Democratic U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth led a rally in Louisville Monday to advocate a raise in the federal minimum wage. The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office is reviewing whether cities like Louisville can do it on their own without federal or state legislation.
“It is critical that we keep the House in Democratic hands, or all of our progressive values will be gone,” said Louisville state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian.
She cosponsored a bill in the General Assembly this year that mirrors a federal effort to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. It passed the House along largely party lines, but died in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Despite her rhetoric that the issue is contingent upon keeping her Democratic Party in control of the state House, where it maintains a narrow eight-seat advantage, the Kentucky Attorney General is reviewing whether or not cities like Louisville can pass their own minimum wage laws.
A spokesman for the AG’s office said they are requesting input from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office toward this end, but did not say when an official opinion will be issued.
Two members of Kentucky’s Washington delegation are marking the 50th anniversary of the date congress formally recognized bourbon whiskey as a distinct American product. The Courier-Journal reports Representatives John Yarmuth, a Democrat and Andy Barr a Republican, have introduced a resolution recognizing the importance of bourbon to the Bluegrass State.
Bourbon was a $2 billion dollar industry in 2010. Ninety-five percent of the world’s bourbon comes from Kentucky and the industry employs some 9,000 Kentuckians.
Six of Kentucky’s eight members of Congress are millionaires, and an analysis of financial disclosure reports filed last year also shows a Kentucky U.S. Senator and Congressman rank in the top 50 of most wealthy lawmakers.
Kentucky is far from alone when it comes to states with wealthy members of Congress. In fact, more than half of the U.S. Congressmen and Senators made the latest list of millionaires, the first time that has ever happened.
The analysis by the nonprofit Center of Responsive Politics shows that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth are the wealthiest lawmakers in Kentucky. Records show McConnell has a net worth of $22.8 million; Yarmuth has $21.2 million.
Nationwide, McConnell ranks as the 37th wealthiest member of Congress, with Yarmuth 41st.
Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers, and Thomas Massie also made the list of millionaires. That leaves Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Andy Barr as the only members of Kentucky’s delegation not on the list.
Kentucky’s only Democratic member of Congress will have a challenger next year.
Michael Macfarlane is a Louisville urologist and a Republican who is vehemently opposed to the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” Saying the new health law will negatively impact Kentucky jobs and small businesses, Macfarlane announced he will challenge incumbent Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth during the 2014 election cycle.
According to the Courier-Journal, the 60-year-old Macfarlane has lived in Louisville since 1992 and has practiced at Jewish Hospital, Norton Healthcare, and Baptist East Hospital.
The 65-year-old Yarmuth has represented Kentucky’s Third House District since 2007, and currently stands as the only Democratic member of Kentucky’s congressional delegation.
In a speech to the nation Tuesday, President Obama will make his case for a U.S. military strike on Syria. Regardless of what the president says, some members of Kentucky’s federal delegation already have their minds made up.
Republican Congressman Thomas Massie says he will vote against any resolution authorizing military force against Syria for its government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. For one thing, Massie says he’s uncomfortable with the language in the president’s proposal.
"It's not limited geographically, it's not limited by type of engagement, and it's not limited by who we can engage, not just the Syrians," contends Massie.
Massie contends the civil war in Syria is not a matter of U.S. national security. Massie is joined by Congressman Ed Whitfield as solid “no” votes. U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and Andy Barr, all GOP members, are still contemplating.
(From right) U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-KY, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, and Congressman Thomas Massie, R-KY, testify in favor of an industrial hemp bill up for consideration in the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee.
After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.
Agriculture Commission James Comer—the leading proponent of industrial hemp in Kentucky—recruited U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth to speak in favor of the bill at the committee, as well as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. But the bill has opposition from many law enforcement agencies, including the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE, a federally-funded program.
The crop could create jobs in Kentucky in agriculture and other industries through hemp's use as a strong material, said Comer, a Republican. The legislative approved in committee Monday, Senate Bill 50, is Comer's chief legislative priority.
Kentucky Third District Congressman John Yarmuth says President Obama delivered a very aspirational speech Monday after his second inauguration. He says he was most impressed with Obama saying the most important question to ask is the responsibility of the federal government.
Yarmuth says gun control, climate change and immigration are all issues that must be addressed and he's expecting more details in the State of the Union speech. Yarmuth said there was a lot of excitement in the crowd with history being made and the atmosphere was much more festive than it was four years ago.
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell issued a statement following the President's speech saying Obama's second term "represents a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day, especially the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt."
Kentucky second district Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie says he thinks preventing other tragedies like the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut can best be accomplished by focusing on mental health issues. The Bowling Green Republican favors that approach instead of what he calls "infringing on the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens."
Guthrie's House Committee on Education and the Workforce will be looking into school safety and he says he plans to get input from Kentucky education officials.
Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, on the other hand, says he fully supports all of President Obama's proposals to end gun violence. The only Democrat in Kentucky's Congressional delegation is co-sponsoring a bill to ban high capacity gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.