KYTC Traffic Advisory

KYTC Traffic Advisory

A heads up for I-24 summer travelers through West Kentucky from the Transportation Cabinet: 


Traffic ADVISORY

As a reminder, EASTBOUND traffic continues to be restricted to ONE LANE along Interstate 24 at the Tennessee River Bridge at the 30 mile marker in Kentucky.

I-24 eastbound traffic is restricted to one lane at the 30 mile marker due to a defective finger joint on the bridge deck.  All traffic is moved to the left-hand or passing lane on the bridge.

A $1.1 million contract for replacement of the joint and other work on the bridge was issued to American Contracting & Services, Inc., on May 2, 2018.  Due to close tolerance design requirements for the new joint, fabrication of a new joint is a tedious process.  At this time, it appears a new joint will not be ready for the contractor to start installation until well after the July 4th Holiday.  Therefore, this lane restriction will have to remain in place long-term.

Eastbound motorists traveling I24 should continue to be alert for slowing and merging traffic as they approach this lane restriction at the 30 mile marker. To aid in traffic flow at this location, motorists should start moving to the left-hand or passing lane after they pass the US 62 Exit 27 Overpass.

Some traffic delays have been evident at this site during peak travel periods each Friday afternoon and on weekends.  Traffic backups of 2 to 3 miles have occasionally been observed at this site.  This will especially be the case for busy July 4th Independence Day Holiday travel period.

While lane restrictions will be taken down wherever possible to prepare for the high traffic volume expected over the July 4thIndependence Day Holiday, this work zone lane restriction will have to remain in place.

To reduce the potential for delays, eastbound motorists on I-24 may choose to self-detour around this lane restriction via US 62 East and KY 453 North between I-24 Exit 27 at Calvert City and I-24 Exit 31 at Grand Rivers or I-24 Exit 40 at Eddyville.

The Interstate 24 Tennessee River Bridges are twin tied arch suspension bridges at mile point 29.352 at the Marshall-Livingston County Line.

The 2,017 ft. bridges with a 534 ft. main span are also known as the Luther Draffen Bridge. The bridges opened to traffic in 1974. The structure carries approximately 30,000 vehicles across the Tennessee River in an average day.

Timely traffic advisories for the 12 counties of KYTC Highway District 1 are available by going to www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict1. You do not have to be a Facebook member to access this page.

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Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee

Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee

Over the course of the 2017 interim period a bipartisan working group of House members met several times to hear from stakeholder groups about issues related to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care processes.  I was fortunate to “audit” some of those meetings as an interested member of the Senate.  When the 2018 session began the working group’s end product became House Bill 1, which ultimately passed one vote short of unanimously.

HB1 contained a number of critical changes to the child welfare process for foster care and adoption, including imposing new timelines and restrictions to prevent cases from lingering overlong on court dockets and getting stranded in the inboxes of the state’s bureaucracy.  The bill also creates a new Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee and I am honored to be named as a member by the Senate President:

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of Senator Whitney Westerfield

For Immediate ReleaseJune 8, 2018

Contact: John Cox

John.Cox@LRC.KY.GOV

Senate President Stivers appoints Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield to the Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 8, 2018) – Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers announced Thursday the appointment of Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville) to the  Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee. The newly-formed committee was created in statute with the recent passage of House Bill 1 from the 2018 Legislative Session.

House Bill (HB) 1 gives more rights to foster parents by cutting red tape and reducing regulatory burdens associated with adopting a child in Kentucky. The Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee was created by HB 1 to review, analyze, and provide oversight on child welfare, including but not limited to foster care, adoption, and child abuse, neglect, and dependency.

“As an adoptive parent, I understand the challenges and anxieties associated with Kentucky’s adoption process,” Senator Westerfield said. “I look forward to applying my experience in the courtroom and as the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman to the child welfare process where too often children fall through the cracks. I was proud to carry House Bill 1 in the Senate, I am proud to serve on this committee, and I am anxious to get to work to further improve our adoption and foster care programs in the Commonwealth.”

A meeting schedule for the Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee is expected to be announced in the near future. For more information on the committee, please visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/committee/statutory/SWOAC/home.htm. For the full text of HB 1, please visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/18RS/HB1.htm.

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National Infertility Awareness Week

National Infertility Awareness Week

This morning, my wife put up an encouraging post on Facebook to celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week and I simply had to share it here:

This picture is much more than a cute little baby girl sleeper. It’s the first thing I bought for our daughter back in July of 2014, days after finding out a birth mother wanted us to be her parents. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. From early 2011-2014 we desired and prayed for a child. It was the most difficult season in my life. It was frustrating, isolating, lonely, painful, scary, and depressing.


I don’t like to think back on it often. It’s too painful. Could the Lord not hear our cries for a child? I knew he could, but I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t answer the way we wanted.
Of course now we know the “whys.” Two (or someday more) beautiful reasons why. If you’re in the middle of dealing with infertility, doctor visits, being asked when you’ll start a family, loneliness, and all the “whys,” I am so sorry.


But now I can say something I never thought I would. I am thankful for infertility. Without it, I wouldn’t have had to stop this post 5 times to have a conversation with my 3 year old who never stops talking. 🙃 Or to wipe the spit up off of my 5 month old that somehow spits more out than he ate in the first place.


I am thankful for infertility because it led me to a job that I love more than anything I’ve ever done.  I’m thankful for infertility because our marriage is stronger.


I’m thankful for infertility because it led me to friendships and an unspoken connection with so many women out there. A sisterhood of strong women, mothers, if some only in their hearts.
I’m thankful for infertility because of how God spoke to me during that time and the years to follow. Reminding me that I am never alone and His plans are indeed greater than my own.
I’m thankful because it led me to adoption and embryo adoption and the extended relationships that come with that.


Some of you reading this have been there. Some of you are there now. And some of you will be there one day in the future. If there’s anything I would have done differently if would be to tell someone sooner. Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out. Tell your family. Tell a friend. They may not understand what it’s like, but hopefully you will find support there.


Family members and friends of those facing infertility, don’t be afraid to ask how they’re doing. They may feel like talking, they may not. But ask. And pray. And be understanding. Support them in whatever choice they make. I know this can be difficult for the family members too when things don’t go as planned, but one day you may look back and be thankful for how things turn out also.
Lastly, I’d be happy to listen to anyone in the middle of this struggle and pray with you. 

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Veto Recess

Veto Recess

One of the critical functions of government at the state and federal level is the system of "checks and balances" on power held by any one branch.  The General Assembly passes legislation but the Governor has the authority to either sign the legislation into law or veto the bill.  In the event of a gubernatorial veto, the legislature has the authority to override that decision.

The GA has exercised this authority in the past, overriding Governors' vetoes.  (I have seen a split legislature overturn a Democratic Governor's veto, and a Republican-controlled legislature overturn a Republican Governor's vetoes.)  This year the General Assembly preserved its authority to override a veto on a number of the most critical (and contentious bills) by passing them prior to the start of the veto recess.  By doing this, the legislature has reserved the final two days of session, after the veto period has expired for bills passed to date, to consider any vetoes for a possible override vote.

Earlier today, Governor Bevin issued two veto letters; one for the biennial budget and one for the tax/revenue bill passed alongside it.  You can view the Governor's veto letter for each bill linked below.  The General Assembly returns to session for its final two days on Friday and Saturday of this week.  Stay tuned for updates on if or when we consider overriding the vetoes.

This Governor held a press conference explaining the veto on both bills, and sometime later in the day the Senate President and Speaker Pro Tempore of the House issued the following joint statement:


Commonwealth of Kentucky
Senate President Robert Stivers
House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne
 
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2018

Contact: John Cox
John.Cox@LRC.KY.GOV
 
Contact: Daisy Olivo
Daisy.Olivo@LRC.KY.GOV


SENATE PRESIDENT, SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE RELEASE JOINT STATEMENT RESPONDING TO GOVERNOR BEVIN’S VETOES
 
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 9, 2018) – The following is a joint statement from Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne (R-Prospect) reacting to Governor Matt Bevin’s announcement to veto House Bill 200 and House Bill 366:
 
“We believe Governor Bevin is misguided in his interpretation of the budget and the revenue bills, as we are comfortable with LRC staff revenue projections. To our knowledge, the Governor has had no discussions with any legislators on the details of this budget and what he might consider to be a shortfall. We believe Governor Bevin would be best served to meet with legislators to understand their thoughts and rationale before making a final decision on vetoing the revenue and/or budget bills.”
 
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NOTE: You can find links to each of the Governor's 2018 veto letters here, which is updated as new vetoes are issued.

The Final Inspection

The Final Inspection

Today I attended the funeral for Officer Phillip Meacham, a 38 year old peace officer in Hopkinsville who leaves behind a young family.  Phillip was a high school classmate of mine, a professional colleague I worked with as a prosecutor, and he was the first officer (then a Deputy Sheriff) to respond to the farming accident that claimed the life of my father.

What I witnessed this morning was one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen. I was in the back of a section that seemed set aside mostly for those that weren’t law enforcement.  That seat allowed me to observe most of the CCHS Colonel gym. Not long after I was seated a procession of local law enforcement officers and their spouses began.  The line seemed to just keep going. And then I started seeing badges and shoulder patches that were unfamiliar.  The officers filled the rest of the gym floor, and one whole side of the stands. There was no music. There was no talking. Just quiet footsteps and silent observance of an incredible brotherhood. According to Pastor Ron Hicks, a Chaplain for the Hopkinsville Police Department and local minister, officers came not only from across Kentucky but from across the country.

That these silent sentinels would come to pay their respects, knowing they face the same risks, is an incredible tribute to the tightly knit fraternity of peace officers and their families.

Retired HPD Lieutenant Chris Aldridge, a high school classmate of Phillip’s and fellow officer, was one of the speakers during the service. He didn’t offer prepared remarks but rather a poem I felt compelled to look up and re-read tonight. I can find no author of this poem for attribution but it was too good not to pass it along below.

Please remember the Meacham family and the brotherhood of law enforcement officers in your prayers, and thank them for their service when you next see them.

"The Final Inspection"

The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining.
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you? 
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?"

The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry badges
can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.

But I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep....
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.

If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't.....I'll understand.

There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, policeman,
You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in hell."