March 15

I was pleased today to join 13 of my colleagues in support of the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act sponsored by Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). This bill ensures that federal education dollars will be used to serve and educate students rather than to finance advertising campaigns.

Why is this important? In fiscal year 2009, 15 of the nation's largest for-profit education companies spent $3.7 billion on advertising, marketing and recruitment. They also received at least 86 percent of their revenues from federal student aid programs.

As I have examined the questionable business practices of some for-profit institutions and led a national working group of state Attorneys General examining issues surrounding for-profit colleges, I have seen far too many students left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and no degree. Dreams of a better life have turned to nightmares for many.

During these tough economic times, it is vital that taxpayer dollars be spent wisely and that those seeking a better life for themselves through higher education not fall victim to the abusive and deceptive marketing practices employed by some for-profit colleges. For more information, please see our press release.

I was among 47 Attorneys General this week who urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make generic pain pills harder to abuse. I hope you'll take a moment to see our press release on this important issue.

Also this week, I announced Kentucky's participation in a $7 million multistate settlement with Google over privacy concerns involving the Internet giant's "Street View" program. From 2008-2010, Google collected information from unsecured WiFi networks as it captured images for its "Street View" service. This is a fair settlement that recognizes the privacy rights of individuals whose information was collected without their permission, and requires Google to help educate consumers on how to better secure their personal information.

I had the privilege this week to attend the Kentucky Women Remembered event in the Kentucky Capitol to honor Lois Howard Gray, Thelma Stovall and Mary Eugenia Wharton. These distinguished women have changed our state for the better. To learn about their contributions check out this link, and the next time you visit the Capitol, stop by and see their portraits now hanging in the West Wing.

I'm looking forward to visiting with students in Jessamine and Clark counties on Thursday, March 21 as part of my Keep Kentucky Kids Safe prescription drug abuse awareness initiative. As always, I am grateful to be joined by Kentucky's drug czar, Van Ingram, and two courageous parents, Dr. Karen Shay and Mike Donta.

Finally, I hope you'll take a moment to watch my recent visit with WKYT's Bill Bryant on Kentucky Newsmakers.