Prison Overcrowding Bill Clears House Committee

Comprehensive legislation designed to reduce overcrowding in Kentucky jails and prisons cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday night.

The House Judiciary Committee said yes to a package of penal code revisions sponsored by Democratic Representative John Tilley of Hopkinsville. The bill, which Tilley predicts will save Kentucky $42 million a year over the next 10 years, is expected to get a House floor vote on Thursday.

The measure, which has bipartisan support, provides alternatives to prison for non-violent drug offenders, and seeks to reduce recidivism rates through drug treatment programs.

Similar legislation has been filed by Republican Sen. Tom Jensen of London, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.