An independent candidate for the vacant 56th House District seat proposed a series of debates Monday leading to the June 25 special election. John-Mark Hack, a founding partner in Marksbury Farm Market in Lancaster and chairman of the anti-gambling group Stop Predatory Gambling, suggested a series of June debates in Franklin, Woodford and Fayette counties and on cn|2’s Pure Politics program. Read more...
A new poll shows 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana, while others would be fine with widespread legalization. The Kentucky Health Issues Poll has conducted polling on a wide array of issues for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky over the past few months, from a statewide smoking ban to health insurance coverage.
A trio of Kentuckians who favor the legalization of hemp says a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and executive branch officials was beneficial. Former state treasurer Jonathan Miller, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and State Senator Paul Hornback spent three days in D.C. pushing for either the national legalization of industrial hemp, or a waiver to grow it in the Commonwealth.
The Kentucky Humanities Council has named former Congressman Ben Chandler as its new executive director. The non-profit group is not affiliated with the state, but works closely with state tourism and arts organizations. It is affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has introduced three amendments to a bill before the Senate that environmental groups say would gut protections for the environment. Rand Paul and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin introduced the amendments to the Water Resources Development Act, which authorizes flood protection measures and infrastructure improvements.
Two Kentucky elected leaders are joining their peers in asking a national clothing retailer to stop selling questionable pint and shot glasses. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers are asking retailer Urban Outfitters to stop selling an array of pint glasses, shot glasses and flasks that are made to look like prescription pill bottles.
Senator Mitch McConnell's next election is a year and a half away, yet he doesn't have a serious opponent. But this hasn't stopped him from amassing significant money and personnel for his re-election. Each week, the effort to re-elect McConnell adds new field directors, political staff and fundraisers.
The special election for the 56th House District—covering Woodford County and portions of Fayette and Franklin county—will likely be the only election this year. This puts added pressure on both parties to come through with a victory, as Democrats try to maintain their majority and Republicans attempt to make in-roads in taking the House. Republican nominee Lyen Crews faces defeat Democrat James Kay on June 25
While U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell believes the new Coal Jobs Protection Act will expedite the EPA’s permitting process, he acknowledges that the bill maybe difficult to get passed during the next U.S. Senate session which begins next week. McConnell announced the new measure during a press conference at Whayne Supply in Pikeville on Monday.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo is encouraging Gov. Steve Beshear to soon call a General Assembly special session so that lawmakers can pass new state legislative redistricting maps and end a federal lawsuit. Last week, several county clerks in Northern Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit claiming the state's inability to finish redistricting violated federal law. In response, Stumbo sent a letter to the governor encouraging him to call a special session.
The Democratic candidate is in place for a key special election in Central Kentucky. Attorney James Kay of Versailles will run for the Kentucky state House seat being left vacant by Carl Rollins. Rollins is leaving office to work with two state education groups.
U.S. Minority Leader Mitch McConnellplans to announce a bill to put limits on the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of coal mining. McConnell’s bill—which he’s calling “The Coal Jobs Protection Act”—would set deadlines for the EPA to approve or veto coal mining permits. If McConnell’s bill becomes law, the agency would have 270 days to act on some permits for water pollution. For valley fill permits, the bill gives the EPA a year to conduct an environmental assessment. This is a time-intensive process that the EPA estimates takes an average of three years.
A leading health organization in Kentucky is putting the pressure on Gov. Steve Beshear to expand Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act. Kentucky Voices for Health Executive Director Regan Hunt says her group is launching a two-week radio ad campaign pressure Beshear to expand Medicaid. The radio ad campaign will be partnered with a month long online ad campaign.
An evacuation occurred at the temporary Franklin County courthouse Monday morning after the words “bomb in build” were found spray-painted on the building. The black spray-painting was on the left side of the building, near the door where judges enter. An employee first noticed the spray-painting about 8 a.m., when the courthouse opened. The employee notified the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, which is housed in the opposite end of the building. A search of the building turned up nothing.
Journalists meet former Agriculture Commissioner, Ex-WildCat Richie Farmer on way into federal court Thursday for hearing on charges.
Credit Pablo Alacala / Lexington Herald-Leader
Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges that he misused more than $450,000 of state money and property during his eight years as Kentucky's top agriculture official. Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player whose retired jersey hangs in Rupp Arena, appeared Thursday afternoon with his attorney, J. Guthrie True, at the federal courthouse in Lexington. A grand jury has charged Farmer, 43, with four counts of misappropriating property and money, and one count of soliciting property to influence agriculture department business.
Credit Legislative Research Commission Carl Rollins
Kentucky state Rep. Carl Rollins is resigning his House seat effective at the end of today, becoming the state first lawmaker to announce his retirement this cycle. Rollins is resigning to become the executive director and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the CEO of the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation.
The federal indictment of former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer won't become a problem for the Department of Agriculture, Farmer's successor said on Monday. James Comer, who took over the office in 2011, and his office say they have helped with the multiple investigations of Farmer's tenure as agriculture commissioner—including those conducted by the state auditor, attorney general or others.
In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.
A federal grand jury has indicted former Agriculture Secretary Richie Farmer for allegedly misusing property and funds during his eight years at the helm of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. A grand jury charged Farmer, 43, with four counts of misappropriating property and one count of soliciting property to influence agriculture department business. Each charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment follows a string of ethical and legal troubles for the former University of Kentucky basketball standout and one-time Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.
Governor Steve Beshear says he's still considering whether to call a special legislative session for later this year. A few issues remain unresolved from the last regular session, mainly redistricting and further tax reform. And Governor Beshear has been pushing for tax reform to pay for the state's education system.