A look at the top 10 Kentucky stories for 2017

December 23, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Here are the top 10 Kentucky stories of 2017, according to an Associated Press poll of editors, news directors and reporters:

1. UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE: The University of Louisville endures a tumultuous year. Basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich are fired after the school announces it’s being investigated in a federal corruption probe of bribery in college basketball. An audit uncovers mismanagement by the school’s investment arm, and the school deals with a yearlong probation from an accrediting agency.

2. KENTUCKY HOUSE SPEAKER-ALLEGATIONS: House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigns his leadership position after acknowledging he settled sexual harassment claims from one of his staffers. Hoover denies sexually harassing the staff member, but said he sent inappropriate text messages that were consensual.

3. PENSIONS-KENTUCKY: Gov. Matt Bevin and the Republican-led Legislature try to come up with a plan to overhaul Kentucky’s woefully underfunded public pension systems. Bevin wanted to deal with the issue in a special legislative session that he never called, and now hopes to get an overhaul passed in early 2018.

4. RAND PAUL ASSAULTED: A neighbor of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is charged with tackling the Republican legislator in Paul’s yard in Bowling Green, breaking several of Paul’s ribs. The neighbor is charged with misdemeanor assault.

5. REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE: Having consolidated power in Kentucky’s legislature, Republicans put their imprint on state policy during the 2017 session — enacting new laws targeting labor unions and abortion. They also take aim at education by passing legislation to create public charter schools.

6. KENTUCKY BUDGET SHORTFALL: Facing a gaping projected shortfall, Gov. Matt Bevin asks most state agencies to prepare for drastic spending reductions.

7. SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD-KENTUCKY: Kentucky attorney Eric Conn escapes while awaiting sentencing for his role in a massive Social Security fraud case. The flamboyant attorney cut off his electronic monitor and remained at large for months until his capture in Central America late in the year.

8. CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS: Kentucky’s second-largest city agrees to move statutes honoring two Confederate leaders to a Lexington cemetery where the two men are buried. The planned removal of a statehouse plaque declaring Jefferson Davis to be a hero and patriot is delayed while the Bevin administration determines if the decision was legal.

9. OPIOIDS-KENTUCKY: Federal drug enforcement officials open a new field office in Kentucky as the state and region continue to grapple with the ravages caused by opioid overdoses.

10. KIM DAVIS: The Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples announces she’ll run for re-election in 2018.