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  • March 27

    This week marked the passage of landmark life-saving legislation. As time was running out on the 2015 legislative session, the elected officials of the General Assembly put aside politics and put the health and safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth in the forefront. This law will save lives and I applaud the teamwork in passing a strong heroin bill amid threats of overreaching compromise due to political loyalties and time constraints.cPassage of this bill has been my top priority this legislative session. This bill, signed into immediate law by Governor Steve Beshear, includes provisions that are important to law enforcement and me - increasing penalties for large volume traffickers, expanding access to treatment, and getting heroin overdose reversal kits into the hands of our first responders. I'm proud of leaders on both sides of the aisle for putting people over politics in trying to address the resurgence of heroin in Kentucky.

    Earlier this week, First Lady Jane Beshear and I were proud to deliver on a promise to help all Kentuckians, regardless of socio-economic and insurance obstacles, obtain life-saving Narcan heroin overdose kits where they are needed most. Assisted by doctors and hospital administrators on Tuesday and Thursday, we introduced this Narcan kit distribution program at the University of Louisville Hospital and University of Kentucky Hospital. Overdose patients will receive a kit free of charge when they leave the hospital, so they or a loved one can prevent another overdose event and possibly save a life.

    “Unfortunately we see the tragic circumstances and consequences of heroin and opiate abuse on an almost daily basis in our emergency departments,” said Dr. Roger Humphries, chair of Emergency Medicine at UK HealthCare. “To give patients and family members the ability to rapidly administer a safe and potentially life-saving treatment will make a significant difference for some of our patients, and it will save lives.”

    In 2013, 230 Kentuckians died from heroin overdoses. The final numbers for 2014 are not currently available, but officials do expect substantial increase in the number of heroin overdose fatalities. That alarming trend has risen sharply in the last five years and my Office has committed numerous resources toward reversing that trend and saving lives.

    The passage of the Dating Violence Bill was a major accomplishment as my Office has championed legislation that would extend domestic violence protections to women and men in dating relationships. In fact, Kentucky was one of the only states not to extend those protections to non-married couples. That ended this week with the progressive passage of this bill. We are a better state for now having this measure in place. Our people are safer, and hopefully this legislation will save lives and help end the cycle of domestic violence.

    I would also like to congratulate the Kentucky Wildcats for defeating West Virginia last night and continuing their quest for an undefeated season. I wish the Louisville Cardinals good luck as they battle the N.C. State Wolfpack later tonight in Syracuse and hope they join the Wildcats in the Elite Eight.​​

  • March 20

    As Kentuckians enjoy the first day of spring, I would like to commend the men and women that fight tirelessly to protect and heal victims of crime. Earlier this week in Louisville, my Office of Victims Advocacy hosted more than 200 victim service providers, advocates, social workers, prosecutors and law enforcement from across Kentucky at the Victims’ Assistance Conference. In my opening remarks, I stressed the commitment my investigators, prosecutors and victim advocates have to ensuring safety and justice for victims of crime. The conference, titled “Engaging Communities – Empowering Victims”, had a special focus on child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. This training enables victim advocates across the state to coordinate services with other community agencies in the hope of stopping the cycle of violence.

    Following the discovery of a new scam​ targeting Kentucky seniors, my office in conjunction with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Department and Independent Living, warned seniors of fraudulent phone calls offering complimentary Life Alert systems paid for by the state. Scam artists are claiming to be affiliated with a fictitious state agency they are calling “Division of Aging”. The Department of Aging and Independent Living is not involved nor would they call seniors at home to request personal information. I encourage seniors and their families to contact my Office of Consumer Protection at 1-888-432-9257 to expose this cowardly scam.

    I would also like to congratulate the Kentucky Wildcats on defeating Hampton last night and continuing their quest for an undefeated season. I wish the Louisville Cardinals good luck as they battle the UC-Irvine Anteaters later today in Seattle.

  • March 13

    It's tax time in Kentucky, and that means people all over the Commonwealth are filing their paperwork with the IRS. But beware - scammers are calling and telling consumers that they owe back taxes to the IRS and need to remit the money immediately over the phone or they will be arrested. I want to remind Kentuckians that the IRS won't call out of the blue to ask for payment, won't demand a specific form of payment, and won't call or leave a message threatening to sue or arrest you if you don't pay right away. Have you gotten a bogus IRS call like this? If you did, please contact the FTC. Include the phone number it came from, along with any details you have.

    We are in the process of judging the college scholarship applications we've received. The scholarships​ are given each year to one male and one female high school senior who've been affected by prescription drug abuse. The scholarships are given in memory of Sarah Shay and Michael Donta, two young people who lost their lives to prescription drug abuse. Their parents, who travel across the Commonwealth with me to educate students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, provided the seed money for the scholarships. I want to remind everyone that you can support the scholarship program by making a tax-deductible donation.

    And I'm looking forward to welcoming attendees to our annual Victim Assistants Conference in Louisville on Monday. This year we'll be focusing our efforts on coordinating services between victim advocates, law enforcement, social services and healthcare professionals. Our goal is to help serve victims and stop the cycle of violence.

  • March 6

    It's been a busy week here in the Office of the Attorney General.

    I want to remind folks as they're preparing their taxes to join me in supporting the Child Victims Trust Fund. You can support child sexual abuse prevention programs across the Commonwealth through the Kentucky Income Tax Refund Check-Off program. Located in the "Fund Contributions" section of the Kentucky income tax form, the tax refund check-off allows you to make a tax-deductible donation to the Child Victims' Trust Fund (CVTF)​, a nonprofit program that provides local communities with funding for child sexual abuse prevention programs. These programs provide children with personal safety skills, teach adults how to keep kids safe from sexual abuse and exploitation, and educate the public on how to report suspected child abuse, which Kentucky law requires. The CVTF also helps pay for child sexual abuse medical exams at children's advocacy centers across the state.

    The consequences of abuse on a child are significant and can last a lifetime. When you fill out your state income tax inform, I encourage you to join me in designating a portion of your refund to the Child Victims' Trust Fund. With your help, we can better educate Kentuckians about child sexual abuse and continue funding the necessary programs that serve kids across our Commonwealth.

    The Kentucky Legislature is in session, and this week I strongly encouraged lawmakers to pass comprehensive legislation to address the resurgence of heroin in Kentucky. I don't care if the legislation is a House bill, a Senate bill, a Democratic bill or a Republican bill - I urged legislators to put people over politics and pass a comprehensive heroin bill that raises penalties for high-volume traffickers, increases access for law enforcement to the heroin overdose antidote and gives them the ability to administer it without fear of civil liability, expands access to treatment, and puts in place a workable Good Samaritan defense. The General Assembly must put politics aside and give law enforcement the tools they need and access to treatment for those in the grips of addiction.

    I applaud the action of the Kentucky House of Representatives for taking action this week to strengthen future enforcement of the tobacco master settlement agreement (MSA) by enhancing statutory requirements for non-participating tobacco manufacturers. The Kentucky House also acted to allocate the money my office secured for the state when we settled the Diligent Enforcement MSA dispute last year. I am glad the money will be used to support public health initiatives and our farmers – specifically funding for the University of Kentucky's Princeton Grain Crops Center of Excellence and the Soil and Water Cost Share Program.

    And finally, I enjoyed meeting with members of the Kentucky Farm Bureau in my office this week. We discussed my efforts to ensure the future of Kentucky's tobacco payments, our action against Eastern Livestock and the importance of agriculture to the future of our Commonwealth.

  • February 27

    This week I was honored to team up once again with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), a national organization leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking. I joined with FAAR to tape a PSA highlighting the importance of talking with your kids about safe driving and alcohol responsibility. Stay tuned for the PSA, which will air in April during Alcohol Responsibility Month. You can learn more about FAAR here.

    Be sure to also check out this recent article from Pacific Standard magazine about our case against Purdue Pharma and our efforts to hold the company accountable for its marketing of the drug OxyContin. Our lawsuit alleges that Purdue Pharma’s aggressive and deceptive marketing tactics misled doctors and consumers, creating addicts and wreaking havoc in our Commonwealth. I look forward to the day when Purdue answers for its actions that helped fuel the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that’s taken such a toll on families and communities across Kentucky.

  • February 20

    As Kentuckians continue digging out from deep snow and dealing with dangerously cold temperatures, my office and I are putting Kentucky businesses on notice that price gouging will not be tolerated. This week I requested that Gov. Beshear sign a consumer protection executive order to implement Kentucky’s price gouging laws statewide.

    The order gives my office the authority to investigate and prosecute, where appropriate, those who sell gasoline, generators, building supplies, chain saws, hotel rooms and other necessary goods and services at an exorbitant price in a time of disaster.

    Kentuckians digging out from this storm should not be victimized again by predatory pricing. I encourage everyone to take caution during this time of emergency, keep your families safe and remember those around us who may need a helping hand.

    Anyone with information regarding possible price gouging should contact my office at 1-888-432-9257 or consumerprotection@ky.gov.

  • February 13

    When Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, announced this month that it had been the target of a sophisticated cyberattack, scammers seized the opportunity to prey on vulnerable customers through phishing scams. It didn’t take long for emails masquerading as legitimate communications from Anthem to start popping up in the inboxes of the company’s current and former members. My staff and I want you to know that these emails are bogus and should be discarded.

    Phishing schemes attempt to steal your personal and sensitive information, including passwords and credit card information. The phony emails often contain malicious software camouflaged underneath “click here” links that can also gain access to your computer and private information. Consumers who fall victim to these scams risk having their finances compromised and identities stolen.

    Keep in mind that legitimate companies will never request sensitive information via email. Don’t reply to these emails, click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, and know that you can always verify the communication by calling the company directly.

    Anthem continues to investigate the data breach and is determining which members’ personal information was impacted by the cyberattack. In the meantime, current and former Anthem members can enroll in two years of free credit monitoring and identity protection services. I encourage members to take advantage of these services. A data breach does not automatically mean you are a victim of identity theft. However, the faster you detect identity theft, the sooner you can report and correct it.

    To learn more about the data breach, how you can sign up for protections being offered by Anthem, and how you can protect yourself from identity theft, visit the Consumer Protection section of our website here.

  • February 6

    This week I had the opportunity to visit Henry Clay High School and have an important conversation with the students there about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin. I care about our kids and keeping them healthy and away from drugs are issues that I’m passionate about. Karen Shay, a mother who lost her teenage daughter to a prescription drug overdose, feels the same way.

    That’s why Karen and I travel the state speaking to middle and high school students as part of our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe drug prevention program. It’s because of Karen, and the countless other parents like her who have lost children to prescription drug abuse, that we must remain vigilant in our efforts to combat this scourge.

    I want to thank Principal Greg Quenon for allowing us to speak at his school. I also appreciate his commitment to helping educate his students about the negative effects of substance abuse. A taping of our presentation at Henry Clay High is available on our YouTube channel.

    On Wednesday, I joined the Kentucky Association of Food Banks in the Capitol Rotunda for the Rally to Solve Hunger. The rally, which was part of Food Bank Day at the Capitol, was held to raise awareness about the fight against hunger in Kentucky.

    All of us have a role to play in solving hunger in our state – government, charities, business, and individuals. My office is pleased to be doing its part by sponsoring the March Against Hunger campaign, a fundraising event involving private law firms that helps feed hungry children and families in our communities. Each year, the donations received through March Against Hunger help ease the uncertainty for struggling families and make a difference in the fight against hunger in Kentucky.

    For more information about the Kentucky Association of Food Banks, click here.

    I also had the opportunity to catch up with a great group of young professionals from Louisville and Northern Kentucky who were visiting Frankfort this week. I enjoyed speaking with them about the work we do each day in the Office of the Attorney General.

    You can read more about the latest news from my office in our monthly newsletter, Kentucky General News.

  • January 30

    When filing your tax returns this year, consider supporting child sexual abuse prevention programs across the Commonwealth through the Kentucky Income Tax Refund Check-Off program. Located in the “Fund Contributions” section of your state income tax form, the tax refund check-off allows you to donate to the Child Victims’ Trust Fund (CVTF), a nonprofit program that provides local communities with funding for child sexual abuse prevention programs.

    These critical programs provide children with personal safety skills, teach adults how to keep kids safe from sexual abuse and exploitation, and educate the public on how to report suspected child abuse, which state law requires.

    As your Attorney General, I’m proud to chair the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board, which administers the CVTF, and I have seen firsthand how the fund is making a difference in the lives of Kentucky’s most vulnerable children.

    You can learn more about the CVTF and its mission at ICareAboutKids.ky.gov.

    Next week I’m looking forward to visiting Henry Clay High School in Lexington. Karen Shay and I will be sharing our Keep Kentucky Kids Safe message with the students there, encouraging them not to become the next generation lost to prescription drug abuse.

    I’ll also be on-air Monday morning talking with my radio friends at WLGC in Ashland, WBVR in Bowling Green, and WTTL in Madisonsville. If you live near one of those areas, I hope you’ll tune in.

  • January 24

    This week my Office of Rate Intervention and I announced that we have successfully saved eastern Kentucky ratepayers $54 million in unlawful fuel costs charged by Kentucky Power Co., the result of our intervention in a utility case previously before the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).

    In an order issued by the PSC, citing joint testimony from my office and the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers, the Commission deemed the fuel costs unreasonable and directed Kentucky Power to refund ratepayers $13.2 million that it had already collected during the first four months of last year. The PSC also barred the company from collecting an estimated $41 million in additional fuel costs that was to be collected through the end of May 2015. Over the 17-month period, the average residential customer will save approximately $155.

    This is great news. As Attorney General, I am proud to serve as an advocate for Kentucky consumers, and at a time when every dollar saved can make a difference for so many Kentuckians, I’m pleased that we are keeping this money in the pockets of ratepayers in eastern Kentucky. Since 2008, my Office of Rate Intervention has intervened in rate cases and other utility matters resulting in more than $1.18 billion in savings for Kentucky ratepayers. You can read more about the PSC’s order here.

    Finally, our Commonwealth lost an incredible man this week in retired U.S. Senator Wendell Ford. He was my dear friend, and one of the largest influences on my professional life. Wendell Ford fought for Kentucky - its schools, its towns, its farmers, and its airports. But most of all, he fought for the people of the Commonwealth he loved so dearly. What a public servant. Elizabeth and I send our condolences to his wife, Jean, and their entire family.

  • January 16

    This week, investigators with my Cybercrimes Unit arrested two men in Kenton County for allegedly possessing child pornography. Since the creation of the Cybercrimes Unit in 2008, we’ve taken nearly 700,000 child pornographic images and videos off of the Internet. I know that our efforts are helping make the Internet a safer place for Kentucky kids, and I appreciate the work my Cybercrimes investigators do each day. You can read more about the arrests in our press release.

    On Monday, I’m looking forward to participating in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. motorcade and rally in Louisville. For more than four decades, these events have served as an important way for us to remember Dr. King and reflect on his legacy. Dr. King always stressed and believed in nonviolence, and his courage to take a stand and move this country forward is an inspiration. If you’re attending either of the events on Monday, please stop by and say hello.

    Finally, Louisville lost one of its champions this week in Metro Council President Jim King. Jim was a family friend, a businessman who cared deeply about his community and a dedicated public servant. I was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. Elizabeth and I are keeping his wife and family in our thoughts and prayers.

  • January 9

    Heroin is killing Kentuckians. In 2013, 230 Kentuckians died from heroin overdoses, and health and law enforcement officials expect heroin overdose fatalities from 2014 may exceed that number. The time is now to confront the reality of a growing heroin epidemic in our state.

    This week I was proud to join Gov. Beshear and First Lady Beshear in announcing that heroin overdose reversal kits will be purchased for Kentucky hospitals with the highest rates of heroin overdose deaths. We’re using funds from the $32 million my office recovered in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies to buy approximately 2,000 Naloxone rescue kits for the University of Louisville Hospital, University of Kentucky Hospital, and the St. Elizabeth Hospital system in Northern Kentucky.

    This project will allow us to get this medicine into the hands and homes of the people who need it most -- heroin users and their families. These kits will help save lives and provide a second chance for people to seek treatment for their addictions.

    To read more about this project and learn how we’re using the settlement funds for additional substance abuse treatment programs and initiatives across the Commonwealth, click here.

    I want to also remind high school seniors who have been impacted by prescription drug abuse that the deadline to apply for our college scholarship program is now less than three weeks away. The Sarah Shay and Michael Donta Memorial Scholarships for Hope and Healing were created in 2013 to help those students who have excelled in their personal and academic lives despite seeing the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.

    The scholarships, which are $1,500 each, will help two seniors get a fresh start and a chance at completing their college education.

    Scholarship applications can be downloaded here. The deadline to apply is January 28.

  • 2015

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