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Byline | NPR's Mike Pesca on March Madness; 'Religious Freedom' Bill; Bourbon and More


Here are the topics covered this hour on Byline (full audio available below):At the top - The games have begun and March Madness is here. NPR’s Mike Pesca joins us with his analysis of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.13:20 - Religious freedom laws:  some civic leaders and others are urging Gov. Steve Beshear to veto a measure passed by the 2013 General Assembly that would allow people to ignore certain laws if they believe they violate their religious beliefs.   Critics say it opens the door to discrimination; supporters say it insures that their First Amendment rights are protected.   We discuss it with University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson. [Update:  Gov. Beshear has vetoed the bill.]19:50 - Kentucky’s utility rates are among the lowest in the nation. Even so, several public school districts have found that it still pays to build energy efficient schools. WFPL’s Erica Peterson reports on one such school in Warren County that has taken efficiency even further, and is now generating more energy than the building uses.24:10 - The School to Prison Pipeline says many public school policies are resulting in a disproportionate number of minority and low-income students entering the justice system. This Sunday there’s conference at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center on the pipeline, organized by a student at St. Francis High School. WFPL’s Devin Katayama speaks with senior Anthony Perry who looked at some of the data from Jefferson County Public Schools.28:20 - WFPL's Rick Howlett talks with Sue Wylie, a legendary figure of the Bluegrass television and radio landscape. The Lexington broadcasting pioneer announced her retirement this week.35:15 - The fifth production in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre opens tonight. WFPL”s Erin Keane speaks with playwright Mallery Avidon about “O Guru Guru Guru, or Why I Won’t Go to Yoga Class With You,” an exploration of how unconventional spirituality affected the playwright’s own life.39:15 - WFPL’s  Erin Keane talks with bourbon historian Michael Veach.   He’s just released a new book about Kentucky’s signature spirit.

Brad Yost is a senior producer for LPM. Email Brad at byost@lpm.org.