Even before the House had voted to approve the redistricting plan that would reshape Danny Ford’s 80th District, the auctioneer from Mount Vernon grew wistful, foreshadowing the end of his 30-year legislative career before he announced his retirement. As he was railing against the Democrats’ redistricting plan on the House floor, Ford took time to “thank the people of Lincoln County for allowing me to serve as their state representative for all these past many years.” After the plan - which basically removed Lincoln from the 80th District and replaced it with Casey County and piece of Madison — was approved, Ford let it be known that this would be his last term, ending his run as the longest serving Republican in the state House since 1900.
Nashville International Airport released a videotape of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a security checkpoint this week. The tape doesn't show Paul being irate, as a report from the Nashville Airport Department of Public Safety mentions. Instead he mostly sits, sometimes paces while talking on a phone in a clear cubicle next to the checkpoint. For a good portion of the video, Paul was obscured by a column. After some time, Paul was escorted away from the checkpoint area.
Federal prosecutors in Kentucky organized the first statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Summit for Feb. 1 at the University of Kentucky's Chandler Hospital Pavilion in Lexington. According to a news release, federal prosecutors in Kentucky prosecuted approximately 120 prescription pill cases in the last two years, more than double the number of cases involving other drugs.
Several Kentucky House Republicans are hoping to derail new legislative districts with a lawsuit challenging the redistricting map. Members of the GOP caucus and a group of private individuals could file the suit as soon as the end of this week. It will start in Franklin County Circuit Court and will include a motion to stop the redistricting maps from taking immediate effect.
Commonwealth’s Attorney David Massamore attributes his recent bouts with high blood pressure to stress from dealing with House Bill 463. The Public Safety and Offender Accountability Act, which became law in June, has made investigating and prosecuting drug offenses harder, Massamore said. It’s an sentiment echoed by many local officials. “It does make our job more difficult,” said Hopkins County Sheriff Frankie Latham. “It’s basically made the investigation of some of these people more difficult, as well as the detention of them.”
Kentucky Republicans are upset that in the State of the Union address President Obama announced new areas where he plans to bypass Congress. Republicans control the House, but President Obama says he isn’t looking for their approval for items such as increasing scrutiny of mortgage companies, spurring clean energy development on public lands and even taking steps that he says will spur economic growth. Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul the president should have been asking Congress for more support instead of telling lawmakers what he already plans to do without their aid.
An emissary of Gov. Steve Beshear asked area officials Monday to support three of the governor's budget proposals, one of which he said needs little introduction: completing the six-laning of Interstate 65 through the state. Wendell Cave, director of field services for the Department of Local Government in the 2nd Congressional District, said at Monday's meeting of the Barren River Area Development District that he knows the proposal is "dear to the heart" of Hart County Judge-Executive Terry Martin, whose county contains the lion's share of the remaining 38 miles of I-65 that are only four lanes.
A bill that would allow advertising on school buses could go to a vote in the House this week. House Bill 30, proposed by Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, and co-sponsored by six other legislators, would enable school district’s to sell exterior advertising on buses. Similar legislation proposed last year passed the House but died in the Senate.
First-term Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie has announced his candidacy to represent Kentucky's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Massie's decision comes one month after incumbent Republican Geoff Davis announced he would not seek re-election in 2012 for the seat he has held since 2004. Massie was campaigning in northern Kentucky Monday, taking advantage of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the closure of his office in Vanceburg.
Calloway County and Murray school superintendents are skeptical of the benefit of proposed legislation that would allow school districts to sell advertising on the exterior of school buses. House Bill 30 is currently awaiting a full vote in the state House scheduled for Tuesday.
As Gov. Steve Beshear prepares to address the General Assembly about the state’s budget, area legislators still can’t say specifically how deep they expect cuts will be in this year’s budget cycle. “We haven’t had any leaks out of the administration or anywhere else,” said state Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green. “The Senate will not get the budget probably until about two weeks before we’re supposed to be done.” Beshear warned in his State of the Commonwealth address this month that cuts would be deep.
Family, friends, and admirers of the late Gatewood Galbraith gathered in Lexington Thursday night to celebrate the man one supporter called "the greatest governor Kentucky never had." A standing-room-only crowd packed the Carnegie Center as speakers bid farewell to attorney, author, and political fixture Gatewood Galbraith. Supporters, decked out in old campaign buttons and shirts, tossed their hats into a ring on the floor, where they would be collected for charity.
U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield is seeking election to a ninth term in Congress, listing his top priorities as addressing the federal debt, creation of jobs and protecting national security. Not only is the nation facing many challenges, Americans are frustrated and upset, Whitfield said Wednesday night at Madisonville City Hall, speaking to approximately 30 people attending his re-election announcement.
In his sixth day on the job, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer stood Wednesday alongside new state auditor Adam Edelen, a Democrat, to announce that a broad review of the Department of Agriculture is underway. Comer was elected to the post in November, taking over for fellow Republican Richie Farmer. Comer says he's read too many negative reports in the press and heard from department employees about low morale.
The Kentucky House has approved a plan that would drastically alter the state’s current congressional districts. The plan passed 54-42, almost entirely along party lines. Only two Democrats—state Representative Ben Nelson and former House Speaker Jody Richards—voted against the new map. The proposal would cut out the eastern edge of the 4th Congressional District and extend it south to Nelson County, even picking up some of Jefferson County in the process. The 6th District is pulled in multiple directions across Central Kentucky. And the 2nd District shoots north into Central and Eastern Kentucky.
The state House is expected to act this week on the controversial issue of redrawing the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts. House State Government Committee chairman Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, said Monday that his panel was scheduled to take up legislation to redraw boundaries for the 100 state House districts on Wednesday. He also said the full House might vote Tuesday on a congressional redistricting plan in House Bill 2 that emerged from his committee last week.
A constitutional amendment dealing with expanded gambling in Kentucky could come before the General Assembly as early as this week, state Sen. R.J. Palmer II, D-Winchester, said. “I think the people of the commonwealth have made it pretty clear that they are ready to vote on this issue. There has to be a constitutional amendment passed by the General Assembly before it can be voted on by the people of the state,” Palmer said. Currently, Palmer is working on a draft of an amendment that he hopes to sponsor, getting input from Republicans, gambling industry insiders and the governor.
Danville City Commission signed off on a brochure Monday that will be used to attract candidates for city manager, but the actual hire likely is still months away. The City Commission voted unanimously to approve the informational packet compiled by the Mercer Group, an Atlanta search firm the city hired in November for $7,500 to advertise the position and pass along a slate of 10 applicants.
Many names surfaced as potential successors to U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis when Davis announced last month he would not run for re-election, but few were Democrats. Local Democratic leaders believe Davis’ Fourth Congressional District seat is winnable and said a viable candidate or candidates will step forward by the filing deadline of Jan. 31. No one has yet filed or confirmed that they will run for Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District seat as a Democrat. Two Republicans have filed, Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore and State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington, R-Fort Wright.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., began his re-election campaign Monday by filing his paperwork with the secretary of state’s office. Elected to Congress in 2006, Yarmuth was part of a wave election that saw Republicans lose control of the House but Democratic control was lost in 2010. The party will need to recapture 25 seats to regain the majority and polling shows both parties have equal chances, with 45 percent want Democrats to win control of Congress while 43 percent want Republicans to maintain power.
Kentucky independents and third party advocates are reflecting on the death of perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who brought attention to candidates outside the two main political parties. Since the early 1980s, Galbraith has been seeking public office and has run for governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner. He ran several times as a Democrat, but his most successful bid came in 1999. That year, Galbraith ran as a member of the Reform Party and garnered 15 percent of the vote in the gubernatorial race.
Beer has been on Junction City store shelves less than a month, but officials already face legal fire for allowing alcohol sales. Junction City resident Joseph O. Perry and Liquor Mart of Danville are suing the City Council, Mayor Jim Douglas and others for allegedly violating state laws that require fourth-class cities — the smallest allowed to sell alcohol — to have populations of at least 3,000. The lawsuit claims Junction City did not have the authority to hold a vote on alcohol sales because the city’s population is less than the benchmark.
One family's fight to keep a playhouse built for their disabled child against the wishes of their local homeowner's association has made its way to the state capitol. The case of three-year-old Cooper Veloudis' playhouse has drawn national attention and sparked online petitions. On Thursday, state lawmakers officially weighed in on the dispute, with Democratic state representative Richard Henderson sponsoring a bill some have dubbed "Cooper's Law."
Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday announced the immediate distribution of $9.5 million in additional federal appropriations for Kentucky’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). “The availability of home heating assistance is critical at this time of the year,” Beshear said in a press release issued by his office. “More funding means more Kentucky families can apply for assistance to stay warm during the colder months.”
You could say a lot of things about Gatewood Galbraith, except that he was "just another politician." Galbraith, who died Wednesday at age 64, was a Kentucky original. Everyone knew him as Gatewood — as with Elvis, the last name eventually became superfluous. In fact, I'll bet if you showed most adult Kentuckians a tall, lanky silhouette of a man wearing a wide-brimmed hat, they would know immediately who it was.
One of the most colorful figures in Kentucky politics has died. Gatewood Galbraith, who was 64 years old, died last night from complications related to emphysema. Over decades, the Lexington attorney frequently sought various political offices. Galbraith ran for governor five times, most recently as an independent. His platform routinely centered around libertarian and progressive issues like marijuana legalization and gun rights.
Lexington native and frequent political candidate Gatewood Galbraith never held elected office, despite his multiple attempts at landing jobs in Kentucky's Capitol. But today, legislators in both chambers took a moment to remember Galbraith, the so-called pernennial candidate to Kentucky's pernennial problems. Galbraith passed away last night from complications related to emphysema.