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.
An attorney for former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Lexington has subpoenaed former employees of the department to appear before it on Friday. Frankfort attorney J. Guthrie True said Farmer, who has been accused of more than 40 ethics violations while in office, has not been called to appear before the grand jury. True declined to identify any of the witnesses subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.
Governor Steve Beshear is criticizing the secret recording of a campaign meeting of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell that was leaked. Two members of Progress Kentucky, Shawn Reilly and Curt Morrison, have been implicated by a Jefferson County Democratic official as being behind who secretly recorded the McConnell meeting. Kentucky Democratic leaders have been largely silent on the situation since the news broke last week. But after being asked Wednesday about the recording, Beshear said he found the whole situation—both the secret taping and McConnell's remarks — to be awful.
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Friday announced that Larry L. Roberts, of Frankfort, will become secretary of the Labor Cabinet effective May 16 with the resignation of acting Secretary Mark S. Brown. Brown, of Brandenburg, is resigning effective May 15 to pursue other opportunities. He is a former state representative and Meade County judge-executive and served as deputy secretary of the Labor Cabinet prior to assuming the role of acting secretary in December 2010.
First Lady Michelle Obama will join former University of Kentucky President Dr. Charles Wethington and Kentucky author Silas House as speakers at Eastern Kentucky University’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11. Three ceremonies, all in Alumni Coliseum, will recognize a total of 2,428 degree candidates.
A bill has already been pre-filed for the Kentucky General Assembly's 2014 session—and it deals with the use of drones in the state. Republican state Rep. Diane St. Onge bill limits how unmanned aircraft can be used. It allows U.S. military personnel to use drones in Kentucky for practice purposes. And it also allows drones to be used by law enforcement agencies if they have a specific warrant to do so.
Democratic groups are increasing the pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell as he gears up for next year's re-election campaign, launching attacks that focus on McConnell's recent actions in the U.S. Senate. The Senate Majority PAC, run by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has created a website called “Beltway Mitch,” targeting McConnell for his refusal to compromise on sequestration, and the effects of sequestration on school districts in Kentucky.
A new poll shows Sen. Mitch McConnell with a precarious lead over potential Democratic challengers. The survey from Public Policy Polling shows McConnell with a four point lead over Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—45 to 41—and a five point lead over former Congressman Ben Chandler.
With action by the governor on every bill passed in the 2013 session, some of the more interesting new laws are starting to stick out. There are always a few bills that get lobbyists and lawmakers rolling their eyes, and this year is no different.
Governor Steve Beshear is allowing a bill regulating hemp in Kentucky to become law without his signature. Supporters of Senate Bill 50 were concerned that the governor might veto the bill after continuing expressing concerns law enforcement had with the bill that it would allow increased marijuana growing.
Governor Steve Beshear has signed bills allowing alcohol sales on election day, reforming the state's pension system and finding revenue to pay for the reforms.The governor signed the bills today, two days before his deadline to do so.