floor seem to believe it’s unnecessary to treat the 30-day session like a 60-day one. Instead, perhaps limiting the agenda to some major issues identified by leadership in both chambers would be the more workable solution.
Was it really necessary this session to waste time and paper on voting on the official soft drink of Kentucky or the official rifle of Kentucky?
RELEASE ON THE NEW LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE
Here’s a release on the change in the legislative calendar:
FRANKFORT — State lawmakers will not convene in session March 8 as a result of a change in the 2013 Regular Session Calendar agreed to by legislative leaders.
Under the newly revised calendar, the General Assembly’s chambers will convene two days next week – March 11 and 12. (The convening time for the Senate and House is 10 a.m. on March 11.)
The veto recess – the period of time when lawmakers return to their home districts to wait for potential gubernatorial vetoes – will be held from March 13-23. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to the Capitol on March 25 and 26 for the final two days of the 2013 legislative session.
A copy of the revised Regular Session Calendar can be viewed online at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/sch_vist/13RS_calendar.pdf.]
HEALTH INSURANCE RENEWAL MEETING
I’ll be out most of the afternoon of March 20 for the annual Kentucky Retail Federation/Kentucky Communications Industry Trust health insurance renewal meeting. This is for the health insurance program we offer for our members as well as those in the broadcasters and cable TV associations, and the Kentucky Retail Federation. I haven’t gotten wind of the expected premium increase yet.
If you don’t have health insurance for your employees, or if you have some but would like to see what a group insurance program might offer in coverage and costs, let me know and I’ll get one of the two insurance agencies to contact you. It could be worth the time to look into changing to the communications industry trust program.
Gosh, I’m lost. My 138 closest friends skipped town about midnight so I won’t get to see them today. But they’ll return Monday for a couple of days so guess I’ll just have to make-do til they return.
Needless to say, I’ll spend those two days watching them.
My plan on Wednesday and Thursday is to head to DC for the NNA “We Believe in Newspapers” celebration but more importantly, the visits on Capitol Hill with Reps. Barr and Rogers and Senator McConnell. Haven’t decided yet if I’ll drive or fly.
Either way, I’ll return to Kentucky on Friday but chances are pretty good there either won’t be a Friday Email/Friday Member Update next week, or it will be a shortened version. Perhaps even sent from somewhere along the road.
Come on up to DC and join Chip, Max and me, and perhaps some others as we trek the sidewalks and underground passages around the Capitol visiting with our Congressional delegation. With Chip leading the way, it’s great exercise!! But you have to keep up.
So that’ll do it for another week or so. As always, we’re here to serve you so call or email if you need anything. And do the same if you have corrections, clarifications, additions, deletions, changes or just need someone to talk to.
Otherwise, thanx!!! And remember to set your clocks FORWARD on hour come Sunday morning.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Now through March 26, 2013 – 2013 Kentucky General Assembly Session – Part Two
Monday, March 4, 2013 – 5:30 p.m. – UK First Amendment Center, presentation of 2013 James Madison Award; Trey Grayson, featured speaker; UK Young Library auditorium
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
March 20, 2013 – 1:30 – 4:30 — Annual Retail Federation/Communications Industry Trust health insurance policy renewal
August 6 – 9, 2013 -Newspaper Association Managers Annual Convention, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia
September 9, 2013 – Inaugural Kentucky vs. Tennessee Press Association “Border War” golf tournament – Fairvue Plantation Golf Tournament
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