As Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to establish a state insurance exchange this afternoon, lawmakers voted along party lines against a lease that would have housed employees of the exchange, once again illustrating the divisive nature of the controversial Affordable Care Act. Members of the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee voted 4-3 against the nearly $300,00-per-year lease, with Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville, Sen. Jared Carpenter of Berea, Rep. Steven Rudy of Paducah— all Republicans — voting no, along with Independent Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah.
Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.
Former Auditor Crit Luallen says she will not challenge Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. Luallen has long been considered to be among the best-situated Democrats to unseat McConnell. She served two terms as auditor and many political observers credit her with raising the office's profile during her tenure. Luallen also served in former Governor Paul Patton's administration for several years. But the long-time public servant tells Kentucky Public Radio she will not enter the 2014 race.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is taking a firmer stand on conservative issues. Republican legislators have criticized the chamber in the past for supporting Democratic-led proposals like expanded gambling and a higher dropout age while staying quiet on so-called right to work and prevailing wage laws.
The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.
Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.