Courtesy: MGN Online

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A judge in Frankfurt heard lengthy arguments on Thursday over the constitutionality of allowing the use of scholarship tax credits to support private school tuition fees.

Opponents said the provisions represent a form of private education aid – through the state’s tax code – that is prohibited by the Kentucky constitution. Lawyers defending the measure said the tax credits did not amount to government spending, arguing that the provisions were constitutional.

“The General Assembly has wide discretion as to how it might want to incentivize charitable behavior and donations using tax structures,” Deputy Deputy Attorney General Christopher Thacker said in defending the provisions .

The Franklin County Circuit Court hearing focused on a key piece of new state law enacted by the Republican-dominated legislature over the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear.

The law created a form of scholarship tax credits – called by supporters educational opportunity accounts. Private donors backed by accounts would be eligible for tax credits. The grants, managed by third-party groups, could be used for educational expenses, including tuition for private schools in many of the state’s most populous counties.

Opponents of the measure say it would undermine support for public education. The provisions are being challenged by the Council for Better Education.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June 2001 as a general reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently presents ABC 36 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tom has over three decades of broadcast journalism experience. He is the only television journalist in Lexington television history to have received a National Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom has been credited with reporting on a story that provided rare insight into the secret world of the federal witness protection program. It won an Emmy Award for its grounding and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deception and potential danger of online degree mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative reporting and reporting. He won the Associated Press Awards for his reporting and grounding. He won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first journalist in Lexington TV history to receive the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest distinctions awarded by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have rendered distinguished service in the television industry for 25 years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for his enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has radio and television networking background, having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and part-time producer of CBS Radio Sports College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was vice president of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after an absence of nearly 50 years. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. During this time he was heavily involved with dozens of charitable and civic organizations, with a particular emphasis on helping veterans. He can be contacted at [email protected] You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.

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