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AP-US-XGR-KENTUCKY-GOVERNOR-PARDONS

Key Kentucky lawmaker suggests creating pardons commission

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — After a much-criticized flurry of last-minute pardons by ex-Gov. Matt Bevin, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers is predicting that lawmakers will try to modify the pardon process. The process has drawn intense scrutiny since Bevin issued hundreds of pardons between his electoral defeat last November and his final day in office on Dec. 9.  Stivers on Wednesday suggested creating a pardons commission to review cases and make recommendations to the governor. Several of Bevin's pardons stirred outrage from victims or their families, prosecutors and lawmakers. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, has asked the FBI to investigate.

INSULIN COSTS

Lawmakers promote bill to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill backed by a bipartisan group of Kentucky lawmakers would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin. The bill would cap insulin co-pays at $100 for a 30-day supply. More than 500,000 people in Kentucky live with diabetes. The bill's lead sponsor is Republican Rep. Danny Bentley. He says the price of insulin has skyrocketed by more than 550% in the past 14 years. The bill is supported by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. The Democratic governor has urged the GOP-led legislature to fight back against high insulin prices by passing the measure. The bill would apply only to commercial health insurance plans.

SPORTS BETTING-KENTUCKY

Sports betting bill gains momentum by clearing House panel

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky has picked up bipartisan momentum. A House committee voted unanimously Wednesday to advance the measure. One estimate says the proposal would bring in about $22.5 million a year in new taxes. The measure cleared the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee. The bill is supported by Gov. Andy Beshear, who mentioned it during his State of the Commonwealth speech Tuesday evening. The proposal would allow wagering on college sports teams in Kentucky. That provision was excluded from a 2019 sports betting bill that died in the legislature.

ARCHBISHOP-CANCER

Louisville Archbishop: No more cancer after treatment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz says he is cancer-free after surgery and months of treatment. Kurtz said in a video posted on his blog Wednesday that he got results before Thanksgiving that showed “no evidence of malignancy.” He underwent surgery in September for bladder cancer and spent several months being treated in North Carolina.

STATE SENATE ELECTION

Former representative to fill Kentucky state Senate seat

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former state representative in Kentucky has won a special election to fill an open seat in the state Senate. News outlets report Republican Mike Nemes won the election Tuesday night for the district that covers southern Jefferson County and all of Bullitt County. Preliminary results show he received more votes than Democrat Andrew Bailey. The election was to fill the seat vacated by Dan Seum, who retired in November. Seum was a Democrat when he began serving in Kentucky government in the 1980s. He switched to the GOP two decades ago, but endorsed Democrat Andy Beshear for last year's gubernatorial election.

FOOD SYSTEMS

University of Kentucky to host summit on food systems

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A summit to promote local and sustainable food systems in Kentucky is planned for next month. The Agriculture Department says the second annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit is scheduled for Feb. 26 at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton Student Center. Participants will learn about issues including agricultural research, market development, community nutrition and public policy. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the initiative encourages important conversations between the agricultural and culinary industries, which helps the economy grow. Lilian Brislen is the executive director of The Food Connection. She says she hopes the summit will help develop strategies for a sustainable food system.