Standing by his libertarian principles, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul reiterated his opposition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency when he said victims of the deadly tornadoes that hit Kentucky should not receive federal aid. Last week, a series of storms across the South and Midwest caused injury, property damage and killed dozens, including small towns in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
In a joint letter sent to the White House Monday morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul urged President Obama to support a request for a major disaster declaration for Kentucky after a number of deadly tornadoes struck the commonwealth. Last week, an outbreak of storms caused damage to several towns, including West Liberty, Piner and Salyersville, killing 21 residents and injuring hundreds more.
The governors of Indiana and Kentucky have forged an historic agreement to pay for two new bridges across the Ohio River. Construction will begin before year’s end and is expected to be completed within six years at a cost $1.5 billion less than originally projected. “Through cooperation and determination, we will achieve what this region has talked about – but been unable to deliver – for four decades,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement issued by his office.
A bill dealing with pseudoephedrine usage could be in trouble for the second straight legislative session. Supporters of restricting PSE use thought they had a compromise. Previous bills have attempted to make the drug available by prescription only. The latest measure would allow the drug to remain over the counter but limits consumers to three point six grams per month and fifteen grams per year. The bill gained an extra vote in committee today to send it to the Senate floor.
WASHINGTON - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway was in the nation’s capital Thursday to testify about prescription drug diversion in the Commonwealth. Conway told lawmakers at a subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that prescription drug monitoring programs – or PDMPs -- are underutilized.
A former Massey Energy official at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine has been sentenced to three years in prison for lying to investigators. Hughie Stover was the security chief at the mine in April 2010, when an explosion killed 29 coal miners. Besides lying to investigators, he was convicted of destroying thousands of documents after the disaster.
If you are one of the ever-dwindling homes with a traditional land telephone line, you may have to start looking for an alternative. Senate Bill 135, also referred to as the "AT&T Bill," is scheduled to come up before the Senate next week and appears to have the needed support. Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville), the sponsor of the bill, said he has worked closely with the Public Service Commission to make sure its officials agree with the bill and that the residents of the commonwealth will continue to have adequate phone service.
By Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader & Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader
Kentuckians could buy far less of most cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine without a prescription under a revised anti-methamphetamine bill introduced Tuesday in the state Senate. The sponsor of SB 3, Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the legislation was an alternative to SB 50, a measure he withdrew last week. It would have required a prescription for most cold medicines.
Governor Steve Beshear says he won’t back down on efforts to bring casino gambling to Kentucky, despite another defeat on the issue last week. Since his first term as governor in 2007, Beshear has made expanding gambling his main priority. This year, he attempted to pass a constitutional amendment dealing with the issue through the state Senate. The bill fell seven votes short of passage in a vote that critics say should be the end of the issue.
Last week’s defeat of an expanded gambling amendment in the Kentucky Senate has some who rely on Turfway Park's business concerned. The Senate on Thursday voted 21-16 against putting the amendment before the voters in November. Turfway Park President Robert N. Elliston has said repeatedly that the inability to compete with nearby casinos and racetracks in neighboring states that allow gaming is slowly killing Northern Kentucky’s racetrack. Some horsemen and business owners fear the ripple effect if Turfway fails.
The latest Ohio Poll shows Rick Santorum with an eleven point lead over Mitt Romney among Republican primary voters. But Co- Director of the U-C poll, Eric Rademacher says that could be different by Tuesday's election because the poll also shows 47% say they may change their vote between now and the election.
Kentucky’s junior senator is encouraging his supporters to get involved in the reorganization of the state Republican Party. The Republican Party of Kentucky holds its reorganization every four years to coincide with presidential elections. During the process, party members elect individual precinct leaders and the head of the RPK.
Joining the nation’s other governors, Kentucky’s Steve Beshear spent the weekend in Washington D-C meeting with White House officials and the president. Transportation and education topped Steve Beshear’s laundry list. Kentucky bridges over the Ohio River are in bad shape, yet Congress could cut highway funding. With the Commonwealth facing its own budget and unemployment problems, the Governor says they need a major federal investment in infrastructure.
Many state legislators said they would keep an open mind on a bill that would impose term limits on them. House Bill 406 filed by State Rep. Mike Nemes, R-Louisville, would limit both representatives and senators to three consecutive terms but extend the terms from two to four years for representatives and from four to six years for senators. The bill would amend the state constitution, which means voters would have to approve it. Nemes said he filed the bill because people want term limits.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul looked out at the 200 people assembled in a gymnasium in Alexandria and said the tea party might play just as big of a role this election as it did two years ago. Paul, R-Bowling Green, on Friday spoke to tea party supporters in Alexandria and business leaders in Covington. While in town, he downplayed recent talk of him being a vice presidential candidate on Mitt Romney’s ticket. No one has asked him, Paul said, but he’s flattered people would consider him. Paul, however, has not given up hope his father, Ron Paul, will pick up enough delegates.
Tennessee’s Republican primary is a little more than a week away, and both voters and some campaigns are still trying to get ready ahead of Super Tuesday. For candidates, that might mean booking an event or two in the Volunteer State on relatively short notice. For voters, it means having to finally make a decision, after watching the race for months.
Both the US Labor Secretary and the nation’s “Second Lady” today visited Bluegrass Community and Technical College. It was part of a three day national tour of community colleges. They advocated a new Obama administration initiative aimed at training more workers. The issue is important to Biden, who’s an English professor at a community college in Virginia.
A bill that would create a pilot project to allow open proceedings in family courts was approved unanimously by a House panel Wednesday and is expected to win the full House's approval. House Bill 239 would create at least one pilot project in each of the seven Supreme Court districts to open family court proceedings, including abuse, neglect and dependency hearings. The pilot project would last four years and would allow the courts to determine what information in those court proceedings could be released.
Decades of debate about allowing casino gambling in Kentucky may come to a crescendo Thursday in the state Senate, where Republican leaders say they will vote on a constitutional amendment to allow up to seven casinos. The move comes after the Senate State and Local Government Committee approved a revised version of the bill backed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on a 7-to-4 vote Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time a Senate committee has approved a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Circuit Court’s decision that the new federal healthcare law is unconstitutional. The deadline to submit a brief has passed and several briefs for and against the new federal healthcare law’s individual mandates have been filed. Paul was in Louisville Wednesday to discuss the brief he submitted to the Supreme Court last week.
A constitutional amendment that would allow casino gambling in Kentucky won approval Wednesday from the Senate State and Local Government Committee. On a vote of 7-4, the committee sent Senate Bill 151 to the full Senate for its consideration. For nearly two hours, the committee heard testimony for and against the bill.
A bill creating an alternative diploma for special needs students is one vote away from becoming law. Senate Bill 43 would apply different core standards to qualified students who would then earn the alternative diploma. Currently, special needs students in Kentucky receive only a certificate when they graduate. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Parrett, says he’s only trying to fix what he views as a problem.
Legislation to add a conscience clause to the state law on adoptions placed by private organizations has passed the Virginia Senate and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports that the bill would also prohibit the state or localities from denying the private agencies any contracts because they object to some adoptions on religious grounds.
Gay rights leaders from across Kentucky are supporting a bill that would strengthen the state’s current anti-bullying laws.The legislation was introduced by state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, and would create or improve protections against discrimination based upon students’ race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or learning disabilities.
A bill that would allow Kentucky to collect money from Medicaid fraud busts has again been introduced in Frankfort. House Speaker Greg Stumbo filed the bill, which would also protect and possibly reward whistle blowers who report fraud in Medicaid or any other areas of state government. Stumbo says the bill is needed to help Kentucky get money that usually ends up in federal coffers.
Governor Mitt Romney brought his campaign to Cincinnati today where he toured a medical equipment manufacturer while talking jobs, the economy and his political adversary, Rick Santorum. Romney touted his private sector track record while promising to cut regulations he says are driving businesses into the ground. He characterized himself as a Washington outsider and criticized former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum… who leads Romney in Ohio by seven points in a recent poll.
State Rep. Brad Montell says he doesn't know where his charter-school bill is headed in this session after a hearing in the House Education Committee last week, but he said he isn't giving up. The education committee heard two hours of testimony from charter-school proponents and opponents Tuesday but did not vote to send House Bill 77 to the House floor. Montell, a Shelbyville Republican, has been pushing charter legislation for at least three years, but Tuesday was the first time his proposal had gotten an actual committee hearing.