Gun owners in Kentucky and around the country have rushed out to buy guns in fear of proposed gun control regulations proposed by President Barack Obama. Obama signed 23 executive orders last week and outlined a plan to tighten federal regulations on guns. He has asked Congress to pass legislation that would require background checks on all firearm purchases, including from private sellers not currently required under federal law. Obama also wants Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and place a limit on high-capacity magazines.
The clock is ticking on the current legislative session, but efforts to push expanded gambling in the 2013 are still on-going, Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I think it’s too early to reach a conclusion yet on whether we will have a bill on expanded gaming, you know we’ve got some issues to be resolved," he said.
Proponents of a local option sales tax have gained big ally in their legislative fight: Gov. Steve Beshear. The local option sales tax would allow cities to levy an additional tax on top of the state’s current six percent sales tax for specific projects, if local voters approved the new tax. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are the chief advocates pushing the idea, arguing their cities would use the extra revenue for infrastructure projects.
Claiming they committed fraud, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has filed a suit against a mortgage company. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS, provides a marketplace for banks to trade mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Conway says it was set up by banks to avoid the fees that must be paid when mortgages are sold and to hide the true owners of those mortgages.
At his first meeting as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he would have fired her over the attacks at a U.S. consulate in Libya. The hearing was the first time Clinton was able to testify about the Benghazi attacks and it was marked by tense exchanges with Republican committee members. Clinton defended her actions, and called out Congress for not adequately funding security requests.
The US House votes today on a Republican proposal to temporarily extend the nation’s debt ceiling. In exchange for forcing Senate Democrats to pass a budget blueprint annually, Republicans are willing to extend the nation’s borrowing limit for three months. And, if there’s no budget House leaders want lawmakers to temporarily forego their pay. Freshman Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie isn’t happy with the bill.
Kentuckian Matthew Barzun will be the U.S. to the United Kingdom if he wants the job, The New York Times has reported, citing donors and adviser to President Obama. Barzun, a former tech executive and major Obama fundraiser, has been the front-runner for the prestigious post since November, The Times reported. If the reports are true, he'd beat out for the job the famed editor of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour.
By Katie Brandenburg & The Daily News Bowling Green &
Children (from left) Nidaya Fraizer, 5, Makyah McMillian, 10, Da'mya Gray, 8, Keriah Cofer-Britt, 9, and Thalia Ruiz, 10, gather around a TV at the Parker Bennett Community Center as President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Bowling Green, Ky. Several people gathered at the community center for a Presidential Inauguration watch party, which included free pizza and snacks.
Credit Nathan Morgan/The Daily News
As President Barack Obama took the oath of office Monday for the second time, Bowling Green residents were watching in Kentucky and in Washington, D.C. Children at Parker-Bennett Community Center waved star-shaped noise makers, applauded and snapped pictures on their phones as Obama gave his second inaugural address. The timing of the inauguration made it especially significant for Sierra McKinney, recreation leader at the community center. It took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A coalition of more than a dozen Tea Party groups in Kentucky are issuing a stern warning to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell against co-opting the grassroots movement — and they plan to draft a challenger for the 2014 Senate primary. The United Kentucky Tea Party is made up of several independent organizations from across the state. In a press release sent late Monday evening, the group says that McConnell and state Republicans are being "intellectually dishonest" by calling anyone with the GOP leader's campaign personnel a tea party leader.
Actress Ashley Judd says the "people of Kentucky need a fighter" when asked about a potential bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in 2014. The Hollywood celebrity and activist has been flirting with a run for public office for months, and made the comments at the the Kentucky Society of Washington's Bluegrass Ball this weekend.
Sen. Rand Paul said he will oppose a measure the U.S. Senate will take up this week for payments to areas of the Northeast affected by Superstorm Sandy. The Northeast does need help after the storm, but he would like to offset the costs with spending cuts elsewhere in the federal government, he said.
Sen. Rand Paul, left, talks with World War II veteran John Hammond at the Frankfort Rotary Club meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Credit Dylan Buell/The State Journal
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told a packed room Wednesday in the Capital Plaza Hotel that he would oppose any effort by President Barack Obama to “usurp the Second Amendment” through executive order. “I would fight that with every bone in my body,” Paul, R-Ky., told members of the Frankfort Rotary Club. Obama signed 23 executive orders Wednesday in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre and other recent shootings. He also said he planned to push for legislation to ban assault weapons, limit high-capacity magazines and expand background checks.
Fresh off a trip to Israel, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says his mission was to prove he is an ally of the Middle Eastern nation. Many pro-Israel groups have been wary of the senator, because of his calls to reduce foreign aid. Paul’s father, Ron Paul, the former U.S. representative and Republican presidential candidate, also had a frosty relationship with pro-Israel groups.
President BarackObama’s gun control speech is being praised by supporters as a bold step, but the White House acknowledges that sweeping reforms will require support from pro gun areas like Kentucky in order to pass Congress. Surrounded by a group of elementary school students Wednesday, the president signed 23 executive actions to enforce current laws. He also urged Congress to pass a number of legislative measures such as a ban on military-style assault weapons and armor piercing bullets.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he'll examine President Obama's just-announced executive orders to see if the president has overstepped his authority — and, if he believes so, will introduce legislation to overturn the orders. “Executive orders can be overturned and cannot run afoul of legislation that is the current law, if he tries to create legislation, I will oppose him,” Paul said on Wednesday.
If a federal judge's ruling goes into effect, businesses that sell liquor in Kentucky may see increased competition — and those businesses are encouraging legislators to act before an appeals decision comes down. Judge John Heyburn tossed the laws last year, saying it was unconstitutional to allow places like drug stores to sell some wine and liquor, but not groceries.
Credit Legislative Research Commission/Metro Louisville
State Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, has introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would give cities a local option sales tax. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has been a major proponent of the measure, which allows local voters to decide whether to fund special projects through a temporary sales tax increase. The mayor recently outlined the measure for Metro Council members, saying it gives Louisville more independence.
Some 15 hundred activists have gathered, hoping to break down political gridlock. Organizers say their ‘Meeting to Make America Work’ in New York City attracted Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. They want to send a message to the President and Congress to ‘stop fighting and start fixing.’ So far, former Kentucky Treasurer Jonathon Miller says over a half million people and 25 members of Congress are involved in the effort.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are hoping to make industrial hemp production legal in Kentucky for the first time in decades and other government officials have publicly voiced support for the initiative. Two legislators filed bills Friday in support of Comer and Paul’s initiative. The potential problem of keeping hemp and marijuana separate led Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer to publicly voice his opposition to Comer and Paul’s initiative.
Work on reforming some of Kentucky’s liquor laws may wait until a federal appeals court rules on a current challenge. A federal circuit judge threw out state laws dealing with where wine and distilled spirits can be sold, calling them unfair. Currently only select stores — such as liquor stores and pharmacies — can sell those beverages, while others — such as groceries — can only sell beer.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has landed a high-profile supporter for his efforts to legalize hemp in Kentucky. The state’s largest business group, the Kentucky Chamber, has come out in support of industrial hemp for oil and fiber, provided there is a sound regulatory process.
Kentucky legislative leaders say they haven't responded yet to Gov. Steve Beshear’s request to delay General Assembly redistricting in the 2013 session. Senate President Robert Stivers says his leadership team has not yet decided on a response and that many in his chamber are conflicted on when to address redistricting.
FRANKFORT — Current Kentucky state employees and retirees packed the Capitol Rotunda to encourage lawmakers to rethink some proposals made by a task force on public pensions last year. Calling themselves the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition, the group of more than a dozen interested organizations encouraged their members to tell lawmakers not to switch to a hybrid pension plan for new hires and to reinstate cost of living adjustments every year.
Supporters of a statewide smoking ban in public places are set to try their luck in passing such a law for the third legislative session. Smoke Free Kentucky has started an advertising campaign to raise support for the smoking ban and a recent poll showed a majority of Kentucky support such a ban.
Gov. Steve Beshear and top legislative leaders are expected to announce their support Thursday morning for new academic buildings at the University of Kentucky and a $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium. The projects are among several that state universities have asked Beshear and lawmakers to approve, with the stipulation that they can be paid for with money from universities rather than state General Fund.
Senate Health and Welfare Chair Julie Denton, R-Louisville, filed two bills Wednesday to block Gov. Steve Beshear from expanding Medicaid coverage and setting up a health-insurance exchange without legislative approval. The expansion of Medicaid and the exchange, which would provide online information about buying insurance from private companies, are key parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The health package has come under sharp criticism from many Republicans.
Gov. Steve Beshear is urging legislative leaders to delay General Assembly redistricting. In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers, the governor says he’d like them to hold off redistricting in the 2013 legislative session and instead take up other important issues, such as pension and tax reforms.