Kentucky political figure and perennial gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith has died, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.Dea Riley, Galbraith's running mate in the 2011 gubernatorial election, posted the following message on her Facebook page Wednesday morning."Dear Friends, I have just been notified that Gatewood passed away last night. I am heading to Lexington to be with his family. Please say a prayer for his family and friends and all those who loved him."Galbraith, 64, ran unsuccessfully for governor 7 times. He was a Lexington criminal defense attorney. Dea Riley told Kentucky Public Radio's Brenna Angel she would to carry-on in his place.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., predicts the New Year will bring more partisanship to Congress as the presidential election heats up. Last year, Congress faced a possible government shutdown and a contentious debate to extend the payroll tax cuts among several other partisan debates. For most of the year the Republican-controlled House clashed with the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House until deadlines forced compromises.
Kentucky Youth Advocates is inviting lawmakers to a summit on Jan. 14 to discuss potential legislative changes that would affect the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Attendees will try to craft ideas that encourage transparency. “Our goal for Jan. 14 is to come out of that with some hard nosed practical legislative solutions because it is clear that we can not count on the administration to generate the solutions,” said Terry Brooks, KYA executive director.
Amid continued budget hardships and a slew of issues which need immediate action, state and local officials are preparing to tackle challenges which continue to plague the state. With the upcoming legislative session just days away, local lawmakers and officials are looking to the upcoming session, which begins Jan. 3, with hopes that issues such as prescription drug abuse, coal severance funding and education will receive attention during what some feel may be one of the most important sessions in recent memory.
State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, has prefiled legislation that would eliminate the constitutional office of state treasurer. The legislation proposes an amendment to the state constitution, which voters would have to decide on at the polls in November. The move echoes a campaign promise of Libertarian Ken Moellman, who ran against Republican K.C. Crosbie and incumbent Democrat Todd Hollenbach in the November election.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has rejected the pending merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives. The deal would’ve put University Hospital under a contract inspired by Catholic doctrine, though the institution would remain secular. It blocked certain reproductive health procedures and would change employee benefits, beginning 2013.
Months of searching and speculation ended Wednesday as Corbin city leaders officially hired a new city manager - a Greenville, SC native with experience as an administrator for cities and counties in both Georgia and South Carolina. Sixty-three-year-old Michael Phillips was named as the next City Manager by Corbin's Board of Commissioners by unanimous vote during a special meeting. He succeeds former City Manger Bill Ed Cannon who resigned in August after serving in the position for 12 years.
Council member Charles Raleigh has asked for Cumberland Mayor Carl Hatfield to resign in an open letter sent to several media outlets on Thursday. In the letter, Raleigh states that it is in the best interest of the city and the citizens that the mayor resigns in order to avoid further financial burden and embarrassment. “The call for his resignation is prompted by his actions regarding budget issues. He’s going over budget by creating positions that are not in the personnel manual. Only the council can create positions. He has also taken upon himself to hire a water supervisor at $20 per hour; that’s not in our pay scale for that position. But the council has to come up with the money,” said Raleigh.
A bill filed in the General Assembly by two Northern Kentucky lawmakers would require legislative approval for new administrative regulations that have at least a $500,000 economic impact. State Reps. Joe Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, and Addia Wuchner, R-Burlington, modeled the bill after U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis’ Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act introduced in in Congress. Wuchner cited a proposed increase in private landfill fees a few years ago she fought to stop as the type of regulations she wants the legislature to scrutinize.
Congress broke a record this year, but hitting the lowest approval rating of all time isn’t what the Commonwealth’s lawmakers had hoped to accomplish. Hoping to drastically slash a federal debt that now sits at more than fifteen trillion dollars, Republicans took over the lower chamber. In the Senate, the GOP also made big gains in 20-10, electing a handful of tea party Republicans, including Kentucky’s Rand Paul. Looking back at his freshman year, Paul takes a deep breath before recounting only one legislative highlight.
With the new year, hopefully comes some optimism about job creation. That might be the theme of many a politician across Kentucky. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray enters his second year in office this weekend. While the bluegrass community has traditionally featured one of the state’s lowest un-employment rates, Gray says joblessness is still a significant issue in his town. “We’ve got folks in our community that need jobs, still we’ve got a stubborn un-employment at above sever percent which is almost double what it was five years ago, so we’ve got to constantly work at it,’ said Gray.
The Kentucky Lottery's current definition of an online game is one in which tickets are purchased through a network of computer terminals at retail outlets - games such as Pick 3, Mega Millions and Powerball. That definition, however, could change in light of a recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice, which puts the regulation of online gaming squarely in the hands of the states.
A local state representative with some first-hand experience in gubernatorial politics has pre-filed a bill that would change the way slates are chosen for the state's top two offices. Rep. Mike Harmon's bill would allow candidates for governor to wait until the general election to name their lieutenant governor running mates instead of having to pick someone before the primary as is currently required. Candidates would have four weeks after the May primary to name a candidate.
It may eventually cost Big Rivers Electric Corp. an estimated $100 million to install equipment to capture mercury and other toxic emissions to meet new pollution standards announced Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, utility officials said Thursday. But that's not all. "The real impact will be on the O&M" — operations and maintenance — "side of the business," according to Bill Blackburn, Big Rivers' senior vice president of finance and energy services as well as its chief financial officer.
The selection process to choose a running mate in the race for Kentucky governor would change under legislation filed by a central Kentucky lawmaker. Current law requires a candidate to make a lieutenant governor selection before entering the primary race. Danville representative Mike Harmon wants to give a candidate for governor until after the May primary to select a lieutenant governor candidate.
The UPS pilots union is suing the Federal Aviation Administration over not including cargo carriers in new guidelines for pilot rest. The new FAA rules mandate fewer monthly and weekly flight hours, and require pilots to take more rest time between flights. But only commercial pilots are affected.The Independent Pilots Association filed a petition for review today in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the guidelines. The petition maintains that cargo pilots should be covered by the rules too.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled new rules that will reduce pollution from power plants. The rule has been in the works for more than two decades, and the EPA was under a court order to finalize the rules by last week. Under the rule, utilities will have to drastically reduce the amounts of toxic metals power plants emit into the air.
An injured Kentucky lawmaker's wife is set to take his place in the state house of representatives. Regina Bunch says she's honored to be given the opportunity to serve in her husband's stead. 82nd House District representative DeWayne Bunch resigned from office after suffering a head injury in April while attempting to break up a fight at Whitley County High School.
The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil its new pollution rules for power plants this afternoon. The rules were required by court order to be finalized on Friday, but haven’t yet been released to the public. The new standard will reduce the amount of mercury and other heavy metals that are emitted from power plants, but it’s not known by how much.
Seeking to overturn the Citizens United case, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., filed a bill Tuesday that would amend the U.S. Constitution to get money out of politics by toppling key provisions of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision. The bipartisan legislation was introduced alongside U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-Nc., and establishes that financial expenditures and in-kind contributions do not qualify as protected free speech under the First Amendment. It also makes Election Day a legal holiday and enables Congress to establish a public financing system that would serve as the sole source of funding for federal elections.
The Ohio River Bridges Project has been denied federal funding for a second time. The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority applied for a $100 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to pay for the costs associated with issuing a loan for the estimated $2.9 billion project.
Despite losing to Democratic Governor Steve Behsear by a whopping 20-point margin in the November 8 general election, Republican state Senate President David Williams will retain his leadership position.
In a message to supporters on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., announced he will forgo re-election in 2012 because he wants to devote more time to his family.The retirement will leave Kentucky’s 4th congressional district vacant for next year’s election.
With time running out before the expiration of the payroll tax cuts, Democrats are dropping their proposal to tax the wealthiest Americans to pay for the relief as a way to compromise with their Republican counterparts. The legislation to extend the cuts passed the House earlier this week, but not without contention or the remaining partisan dispute over how to pay for them. However, it appears the Democrats have blinked first.
The Newport High School Marching Band passes the Capitol during the Inaugural Parade Tuesday morning.
Credit Hannah Reel / Frankfort State Journal
Turnout for Gov. Steve Beshear’s inaugural parade Tuesday was light compared to years past, but many crowded Frankfort's Capital Avenue to glimpse the governor and watch the more than 50 high school marching bands. “We used to be in the band together back in high school, and we really like parades,” said Tim Schultz, a state employee who sat in a camping chair along Broadway with his wife, Nanette Schultz.
The Washington D.C.-based organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State is asking Governor Steve Beshear not to approve the pending merger between University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish/St. Mary’s Health System and a division of Catholic Health Initiatives.
The office of U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Oh., released a “countdown clock” on Tuesday to urge Senate Democrats to pass the Republican-sponsored bill extending the payroll tax cuts. The House approved the legislation by a 234-to-193 vote last night, despite a veto threat from President Obama and a pledge by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,