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.
Days after filibustering on the U.S. Senate floor against an extension of the USA Patriot Act last week, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., reflected on a busy week. “I was worn out,” Paul said Friday. Paul filibustered for two days last week, one of which was spent silently, sitting at his desk on the Senate floor.
The cancellation of Richie Farmer’s divorce hearing is either a sign he and his wife want to settle privately or don't have issues that warrant a judge's attention, attorneys and others say. Farmer and his wife, Rebecca, had been scheduled to appear before Franklin Family Court Judge Squire Williams III on Thursday, but a one-sentence document in the case said the hearing had been canceled by mutual agreement.
Eastern Kentucky University and Centre College in Kentucky have both been visited by members of the Commission on Presidential Debates. The two institutions both applied to host debates in next year’s presidential race. Officials with the schools confirmed today that members of the commission visited both campuses to tour potential venues.
Less than a day after the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Governor Steve Beshear organized a meeting between state pension fund representatives and his political supporters, the Republican Party of Kentucky is pouncing on the scandal. GOP Chairman Steve Robertson questioned why Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has made no inquiry into the scandal, which involves managing the commonwealth’s multi-billion dollar pension funds for state and county employees.
Believing a public debate is longer overdue and that Congress has never provided proper oversight, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says he will vote against extending provisions of the Patriot Act when it comes before the House. The Senate is currently debating a four-year extension of the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance law, which was approved a month after the attacks of September 11, but has been criticized by many as unconstitutional.
At the request of the attorney general, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed an executive order to extend price gouging consumer protection laws by an additional 30 days. The initial protections implemented by Beshear in response to last month’s severe storms and flooding are set to expire May 26. The extension will allow state officials to investigate into any complaints of price gouging that may occur relative to gas, building supplies, hotels and other goods and services.
Serving as Lynch’s first female mayor since being appointed in September, Darlene Monhollen resigned that position at a special called meeting of the Lynch City Council on Tuesday. Monhollen’s letter of resignation was read to council members by mayor pro tem Anne Carr. Monhollen cited health problems as the reason for her leaving. Council member Taylor Hall was appointed to fill Monhollen’s position until the November election.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is seeking an exemption to conflict-of-interest rules. Paul is an ophthalmologist and he’s been performing eye surgeries for free at his Bowling Green practice since taking office. Senate rules prohibit members from being paid for other employment, but Paul is asking his colleagues to allow him to bill patients only to cover surgery expenses such as insurance. Paul continues to perform surgeries so he can keep his skills sharp.
State offices will be closed on Friday as part of the state’s budget balancing plan to furlough state government workers a total of six days in Fiscal Year 2011, as authorized by the 2010-12 biennial budget passed by the General Assembly.
The Republican nominee for state auditor will get to stay in his Fayette County home for now. Foreclosure proceedings continue for John T. Kemper III, but his 10,000-square foot home on 18 acres in Lexington has not been sold at auction as was originally planned for Monday. His home near Raven Run Nature Sanctuary was scheduled to be sold at a Master Commissioner sale to raise nearly $1.5 million owed to Citimortgage.
Candidates in last night’s primary election were celebrating and commiserating in hotels, restaurants and campaign headquarters across the state. But the real action was online. Even for a contest with 10 percent turnout, activity on Twitter was feverish at times for followers and users of the #kyelect and #kyelects hashtags.
Predictions by Secretary of State Elaine Walker that just 10 percent of registered voters would go to the polls Tuesday turned out to be on target. About 10.3 percent of registered voters voted in Tuesday’s primary election. There were just seven races between the Democratic and Republican tickets. “I think the turnout today was an embarrassment,” Walker told the Daily News late Tuesday evening.
It got much closer than many expected but in the end not close enough. Everything that needed to happen seemed to fall into place for gubernatorial hopeful Phil Moffett and his running mate, state Rep. Mike Harmon of Boyle County, to have a big upset in the Republican primary Tuesday. In the end, though, low turnout and what appeared to be a sizable response from the Tea Party movement that swept a number of state and federal officials into office last fall were not quite enough. In the Republican primary, Senate President David Williams and his running mate, Richie Farmer, ended up with about 48 percent of the vote to 37.9 for Moffett and Harmon.
Praising Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams, the Republican Governors Association issued a statement Tuesday in support of the GOP nominee that blasted Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and President Barack Obama. Williams beat Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw in the May 17 primary with 48 percent of the vote, but lost to both challengers in the state’s most populous counties.
Kentucky Republicans on Tuesday chose Lexington developer John T. Kemper III as their nominee to be the state's elected Auditor of Public Accounts. Kemper, 47, is in personal bankruptcy and preparing to lose his home in a foreclosure auction following the failure of his construction business. He defeated state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence. Kemper, who last year unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Congress in Central Kentucky, did not return phone messages left Tuesday night.
By Janet Patton and Jennifer Hewlett Lexington Herald-Leader
About 10 percent of Kentucky's registered voters cast their ballots in Tuesday's primary election, a turnout that at least one official called "abysmal." Late Tuesday, with 99.8 percent of precincts reporting, the statewide voter turnout was 10.3 percent. Out of 2,917,837 registered voters, just over 300,000 had voted."Voter participation was low, turnout was late and we weren't surprised by that in this election," said Lindsay Zoeller, deputy assistant secretary of state. Read more...
Even though Tea Party-backed gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett lost the Republican primary, his supporters are celebrating. Moffett was a political novice with little name recognition, and he lacked the fundraising power of the primary winner, state Senate President David Williams. But Moffett beat Williams in the state’s two most populous counties and finished about ten percent behind the favorite statewide. He credits the surprising performance to individual Tea Party groups across the state.
Two of the most politically powerful men in Frankfort begin their battle for the governor’s mansion today. Last night’s primary election results made it official. It was a given incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear would campaign to maintain his position as governor. Beshearr had no primary opposition. But, the other piece of the political puzzle...his Republican opponent... fell into place last night.
The Republican nominee for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner will be state lawmaker James Comer, who defeated Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger in the GOP primary. With 72% of precincts reporting in the Democratic primary for the office, Bob Farmer of Louisville led a five-person field with 30% of the vote.
Incumbent Todd Hollenbach has easily defeated western Kentucky businessman Steve Hamrick in the Democratic primary for Kentucky Treasurer. Hollenbach will face Republican Lexington Councilwoman K.C. Crosbie and Libertarian Ken Moelllman in the November general election.
In today’s closely watched Democratic primary election for secretary of state, Governor Steve Beshear called voters on behalf of incumbent Elaine Walker, who faces Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes. Beshear appointed the former mayor of Bowling Green to fill the remainder of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s term in January, but had kept Walker at arm’s length up until now.
Claiming Democrats are staging a “dog and pony show”, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted plans to revoke billions in tax subsidies given to oil companies in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.
As of 3 p.m. EDT, two calls have been received by the Kentucky attorney general’s election fraud hotline since the polls opened Tuesday morning. One call came from Fayette County and the other from Henry County. Both calls were characterized as general complaints and did not involve allegations of vote-buying.
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Election officials have been predicting low voter turnout for this primary election. But some people -- whether because of their strong belief in civic duty, a voting streak, or because their spouse made them -- found time to cast their ballot Tuesday. Here's what some voters in Lexington had to say, "The leaders will be chosen by the people who care enough to vote."