U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was expected to be in Bowling Green today to discuss with local officials the recent arrests of residents on terrorism allegations, hours after Gov. Steve Beshear joined several state politicians in endorsing McConnell’s call to send the men to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a military trial.
A day after his Republican opponent charged he lacked the courage to do so, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has issued a statement calling for the two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges to be sent out of Kentucky. On Wednesday, state Senate President David Williams challenged Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, to join him and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who initially demanded Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi be sent to the controversial military base to be tried as enemy combatants.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement this morning challenging a call by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to send the two Bowling Green men arrested on terrorism charges to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of trying the men in federal court. “We are prosecuting these two alleged terrorists in federal court because it is the most proven method for keeping our country safe,” the Department of Justice statement said.
Lynch Mayor Taylor Hall and several Lynch City Council members have accused Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop of criminal coercion. The accusations were aired at a special called city council meeting Tuesday and comes following a meeting between Hall and Grieshop, that was held Monday. “I plan on talking to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office about what was said at the meeting,” said Hall. “Criminal coercion is when you take or threat to omit action unless someone else is changing what they are doing or saying. When you say to us, that we will negotiate with the coal companies or not receive any money through the fiscal court, I think that is paramount to criminal coercion.” Grieshop denies the accusations.
Author Wendell Berry has long protested mountaintop removal, the controversial coal mining method. When Berry spoke at a rally in February in Frankfort, he urged others to continue protesting beyond just one day a year. Little did he know, a local group would take his message to heart – and two months later do just that. For the past eight weeks, environmental activists have set aside one day a week to stage day-long protests outside the governor’s office in the Capitol.
Responding to the pending trial of two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges in Kentucky, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants the duo shipped to Guantanamo Bay. In May, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested in Bowling Green and have been accused of attempting to provide cash and weapons to al Qaida in Iraq. The two men have been indicted on 23 counts and if convicted they could face life in prison.
A former campaign volunteer for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., entered an Alford Plea in the case that he assaulted a liberal activist during last year’s general election. Bourbon County resident Tim Profitt was accused of wrestling MoveOn.org activist Lauren Valle to the ground before stepping on her neck and head outside the Kentucky Educational Television studios. Profitt said he thought the 23-year-old activist was trying to attack then-candidate Paul, who was headed to a debate with Attorney General Jack Conway.
Returning from a week-long visit to the Middle East, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., met with leaders from the region and believes there’s a mix of optimism and anxiety across different countries. The congressman was joined by four other Democratic colleagues during the overseas trip and made stops in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank to hear from leaders and citizens who are seeking peace. The group sat down with Egypt’s foreign minister and the Palestinian prime minister to discuss U.S. involvement in the region.
One of Northern Kentucky's top lobbyists is joining forces with one of the region's top law firms. Marc Wilson's Commonwealth Capitol Group will merge with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister, they announced Friday. "It's exciting, and I think it'll be a good partnership," said Wilson, 43, of Florence. Wilson will contract with Taft's Focused Capitol Solutions, an affiliate that provides government relations services to the law firm's clients.
Thirty years after he proposed legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, it continues as the issue often associated with gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith. But Galbraith is slightly resentful that he’s been saddled as a one-trick pony. “I can give a speech talking about 10 different planks in my platform and I know that when the story comes out the next day the first thing that gets mentioned is marijuana,” he says.
Handicapping the so-called “golf summit” between President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner, GOLF Magazine encouraged the commander-in-chief to get tips from U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who is an avid and skillful amateur. The social outing was initially thought to be an attempt to cool tensions in Washington, but both sides have said no agreement on the federal budget will come as a result of the friendly game.
In the first poll of the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear holds a strong 21-point lead over Republican challenger and state Senate President David Williams. During the primary campaign, early polls showed Williams trailing the governor by a smaller margin, but since then Beshear has launched a number of radio and television advertisements and observers had been highlighting the GOP nominees high negatives.
In a statement released on his campaign website, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., accuses Republican Andy Barr of supporting a “radical agenda to end Medicare” as a way to balance the federal budget. Barr announced his candidacy earlier today, setting up a potential rematch between the 37-year-old Lexington attorney and three-term incumbent. In 2010, Barr came within 648 votes of unseating Chandler in a political nail biter.
After losing by less than 700 votes in last year’s general election, Republican Andy Barr will challenge Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler again in 2012. The 37-year-old Lexington attorney is a rising star in the Kentucky GOP ranks and surprised political observers by coming within a razor-thin margin of beating Chandler, a popular incumbent and grandson of a former governor.
The Department of Agriculture is asking the state Personnel Board to deny a request for investigation into whether two political appointees were illegally hired into protected positions. Personnel Board Vice Chairman Larry B. Gillis said that a probe is needed to determine whether Danita Fentress-Laird and Kathryn Willis were transferred from positions as politically appointed division directors into positions protected by the state's merit system without following normal procedures. A response by the Department of Agriculture said the Personnel Cabinet had reviewed the decisions and found no wrongdoing.
In an interview with conservative talk radio host Bill Bennett Tuesday, Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams endorsed the controversial steps taken by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as necessary measures given the state’s labor union laws. During the discussion, Williams was asked which governors he admired most and named Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. The question turned to the recent actions taken by Walker, who was embroiled in a fight with labor unions earlier this year after a vote successfully curtailed public employee bargaining rights as a way to balance the Wisconsin state budget.
Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann says his 2010 decision to donate to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s campaign for the U.S. Senate was driven by frustration and fear. Olbermann was suspended from MSNBC for donating to Conway and Arizona representatives Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva.
A group of wealthy Americans are marking the ten-year anniversary of the tax cuts signed into law by former President George W. Bush by calling for an end to the reductions for people making over $1 million. The group Patriotic Millionaires sent a video message to members of Congress Tuesday asking lawmakers to raise their taxes in order to help reduce the deficit. But Republican leaders have said any discussion about tax increases are a non-starter and Democratic support for the break has been solid.
Reminding voters he cut his own salary and over a $1 billion in spending to balance the state’s budget, Democratic Governor Stever Beshear has unveiled a second television advertisement in his re-election bid against Republican state Senate President David Williams. Entitled “Leading by example”, the 30-second commercial began airing statewide Monday, and highlights cost-cutting measures the governor has advocated during the national recession.
In the past week, several Kentucky politicians have spoken out against the federal Environmental Protection Agency and what they call its “war on coal.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Governor Steve Beshear and State Representative Jim Gooch Jr. have all complained that EPA regulation is endangering the state’s coal industry.
Today, Kentucky police officers may arrest for misdemeanors such as possession of marijuana or disorderly conduct. Beginning Wednesday, police may only cite some misdemeanors rather than arrest. Gov. Steve Beshear signed House Bill 463 into law March 3. The bill is designed to decrease prison population, incarceration costs and recidivism. Section 46 of the bill covers arrestable offenses and makes significant changes to what misdemeanor offenses local law enforcement can and cannot arrest for.
Evidence indicating former state lawmaker Steve Nunn engaged the services of prostitutes less than a week before he is alleged to have killed his former fiancée will be allowed at his murder trial, Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine ruled Thursday. The judge said prosecution evidence showing contacts between Nunn and women from an online service in August and September 2009, just before the Sept. 11, 2009, shooting death of 29-year-old Amanda Ross, was relevant to the case. Defense attorneys had sought to have the information excluded from the trial.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a new law that aims to boost revenue and beautify neighborhoods. When a property is vacant and falls into a state of disrepair, city governments often cut grass and board up windows, then fine the owner for the work. In Louisville, Metro Government has spent millions keeping up empty houses, but only $800,000 has been repaid. That’s because the city couldn’t collect from property owners until banks and other creditors got their share.
Residents in the city of Wallins will soon be faced with a petition to dissolve their long defunct city. It is the county that plans to go door-to-door to gather signatures. The petition will mark the start of a legal process to formally dissolve the city by circuit judge’s order. “No one ran for anything in the city during the last race for offices in the county,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop. “That is telling of where people are. They have accepted the fact that Wallins can not go back to what it was.”
After being criticized in a New York Times editorial for crossing the church-state divide, the controversial Ark Encounter has a supporter in state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, who is proud the park is being built in his district.
The current Speaker of the US House along with three other former Speakers are scheduled to appear as part of the first Henry Clay week event in Lexington. The annual Student Congress, which attracts rising college seniors from across the country will also be held in June. Speaker of the House John Boehner, former speaker and current democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi plus former speakers Dennis Hastert and Jim Wright will all participate in a moderated conversation June 24th.
From Jan. 1 to April 30 of this year, nearly $7 million was spent lobbying Kentucky's lawmakers, according to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission. In its monthly report, "Ethics Reporter," KLEC reports more than $6.1 million was spent as compensation to 630 lobbyists during the first four months of 2011. Reports filed by employers and legislative agents are compiled at the Legislative Ethics Commission’s website at: http://klec.ky.gov/reports/employersagents.htm.
After completing his first city budget, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has warned Metro Council and non-profit groups about painful cuts to come. The mayor addressed city lawmakers last week, outlining how his administration filled a $22.5 million shortfall using a number of stopgaps. But in the future, the city faces tough choices as Metro Government expenses outpace revenue and present officials with tough choices on the horizon.