Monday August 15, 2022
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Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball announced earlier this week that she has promoted her current Communications Director, OJ Oleka, to serve as Chief of Staff and Assistant State Treasurer.

“For the past year, OJ has shaped the message coming out of my office,” Treasurer Ball said in a statement. “He has been a leader in developing policy goals and has developed a strong understanding of all functions within Treasury.  I’m confident in his ability to do the job.”

As Chief of Staff, Oleka will advise Treasurer Ball on policy and legislative issues, while also managing the day-to-day operations in Treasury.

“Treasurer Ball is one of best leaders in Kentucky,” Oleka said.  “It is an honor to serve in this capacity.” Oleka is a Frankfort native; he has an MBA from Bellarmine University and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Louisville, where he served as Student Body President and Chairman of the Board of Student Body Presidents. Oleka led the Unclaimed Property Division as Director during Treasurer Ball’s first year. Prior to joining Treasurer Ball’s staff, Oleka served in numerous private sector and non-profit management roles. Oleka will continue to maintain the communication duties within the office.

Treasurer Ball has also hired Samara Heavrin to serve as the Unclaimed Property Division Director. In addition to that role, Heavrin will assist in promoting Treasurer Ball’s new STABLE Kentucky initiative and other legislative priorities.

“Samara is a tremendous asset to our team,” Treasurer Ball said.  “She is a hard worker and will bring an additional level of organization and a fresh perspective to our team.”

Heavrin is also a Kentucky native, with roots in Grayson County.  Prior to joining Treasurer Ball, Heavrin worked for Senator Rand Paul in his Washington, D.C. office for two years, serving as Executive Assistant and leading the scheduling and logistics efforts. Prior to Senator Paul’s office, Heavrin worked for Congressman Brett Guthrie.

“It is great to be home working for such an accomplished public servant in Treasurer Ball,” Heavrin said.  “I’m excited for this new opportunity.” Heavrin is a Western Kentucky University graduate with a degree in Advertising.

The appointments were made at the beginning of this year.

Since the current Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, is running as Vice-President on the Republican ticket with Donald Trump, he is unable to run for re-election as Governor. A replacement candidate needed to be found.

22 members of the Indiana Republican State Committee held a meeting earlier this week to determine who would be the Republican candidate for Governor this year.The choice included big names, such as Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb, US Representative Susan Brooks, US Representative Todd Rokita and State Senator Jim Tomes.

The meeting lasted a few hours and the committee announced that Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb will be the candidate this election cycle. The announcement did not surprise many since Governor Pence endorsed Holcomb last week. Holcomb has not named a running mate for Lieutenant Governor yet, but he will be running against:

Gregg also ran in 2012 against Pence. Pence narrowly won that election with 49.5% of the vote (Gregg had 46.6% and Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham had 4%). Polls from earlier this year show that Pence and Gregg were nearly tied, but Pence did have a slightly lead in May. It is unclear how close Holcomb and Gregg are at this time.

Brooks and Rokita both had to remove their names from the ballots for the US House of Representatives, but both intend to seek re-election in their districts. Both are still eligible to be placed on the ballot in November.

After a study completed by the Office of Planning and Design Services, a draft of regulations regarding methane plants within the county has been given the Louisville Metro Council.

The methane plants are bio-digester. A bio-digester is defined as a renewable energy system that uses controlled decomposition of biodegradable materials (e.g. outdated food from local groceries and yard waste) in oxygen-deprived environments using naturally occurring bacteria to convert the biodegradable materials into methane-rich biogas and a waste product, which is used as a fertilizer.

According to the proposed regulations, any plant will need to be a minimum of 1,320 feet away from a residential property, school, religious building, park, community center, hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility and at least 50 feet from a public right-of-way. Vehicles delivering feedstock, the biodegradable materials, shall not unload their cargo until they are fully enclosed in the receiving building and feedstock can only be stored in a fully enclosed building. All bio-digesters must also comply with noise ordinances, all local, state and federal laws regarding utility substations, safety, maintenance, health, and so on. Plants must also submit an emergency response plan and strategies for limiting odor that is generated from the decomposition. Natural methane is an odorless gas and it is produced in a variety of places throughout the world, including swamps and marsh lands.

There are currently three bio-digesters in the county: two of which are operated about Metropolitan Sewer District and the third is a private company. Any new proposed plants would need to seek a conditional use permit in industrial zones and the permit grants the applicant the ability to hold a public hearing. Conditional use permit holders must meet all requirements set forth in the regulations, and the Board of Zoning Adjustment must determine that there will be no adverse effects to neighboring properties before the permit is issued. However, plants that are strictly for agricultural use are exempt from  zoning requirements, noise ordinances, odor mitigation, and emergency response plans per state law. A map of lands that are eligible for use is available on the City’s website.

The regulations are open for public comment, and if you missed one of the six meetings already, the final four meetings are coming up quick:

  • July 27th, 6 – 8 PM – Newburg Library: 4800 Exeter Ave,
  • July 27th, 6 – 8 PM- Central Government Center: 7201 Outer Loop
  • July 28, 9 AM- Old Jail Auditorium: 514 W. Liberty St
  • August 1, 6 PM – Old Jail Auditorium: 514 W Liberty St

Written comments can be submitted to Brian Mabry via Brian.Mabry@louisvilleky.gov. All comments must be received by 12 PM on August 1st to considered during the evening public hearing.

Today, in light of areas of serious concern dealing with potentially illegal and unethical contracting processes during the previous administration, Governor Matt Bevin announced a special investigation.

Governor Bevin has asked the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Col. Bill Landrum, using the extensive investigative powers given to him in KRS Chapter 45, to prepare and issue an RFP for a thorough, in-depth investigation and report by an attorney or law firm with experience in investigating activities and contracts.

Once selected, this firm will work closely with Secretary Landrum and his staff, including the Cabinet’s new Inspector General, whose appointment will be announced in the coming days, to make findings and issue a report.

Under KRS Chapter 45, such investigation will include the ability to subpoena witnesses and records as may be necessary to accomplish the investigative goals.

“A thorough, independent investigation like this can expose and cast light upon prior unsavory — and perhaps illegal — practices, but can also provide the public a degree of confidence in a fair and transparent governance that was so glaringly absent in the past administration,” said Governor Bevin.

Please find attached the Governor’s full remarks as prepared for delivery.

Bevin_HB40Today, Governor Matt Bevin, joined by Senate President Robert Stivers, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, Rep. Darryl Owens, Rep. David Floyd, Justice and Public Safety Sec. John Tilley and many other legislators and advocates, signed House Bill 40 into law, giving non-violent felony offenders who have paid their debt to society a second chance.

“It is a great day when doing the right thing transcends all political boundaries and all ideologies,” said Governor Bevin. “It’s an honor and privilege to be able to sign House Bill 40 into law. It is critical that there is an opportunity for redemption and second chances because America is a land that was founded on these principles. The greatness, uniqueness, beauty and extraordinary nature of America is based on the fact that we do give people an opportunity for redemption.”

House Bill 40 will allow Kentuckians convicted of certain Class D felonies who have paid their debt to society, stayed out of trouble as required by the law, and have shown that they are indeed trying to get back on track to erase their criminal records and get a second chance at jobs, housing and other opportunities sometimes denied felons.

“This bill is about redemption, good policy and workforce development,” said Justice and Public Safety Sec. John Tilley. “But if you’ve ever spoken with someone who’s been given a second chance and have had a piece of their dignity restored, you know immediately why this bill goes far beyond any policy measure, job or economic development success.”

“I’m grateful to see the passage of a bill that gives hope to tens of thousands of Kentuckians looking for a new start in their lives,” said Sen. Westerfield. “This is one of a handful of enormously consequential days I’ve had the privilege to experience while serving in the Senate, and I’m thankful for the many hands that worked to bring this to fruition.”

“I can’t say enough about how this is going to be a life-altering piece of legislation,” said Rep. Owens. “I think this is probably one of the most consequential pieces of legislation to come out of the legislature this year. The Governor’s endorsement was critical.”

MetroCouncil

Ad Hoc Committee on the Land Development Code – Monday, October 5th 3:00pm
The Committee will continue its review of revisions to the Land Development Code of Louisville Metro Government. The Committee has three ordinances that it will review.
Agenda

Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs – Thursday, October 8th 2:00pm
The Committee will receive an update on the Syringe Exchange Program from Dr. Sarah Moyer, Director of the Metro Public Health and Wellness Department
Agenda

Committee on Sustainability – Thursday, October 8th 3:00pm
This is the regular meeting of the Committee. The agenda is pending.

Committee of the Whole – Thursday, October 8th 5:15pm
The Committee will review the Council agenda for the evening meeting. This Committee meeting is not televised and meets in the First Floor Conference Room.
The Committee agenda is pending.

Council meeting – Thursday, October 8th 6:00pm
This is the regular meeting of the Louisville Metro Council.
The agenda is pending.

Meeting times are subject to change. Agendas are followed at the discretion of the Chair of each Committee. While an item may be listed, it does not mean all items will be acted upon by a committee.

To review all agendas of the committees of the Louisville Metro Council, go to the Metro Council Clerk’s web page at: http://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council/metro-council-clerk

All meetings are aired live on Metro TV Insight cable Channel 25 and Channel 99 for UVERSE subscribers.. Meetings are also streamlined on the Metro Council’s website. Go to:http://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council  and click on the “Watch Meetings Online” icon.

For More Information Contact:
Tony Hyatt: 574-4137 / 526-3622
Stephen Haag: 574-1204 / 645-1752

Defense_Logistics_AgencyThe 1033 Program was created by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1997 as part of the US Government’s Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services (DLA) to transfer excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies.  To date, the program has put $5.1 billion worth of military hardware into the lockers, offices, motor-pools, and equipment rooms of law enforcement agencies around the US.

For years the program has been widely criticized, including in audits by the DOD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office, which noted in one report that “DOD does not have management controls in place to assure that excess
inventory is reutilized to the maximum extent possible.”  The GAO report found that much of the property disposed of by the DOD was in new, unused or excellent condition and that the remainder of the program was rife with inefficiencies, waste, fraud and abuse.

Following police response to widespread protests, some of which turned violent – resulting in the destruction of buildings and vehicles and looting of stores, over the recent Michael Brown grand jury decision, there were many complaints about the growing “militarization of police” in the United States.  These complaints turned to calls for increased transparency in the program by the public as well as politicians, including Kentucky’s own Rand Paul, who said “Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.

The Marshall Project has compiled a list of which agencies received which assets as a part of the 1033 Program.  Kentucky has received at least$46,047,672 though the program since its inception.  Locally, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has received $442,883.76 in government assetts, Jeffersontown PD received $494,233.15, LMPD  received $384,252.61, Metro Corrections received $19,365.00, and St. Matthew’s PD received $21,495.69.  UofL Police Department was near the bottom of the list, receiving only $1,132 in relatively innocuous assets while the University of Kentucky Police Department received $89,612 worth of 5.56mm rifles (10) and trucks (2).  Some of the larger equipment received locally include:

  • A $200,000 120mm Mortar Carrier for JCSO
  • A $177,447 MK3MOD0 bomb robot for LMPD
  • 139 5.56mm rifles for JCSO $69,361.00
  • Six 5.56mm rifles for LMPD (fewer than UKPD received)$2,994.00
  • 15 7.62mm rifles for JCSO
  • Ten 7.62mm rifles for LMPD$1,380.00
  • Various vehicles, night vision equipment, clothing and other law enforcement gear

View the full list compiled by The Marshall Project below:   Continue reading

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