Associated Press

Republicans have added more than 77,000 people to their voter registration rolls since last year, easily outpacing Democrats while still trailing them in overall numbers.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced the new totals Thursday, less than a month before the Nov. 8 general election. The deadline to register to vote was last week.

Since November 2015, Republicans have added 77,242 voters while Democrats gained 11,385. Democrats still have a majority, claiming 51 percent of all registered voters compared with Republicans' 40 percent. The rest are registered as third party or independent voters.

Democrats fared better with new voters, signing up 44,712 since March compared with 46,328 Republicans. But it appears Republicans are benefiting from a number of registered Democrats deciding to switch parties.

Two of the Republican Party's top leaders have hesitated to support a bill that would preserve the pensions and health care benefits for thousands of retired union coal miners.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are both popular in Appalachian coal communities. But McConnell in the past has blocked a bill that would rescue the pensions and health benefits of more than 13,000 retired coal miners in Kentucky.

Trump has been silent on the bill, which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has endorsed.

The miners say the federal government owes them pension and health care benefits, stemming from a promise made by former President Harry Truman in the 1940s to end a costly strike.

McConnell says he hopes "we can find a way forward" after the election.

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is calling on Donald Trump to step down as the party's presidential nominee for his recently released comments about women.

Haslam issued a statement Sunday calling on Trump to remove himself and clear the way for Trump running mate Mike Pence to face Democrat Hillary Clinton next month.

Trump has said he has no plans to quit. Haslam says if that's the case, he plans to use a write-in vote for president from the Republican Party.

Haslam says "character in our leaders does matter" and decisions made by any president "have too many consequences to ignore the behavior we have seen" from Trump.

Haslam says his concerns with Trump's policy positions and statements made during the campaign that have kept the governor from endorsing him.

Kentucky LRC

GOP state Representative David Floyd declined an appointment to a special committee to investigate Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Floyd was one of two Republicans placed on the committee by Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat.  

The committee is assigned to look into whether Bevin broke the law when he tried to convince some Democratic lawmakers to switch parties.  

In a letter to Stumbo, Floyd said he must decline the appointment because of "pressing family concerns."

The Kentucky Supreme Court plans to convene next week to hear oral arguments in six cases including one about free speech.

A statement from the high court says justices will hear a case out of Fayette County asking them to decide whether an ordinance that bans begging and soliciting on public streets is a violation of free speech.

Justices will also hear cases out of Hardin, Jefferson, McCracken and Rockcastle counties that deal with a variety of issues including questions about medical malpractice and imminent domain.

The Supreme Court proceedings will take place on Oct. 13-14 at the state Capitol building in Frankfort and are open to the public.

U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook

Federal prosecutors have charged six soldiers from Fort Campbell with conspiring to steal sensitive Army equipment including sniper telescopes and rifle accessories, machine gun parts, grenade launcher sights, flight helmets and night vision helmet mounts.

U.S. Attorney David Rivera announced that more than $1 million in restricted equipment was ultimately sold and shipped, mostly to anonymous eBay bidders, including some in Russia, China, Ukraine and other foreign nations.

A news release said five of the soldiers were arrested, and one other is still being sought, along with two civilians in nearby Clarksville, Tennessee,who are accused of buying the equipment from them.

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy. The two civilians face charges including wire fraud.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting Kentucky to announce a program to reduce rural poverty nationwide.

The project involves a partnership with 26 community development organizations to give long-term, low-interest financing to local entities for community facilities and services, such as education, health care and infrastructure.

The Agriculture Department said in a news release the partnership will provide $401 million of Community Facilities program funds.

Kentucky News Network

A Kentucky Republican, shunned even by his own party for posting images on Facebook depicting President Barack Obama as a monkey, held a defiant press conference during which he declined to apologize or suspend his campaign for the statehouse.

Dan Johnson, a Bullitt County preacher running for a seat in the state House of Representatives, maintained on Tuesday that the images were not racist.

Johnson is running against incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in the state's 49th district, which includes part of Bullitt County just south of Louisville.

The Republican Party of  Kentucky had asked him to drop out of the race, saying his posts "represent the rankest sort of prejudice present in our society."

Johnson said black pastors and black legislators have voiced their support for his candidacy, though he refused to name them.

State health officials are pointing to more progress in efforts to reduce Kentucky's youth smoking rate.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services says the latest smoking rate among Kentucky high school students is 16.9 percent, down from 26.2 percent a decade ago. That's according to the 2015 Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Youth smoking rates in Kentucky remain higher than the national average. Officials say the nationwide rate was 10.8 percent in 2015.

Officials from the Kentucky Department for Public Health attribute the state's decade-long decline, in part, to tobacco-free school policies, which encourage districts to create environments where tobacco and alternative nicotine products are prohibited.

The Islamic Center of Nashville is suing the state in federal court after it says it was denied a tax exemption.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, argues the center's religious tax exemption for its Nashville International Academy school was denied because of a banking deal that allowed the center to follow its religious beliefs. The center was billed more than $87,000 in past-due taxes as a result.

The Islamic center first appealed the denial to an administrative law judge and the Assessment Appeals Commission. In May, the commission said a transfer of title — which was a part of the banking agreement — disqualified the center from exemption. It also sympathized with the mosque and suggested they take legislative action.

A state spokesman said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Ryland Barton

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky says lawyers for the couples who sued to be issued marriage licenses in Rowan County are seeking to recover more than $233,000 in legal fees and costs.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued in 2015 after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples could marry.

Davis was jailed for several days after refusing to comply with a court order to stop denying qualified applicants a marriage license. Her deputy clerks issued licenses while she was incarcerated.

The state eventually changed marriage license forms so that clerks' names did not have to appear, and the case was later dismissed.

City of Owensboro, KY

Kentucky State Police are continuing their investigating into the shooting death of a knife-wielding man by two officers in Owensboro.

State police say 29-year-old Lucas Anderson died from gunshot wounds in the incident Friday night.

Police say Owensboro Police Department officers responded to a domestic argument call. Police say the officers saw Anderson grab a woman's hair and put a knife to her throat.


A federal agency says it needs more time to complete an environmental review of a proposal to convert a natural gas pipeline to one that would carry natural gas liquids.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it now plans to complete the review by Nov. 2. The agency had originally planned to finish the review in September.

The proposal has caused concerns in some communities about safety and the Danville City Commission passed a resolution opposing the conversion.

Kinder Morgan has said the company would examine the pipeline closely, upgrade any areas in need and thoroughly test it before returning it to service.

The existing pipeline runs through 18 counties, from Greenup in the northeast to Simpson County in south-central Kentucky.

Wikimedia Commons

The state says a 73-year-old Louisville man has died of West Nile virus.

Health and Family Services Cabinet spokeswoman Beth Fisher says it is Kentucky's first death from the virus reported this year.

The state Health Department says Jefferson County typically reports a few cases of the virus each year, mostly during late summer and early fall.

The Clark County Health Department in southern Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, identified two samples of mosquitoes infected with the virus this week in Charlestown and Jeffersonville.

The cabinet advises wearing bug repellent and protective clothing outdoors and staying indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.

The cabinet's website says symptoms of West Nile may include a slight fever or headache, possibly with skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Kentucky Republicans to pray for his party to maintain control amid what he called a "challenging" election cycle this November.

McConnell was one of several speakers at the Republican Party of Kentucky's annual Lincoln Dinner that also included U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Matt Bevin. Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November while Democrats are defending 10 seats. McConnell said many of the Republican races are in competitive states that are "in the crosshairs of the presidential" race.

Bevin urged people to elect Republicans to the state House of Representatives, the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats. All 100 seats are up for re-election in November. Bevin said the change is needed for him to sign anti-abortion legislation.