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The Kentucky Supreme Court will travel to Shelbyville next week to hear oral arguments and answer questions from the audience. The court usually hears cases in Frankfort but is going to Shelbyville as part of a public education program that was started in 1985. Sessions have been held in locations across the state. The proceedings are open to the public and begin at 1 p.m. The arguments to be heard are in a case about a law that allows tax credits in return for donations to education opportunity accounts that can be used to fund private school for families who can’t afford tuition.

Christine Barrett and her family had to climb on top of their kitchen cabinets because of flooding that surged into their house during Hurricane Ian. They put water wings on their 1-year-old, and were rescued by boat the next day.  Their community of North Port is about 5 miles inland. And the Barretts _ like many neighbors _ live in areas where flood insurance isn’t required. And therefore they don’t have it. Now many wonder how they’ll afford much-needed repairs.  There are concerns that not enough people nationally have flood insurance at a time when climate change is believed to be making storms wetter. The Insurance Information Institute says only about 4% of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance although 90% of catastrophes in the U.S. involve flooding.

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A program that incentivizes West Virginia families to pull their children out of K-12 public schools by offering them state-funded scholarships can resume. The state Supreme Court issued an order on Thursday reversing a lower court’s ruling. The Hope Scholarship Program was scheduled to commence this school year and is one of the most far-reaching school choice programs in the country. It was blocked by a Charleston-area judge in July after she ruled that the program violates the state’s constitutional mandate to provide “a thorough and efficient system of free schools.” The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals justices did not provide their reasoning for their decision but said a more detailed opinion would follow.

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Police in Mississippi’s capital city have agreed to pull back on aggressive roadblocks. This comes in response to a lawsuit that said Jackson officers were violating people’s constitutional right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. A settlement was reached Wednesday in the federal class-action lawsuit filed in February. The Mississippi Center for Justice and the MacArthur Justice Center accused the police department of using roadblocks in majority-Black and low-income neighborhoods to try to catch suspects. The settlement says Jackson police can conduct safety checkpoints “only for constitutionally acceptable purposes” and “with a minimal amount of intrusion or motorist inconvenience.”

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Mississippi utility regulators have approved a new incentive program for renewable energy despite objections from Republican Gov. Tate Reeves and large utility companies. Some lower-income customers who pay most of the cost of installing a system such as rooftop solar panels could receive a $3,000 rebate from their power company. Incentives are also available to 85 of the state’s 142 public school districts. The Public Service Commission met Tuesday voted 2-1 for the new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1. The governor says the program could translate into higher bills for electricity.

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About two-thirds of U.S. states have adopted some sort of tax relief this year. The tax-cut trend has been fueled by record state surpluses and large growth in state revenues after an initial downturn during the coronavirus pandemic. Missouri became the latest state to act, when Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed an income tax cut into law Wednesday. Republican-led states have been more apt to approve permanent tax rate reductions. Many Democratic states, meanwhile, have opted for one-time tax rebates. A bipartisan collection of states also have suspended gas taxes or cut sales taxes on groceries.

Health insurers will flood the Medicare Advantage market again this fall with enticing offers of plans that have no monthly price tag. The number of so-called zero-premium plans has been growing for years, and they can appeal to retirees who live on fixed incomes. But experts say shoppers should exercise caution before jumping at the bargain. Independent broker Melissa Brenner says variables like a plan's doctor and prescription coverage are more important to consider initially than price.  Medicare Advantage premiums have been falling, and shoppers might find better coverage that comes with a relatively small monthly cost.

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With fewer employees working in offices, several companies have begun turning toward off-site retreats and meetups to foster connection and improve employee morale. These off-site experiences are flipping traditional business travel on its head: Rather than emphasizing coworking, meetings and other work-centric itineraries, off-site retreats are often designed to encourage relationship building. While the off-site industry is still in its infancy, several companies are making bets on the longevity of this new type of business travel, launching full-service retreat management companies to simplify the planning of such company activities.

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