House Notes: Scholarships for coal county students, DNA testing and death benefits for campus police

02/21/2013 07:29 PM

The state House cleared nearly a dozen bills off its docket Thursday, including a bill to create a scholarship fund for students in coal-producing counties.

That bill, HB 210 , calls for using coal severance tax money to pay for students who live in coal-producing counties to attend a college or university in the coal region. Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, sponsored the measure and was joined by Republican Rep. Ben Waide of Madisonville in advocating for the bill.

After a lengthy debate, the measure passed 97-0. Here are highlights:

House version of bill requiring DNA testing of felons passes

The chamber also approved HB 89 that requires police to collect a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a felony.

It passed 68-27 after several lawmakers, including Republican Rep. David Floyd of Bardstown, objected to the collection of DNA from someone before an indictment or conviction. Floyd called it an invasion of privacy.

Rookie’s first bill would apply death benefits to campus police

And freshman Rep. Denny Butler, D-Louisville, shepherded his first bill through the House.

HB 186 would allow the families of the 212 campus police officers from around Kentucky to be eligible for death benefits if the officer is killed in the line of duty.

It passed unanimously but not before some legislative hazing. Watch:

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • viewer wrote on February 21, 2013 07:43 PM :

    The coal money shouldnt go to students that dont get a degree. If only 38 percent are finishing their degree , that is a big waste of money. And it gives the student a reason to complete their degree if they have to pay the money back for dropping out. The coal money is like the cigarette money. It will be over soon. Change with the times Ky , not when forced to.

  • Bruce Layne wrote on February 22, 2013 09:58 AM :

    Collecting DNA from people who have been arrested but not convicted? The fifth amendment in our US Bill of Rights states that we may not be compelled to testify against ourselves. The principle is simple enough. The government prosecutor’s job is to make the case against us. The prosecutor has the full resources of government and virtually unlimited tax dollars at her disposal to make the case against us. Our job is to prove our innocence. Forcing us to testify against ourselves tilts the scales of justice too far on the side of government prosecution.

    Let’s just dispense with juries altogether and admit that we now live in a society where government and those connected to government rule over us, and we’re all guilty until proven innocent.

    Collecting DNA from someone and storing it in a database makes that person a suspect in every future crime. Think of all of the ways your DNA could be found at a crime scene when you had nothing to do with the crime. Now imagine yourself sitting in the defendant’s chair at your trial and a government expert testifying that DNA evidence is irrefutable, with an error rate of less than one in ten billion.

    The government’s DNA database makes Obama’s presidential kill list look like justice, relatively speaking.

    got constitution?

  • Gerry Roll wrote on February 22, 2013 04:31 PM :

    What coal counties really need is more of our college graduates to stay in the region or return to the region to live and work. How about a student loan repayment program that, over time, rewards those students who remain in the mountains, start businesses and lead our communities into the future? Receiving a scholarship to attend school in the mountains is no guarantee that they will stay in the mountains. Let’s invest those severance tax dollars in our future.

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