All Politics are Local

5:16pm

Wed March 20, 2013
All Politics are Local

Senator Rand Paul Joins Democrat to Give Judges More Flexibility in Federal Sentencing

Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Joining Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary. The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 will expand the so-called "safety valve", which allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases. 

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5:11pm

Wed March 20, 2013

10:23am

Wed March 20, 2013
All Politics are Local

Louisville Mayor Speaks Out Against 'Religious-Freedom' Bill

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File Photo

After pressure from local gay rights and city lawmakers, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to veto the so-called religious freedom bill. The bill would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith. Last week, the mayor and city commissioners of Covington joined the chorus of those against the legislation.

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1:06pm

Tue March 19, 2013
All Politics are Local

Potential Republican Challenger to McConnell Expands Outreach to Kentucky Tea Party

Credit foxnews.com

A Louisville businessman exploring a Republican primary against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up meetings with Tea Party groups in Central Kentucky. David Adams, a tea party activist from Central Kentucky, said he's planning to meet with Bevin next week in Lexington with other activists to familiarize themselves with Matt Bevin, the possible Republican Senate candidate and a Louisvillian who runs the Connecticut-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing.

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5:26pm

Mon March 18, 2013
All Politics are Local

Covington City Leaders Ask Beshear to Block 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The mayor and city commissioners of Covington, Kentucky are asking Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called ‘religious freedom’ bill, renewing pressure for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to join the opposition. In a unanimously approved resolution, the commission says HB 279 presents a risk to Covington’s Human Rights Ordinance, which forbids discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered residents.

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5:21pm

Mon March 18, 2013
All Politics are Local

State Leaders Continue Pension Talks

Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

State leaders are still working to find solutions to the Kentucky's troubled pension system—but he's not promising a deal the time the General Assembly regular session ends next week, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Monday.

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5:19pm

Mon March 18, 2013
All Politics are Local

Beshear Signs Bill That Will Raise Dropout Age to 18

Credit Shutterstock.com

After five years of advocacy, supporters of raising Kentucky's dropout age to 18  celebrated Monday as Gov. Steve Beshear signed the bill into law. Flanked by House and Senate lawmakers—as well as First Lady Jane Beshear—the governor officially signed the law in a ceremony in his conference room. The bill would make raising the dropout age voluntarily for school districts until 55 percent of all districts made the change. Then it would become mandatory statewide. The legislation is a compromise reached by lawmakers in the 2013 General Assembly session.

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4:23pm

Sun March 17, 2013
All Politics are Local

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll

Credit U.S. Senate

Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, beating several high-profile names among his party's potential 2016 White House contenders. Paul edged out GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in the largely symbolic survey among a crowded field of two dozen candidates. Those Paul bested include former Republican vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan. 

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12:44pm

Fri March 15, 2013
All Politics are Local

Senator Rand Paul Calls for New GOP

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said the GOP has "grown stale and moss covered" and needs to embrace libertarianism. "The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP," he said.

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12:35pm

Fri March 15, 2013
All Politics are Local

Taxpayers Foot the Bill for State Senate Dinner

Taxpayers footed the nearly $1,000 bill for boxed barbecue dinners provided to state senators and their staffs as they worked late into the evening on March 7. It was the first time since April 15, 2008, that taxpayers' dollars were used to feed the Republican-led Senate during a legislative session, according to state records. The Democrat-led House has not bought its members a meal during a legislative session since March 2007.

4:09pm

Thu March 14, 2013
All Politics are Local

Lexington Reporter Pulled from Democratic Club Meeting After Call from McConnell's Office

Democratic sources are alleging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office pressured the Lexington Herald-Leader to stop a reporter from addressing a political club, but the newspaper's editor denies any such demands were made. Journalist John Cheves was invited to speak before the Louisville Metropolitan Democratic Club this week to talk about an investigative series he wrote on Kentucky's senior Senator in 2006.

1:14pm

Thu March 14, 2013
All Politics are Local

Kentucky Legislators Grapple with Smelter Issue

The smokestack of an aluminum smelting plant, 1973.
Credit Doug Wilson / Environmental Protection Agency

With only two days left in this year's Kentucky General Assembly session, time is running out for supporters of legislation meant to keep two western Kentucky aluminum smelters—which employ about 3,000 people—from closing.

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12:20pm

Thu March 14, 2013
All Politics are Local

Yarmuth Says Ryan Budget Plan is the Enemy of Growth

Credit Creative Commons

Speaking at the House Budget Committee this week, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth said government should be a partner with business and the Republican-crafted 2014 budget will hurt economic growth. Among the highlights GOP lawmakers have touted are $6.4 trillion in deficit cuts and reducing the corporate tax by 10 percent.

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5:34pm

Wed March 13, 2013
All Politics are Local

Child Abuse Review Panel Here to Stay

Kentucky’s 17-member panel currently reviewing certain child abuse cases will remain a permanent part of state accountability and child advocates say the recently-passed law creating the panel adds more transparency and accountability. Last year, Gov. Steve Beshear created the 17-member panel through an executive order to improve the systems overseeing child abuse and neglect. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which is involved in many of these cases, has been criticized for lacking transparency and accountability.

5:31pm

Wed March 13, 2013
All Politics are Local

Kentucky General Assembly Nears End, Issues Still Remain

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers working late Tuesday night.
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky legislators have returned home for the next 12 days after passing a flurry of bills in the recent days of the 2013 General Assembly session. But many big issues still remain on the table and lawmakers will have two days left—March 25 and 26—to hammer out any remaining issues, including pensions and military voting bills.

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10:51am

Wed March 13, 2013
All Politics are Local

McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit Youtube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity. As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race. The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

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10:42am

Wed March 13, 2013
All Politics are Local

Legislators to Continue Working on Pension Reform and Military Voting

Senate President Robert Stivers talks with other legislators.
Credit Rae Hodge/WFPL

FRANKFORT — Two priorities of Kentucky lawmakers will spill over to the so-called veto period of the 2013 legislative sessions after the issues could not be resolved by the end of Tuesday. Legislators were unable to compromise on pension reform and the military electronic voting bill before both legislative chambers adjourned until March 25.

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12:29am

Wed March 13, 2013
All Politics are Local

Listen to WEKU/KET Legislative Wrap program

Credit File photo

he WEKU Stations and Kentucky Educational Television combined forces to present a special interactive program discussing the issues and accomplishments of the 2013 Kentucky legislative session.   KET's Bill Goodman and WEKU's John Hingsbergen co-hosted the hour-long program Tuesday morning March 12.

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5:58pm

Tue March 12, 2013
All Politics are Local

Beshear Says Special Session Likely for Lawmakers

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

With no deal and time running out, a special session is becoming more likely for Kentucky lawmakers to reform the underfunded pension programs for state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Tuesday. It's unlikely that the General Assembly will address pension reform before legislators leave Frankfort after Tuesday for a brief period called the veto break, Beshear said.

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5:54pm

Tue March 12, 2013
All Politics are Local

Team Mitch Launching First TV Ad This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File Photo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be running his first TV ad for re-election in Kentucky this week. McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed with WFPL it will be a "positive buy" costing six figures and will begin airing Thursday. Thus far, the GOP leader has been pummeled by attack ads from liberal groups on gun regulations and birth control.

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5:52pm

Tue March 12, 2013
All Politics are Local

Groups Plan Rally Against 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Over four-dozen groups are planning a rally to pressure Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called 'religious freedom' bill. The measure would allow citizens to ignore laws and regulations based on their religious faith, and it passed both chambers of the General Assembly by an overwhelming margin. Supporters argue the law simply reaffirms the rights for people of faith that have been stripped by the courts.

5:45pm

Tue March 12, 2013
All Politics are Local

Special Taxing District Reform to Become Law

Adam Edelen
Credit File Photo

Kentucky lawmakers reached a deal Monday in a conference committee on legislation addressing issues with special taxing districts. The committee adopted a new proposal that would require special districts to present their annual budgets or any new fee increases to their local fiscal court. But the compromise on House Bill 1 does not allow the fiscal court veto or approval powers of the special district's actions, as Senate Republicans had recently suggested.

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9:40am

Tue March 12, 2013
All Politics are Local

House Passes Military Voting Bill

A bill designed  to allow Kentuckians in the military deployed overseas vote electronically has cleared the House, after amendments returned Senate Bill 1 to a full electronic system. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is the main promoter of the bill and urged House lawmakers to return to full electronic provisions after the Senate did not include the electronic return of a ballot.

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4:41pm

Mon March 11, 2013
All Politics are Local

House Approves Dropout Bill Compromise

Credit Creative Commons

The Kentucky House approved on Monday legislation that gradually raises the age when students can drop out of school—a compromise reached after past efforts to strike a deal failed. The dropout bill allows  local school boards to choose whether to raise the dropout age to 18. After 55 percent of Kentucky's school boards raise the drop out limit, the change in four years becomes mandatory statewide.

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10:13am

Mon March 11, 2013
All Politics are Local

Kentucky House Leaders Still Pushing Redistricting

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

Kentucky's legislative leaders have hope they can finish redistricting before the current session ends later this month. New legislative districts were drafted and passed last year to reflect the 2010 Census. A judge threw them out, however, saying lawmakers did not properly divide up the state.

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1:15pm

Sun March 10, 2013
All Politics are Local

Pension Reform Talks Continue

House and Senate leaders met with Gov. Steve Beshear Friday, looking to find common ground on a plan to reform Kentucky’s ailing public pension system and avoid a special session this year. Those involved described the meeting as productive, and talks are expected to continue during the upcoming 10-day veto recess. The two legislative chambers have passed fundamentally different retirement plans for future state and municipal workers, and the House has proposed a dedicated funding stream to pay full pension contributions, something the state has not done in years.

12:24pm

Fri March 8, 2013
All Politics are Local

NRSC Slams Ashley Judd's Residency

Republicans Attack Judd's residency
Credit NRSC

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is mocking actress Ashley Judd's lack of residency in Kentucky as she considers a bid against Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. In the faux fundraising e-mail, the NRSC asks potential donors to help Judd find a place to live in the Bluegrass state.

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11:36am

Fri March 8, 2013
All Politics are Local

Religious Freedom Bill Goes to Beshear

Sen. Neal
Credit Rae Hodge / WFPL News

After a lengthy partisan battle that lasted hours into the night, a bill that would allow Kentuckians to ignore laws that they say violate their religious beliefs cleared the state Senate. Supporters say the "Religious Freedom Act" sponsored by Rep. Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville, would protect religion from government encroachment. WFPL's Phillip Bailey reported earlier this week:

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2:06pm

Thu March 7, 2013
All Politics are Local

McConnell Praises Rand Paul for Filibuster

Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is praising his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster, and is now opposing President Obama's nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Paul held up the confirmation of John Brennan for CIA director using an old-school filibuster. He continually asked for the administration to promise they will not use armed unmanned aircrafts to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

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2:00pm

Thu March 7, 2013
All Politics are Local

Health Sharing Bill Clears House Committee

Credit File photo

A bill reauthorizing a Christian health sharing ministry in Kentucky has cleared a House committee after the insertion into the bill a provision for more disclosure to possible members of the group. Senate Bill 3, known as the Medi-Share bill, would re-legalize Christian Care Medi-Share to operate in Kentucky after courts ruled them illegal and kicked them out.

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