All Politics are Local

12:23pm

Tue March 26, 2013
All Politics are Local

Pension Proposal Rejected, Deadline Looms

Credit Creative Commons

House and Senate leaders will attempt a last-minute compromise to reform Kentucky’s beleaguered public pension system during the session’s final day Tuesday. Negotiations on the pension issue, arguably the largest unresolved item on the General Assembly’s agenda, lasted throughout the day Monday. Gov. Steve Beshear met with House and Senate leadership, and House Democrats discussed proposals for several hours.

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11:16am

Tue March 26, 2013
All Politics are Local

Senator Marco Rubio Outlines Vision of 'Limitless' America in UofL Address

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fl.,
Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida delivered a speech at the University of Louisville outlining his domestic and foreign policy views, saying America is still a country without limits. The speech delivered Monday was part of the McConnell Center’s lecture series, which has featured several high-profiled leaders including House Speaker John Boehner.

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11:13am

Tue March 26, 2013
All Politics are Local

Lawmakers Likely to Override Religious Freedom Bill Veto

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

The Kentucky House will vote Tuesday whether to override Gov. Steve Beshear's veto of the "religious freedom" bill. Many House Democrats supported the bill when it first came up for a vote, though the decision to consider the veto was more contentious when taken up in a Democratic caucus meeting Monday. Speaker Greg Stumbo expects the override to go through, but he's not sure how strong the support will be.

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11:11am

Tue March 26, 2013
All Politics are Local

Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Plan for Pension Reform

Greg Stumbo and Damon Thayer
Credit Legislative Research Commission

With only one day left in this year's legislative session, Kentucky House leaders are hopeful they have a deal to up shore up the state's underfunded pension system. But there may not be time to get it through the legislature.  House Democrats' are building support for a proposal that uses technical wrangling of revenue sources to cut some taxes while raising other funds to pay for pension reform. The current proposal would cut the gasoline tax by one cent, resulting in a loss of funds for the state road fund.

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5:32pm

Mon March 25, 2013
All Politics are Local

Lawmakers Reconvene for Final Two Days of Session

Kentucky lawmakers reconvene at noon Monday to finish out the last two days of this year’s legislative session. They face a stack of unfinished bills. Proposals include a measure to reform the state’s underfunded pension system and legislation to regulate hemp farming. Pension reform remains a top priority for legislators.

5:27pm

Mon March 25, 2013
All Politics are Local

State Lottery Approves Online Sales

The Kentucky Lottery Corporation is moving ahead with a new Keno game and online lottery sales after unanimously approval from its board.  The board approved the new games with the hopes they would generate $85 million a year by 2023. State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach spearheaded the effort to expand to Keno and online as a way to help generate more revenue for the state.

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5:23pm

Fri March 22, 2013
All Politics are Local

Massie Advises Tea Party Critics to Lay Off Senator Mitch McConnell

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie is advising Tea Party activists to think twice before waging a primary challenge to Senator Mitch McConnell next year. The freshman lawmaker was heavily backed by the Tea Party in his race for the Fourth Congressional District seat last year.

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4:34pm

Fri March 22, 2013
All Politics are Local

'Religious Freedom' Bill Sponsor Urges House Leaders to Override Gubernatorial Veto

State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville

Kentucky Representative Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, is urging fellow Democrats in the state House to override Governor Steve Beshear's veto of the so-called 'religious freedom' bill. The governor blocked the legislation Friday after tremendous pressure to reject the measure, which would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith.

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2:37pm

Fri March 22, 2013
All Politics are Local

Beshear Vetoes Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday vetoed the controversial "religious freedom" bill recently approved by the Kentucky General Assembly. Here's his statement:

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1:02pm

Fri March 22, 2013
All Politics are Local

Three Nominated to Fill Vacant Kentucky Supreme Court Seat

A bipartisan nominating commission has recommended that Gov. Steve Beshear consider a state appeals court judge and two other lawyers for an open state Supreme Court seat in Northern Kentucky. The vacancy was created when Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Wil Schroder retired on Jan. 17 after announcing that he was being treated for cancer.

1:20pm

Thu March 21, 2013
All Politics are Local

Hemp Supporters Blast Amendment Calling for Further Study

James Comer
Credit File Photo

Kentucky's industrial hemp supporters lashed out Thursday against a last-minute amendment to the hemp bill that's been under consideration this year in the General Assembly. State Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and the majority floor leader, has proposed an amendment turning the Senate-approve hemp bill into a five year study. It also gives the licensing responsibilities to Kentucky State Police, which argues that legalized hemp would harm law enforcement efforts to target hemp's cousin, marijuana.

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1:06pm

Thu March 21, 2013
All Politics are Local

Pension Negotiations Continue Through Recess

Lawmakers continue to work toward a resolution on public employee pensions, arguably the top unresolved issue of the 2013 legislative session. House and Senate leaders have been at an impasse on systematic changes to pension plans for future state and municipal workers, legislators and judges, as well as funding methods to pay for pension contributions expected to cost up to $120 million more in fiscal year 2015.

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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