Political news

Former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning Suffers Stroke

Oct 23, 2016
Emil Moffatt

The family of former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning says he suffered a stroke last week but is out of intensive care.

Bunning was stricken Tuesday at his home in Southgate. The family said Friday he was out of intensive care and in transitional care.

Bunning, a former major league pitcher and hall-of-famer, turns 85 on Sunday. The National Baseball Hall of Fame website said Bunning's perfect game in 1964 was the first in the National League in the 20th century. He played from 1955 to 1971, mostly with Detroit and Philadelphia.

Rick Robinson, who worked for Bunning when he served in Congress before he was elected senator, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Bunning has been in good spirits and even watching the baseball playoffs.

Bunning spent six terms in the U.S. House and two in the Senate.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate says the state’s economy would get a major boost from an infrastructure overhaul. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray spoke to students Friday at Western Kentucky University.

Gray said if nothing is done by the year 2020 it will take a trillion dollars to fix the nation’s infrastructure problems. The Barren County native cited a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that gave Kentucky’s infrastructure a grade of C. Gray said lawmakers have to address the declining health of the nation’s roads, bridges and other modes of transportation first.

“What I would do is create a national infrastructure act, a bill, and I would be a champion for infrastructure and through that we will examine the needs and we will prioritize those needs and we will get the projects done,” Gray said.


The report from the ASCE gives the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of D+.

J. Tyler Franklin

A judge has denied Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to vacate a ruling against the governor’s overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

The governor’s office requested the modification earlier this week, saying that the court had misinterpreted facts in the case and made a “manifest error of law” in its legal analysis.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled last month that Bevin didn’t have the authority to abolish the U of L board because trustees couldn’t be removed without cause. On Friday, Shepherd ruled that “there is no reason to re-open this case, or to delay its finality, with additional arguments.”

Bevin argued that he didn’t “remove” board members but instead abolished the board in its entirety, which the governor says he had the authority to do.

In the decision from Friday, Shepherd once again ruled that abolishing the board amounted to removing its members.

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.

Bevin Asks Judge to Reconsider U of L Board Ruling

Oct 19, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Governor Matt Bevin is asking a state judge to reverse himself.

Attorneys for Bevin asked Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd Wednesday to reverse his ruling last month banning the governor from abolishing and replacing the University of Louisville board of trustees.

Attorney Stephen Pitt says Shepherd incorrectly summarized Bevin's arguments and used inaccurate interpretations of prior court rulings to form his opinion.

Lawyers for Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said Shepherd's decision is correct and does not need to be changed.

Shepherd said he would consider the arguments and issue a ruling soon.

When he does, it will give both sides an extra 30 days to file an appeal, which would delay a final ruling in the case.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. It’s the last chance either candidate will have to make a closing argument before tens of millions of voters.

It follows yet another unprecedented week in the campaign, in which Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, predicting that it will be stolen from him through media bias and massive voter fraud.

Clinton has a lead in the polls nationally and her battleground map of opportunities appears to be growing. The Clinton campaign is even talking about making an aggressive play for Arizona.

Here are four things to watch for as the two candidates meet in Las Vegas.

Creative Commons

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth is calling on Gov. Matt Bevin to withdraw his request for a Medicaid waiver, saying that the federal government will never approve it.

Bevin has applied for the waiver to allow Kentucky to charge monthly premiums to Medicaid recipients earning more than $11,880 a year and remove vision and dental coverage, among other changes.

The proposal also includes a ‘rewards’ account that would allow people to earn vision or dental benefits by doing things like volunteering, applying for jobs or earning a GED.

Yarmuth says he’s communicated with officials at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services and they told him the waiver would not be approved as-is.

J. Tyler Franklin

Two Democratic legislators have filed a bill to strengthen a law that regulates life insurance policies in Kentucky.

Life insurance companies are already required to regularly check if policyholders have died and notify family or loved ones named in the policy, but a court ruling made the law only apply to policies made in 2012 or later.

The new bill would make the law retroactive.

Forest Hills Rep. Chris Harris and Louisville Rep. Darryl Owens announced the bill Thursday.

“We owe every resident of Kentucky the security to know when they buy an insurance policy that the policy will go where it belongs, to the beneficiaries,” Harris said in a statement. “Not years later, but within a reasonable time following the death of a policyholders.”

“Kentuckians deserve strong government regulations and policies to protect them from harmful, unfair practices that pad the profits of big insurance companies at their expense,” Owens said.

The Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act requires life insurance companies to regularly compare life insurance policies with the Social Security Administration’s “Death Master File” and make a good faith effort to contact beneficiaries.

After the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that the law didn’t apply retroactively, former Gov. Steve Beshear appealed the decision. Three days before it was scheduled to be heard by the state Supreme Court, Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration dropped the case.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, who unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the case, said the proposed legislation “fights for the people.”

Michael Conroy/AP

There has been a lot of talk about how the explosive 2005 video of Donald Trump making vulgar comments about women may drag down Republican Senate candidates. But so far, it's not a game changer in Indiana. Trump is still favored to win the reliably red state, so that means both contenders for the open Senate seat are fighting over Trump supporters. That's an awkward spot for former Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democrat, who has been panned as a Washington insider during this outsider election year.

When Democrats recruited Bayh to jump into the Indiana Senate race in July, they thought it would be an easy win. But in three months, Bayh's commanding double-digit lead has shriveled to a virtual tie against Republican Rep. Todd Young. That's in large part because of the barrage of criticism Bayh is weathering for making a home — and making lots of money — in Washington, D.C., since leaving the Senate.

KY Transportation Cabinet

The federal government has denied Kentucky’s request for more time to update its drivers’ licenses, potentially forcing residents to use passports to board domestic flights by 2018.

Starting in January, Kentuckians cannot use their drivers’ licenses or ID cards to enter military bases or nuclear power plants.

The denial does not affect offices of the Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs and court houses. If Kentucky is still out of compliance by January 2018, Kentucky drivers’ licenses will not be accepted to board domestic flights.

Congress imposed the new ID requirements, called Real ID, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Kentucky legislature passed a law earlier this year at the request of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to bring the state into compliance. But Bevin then changed his mind and vetoed the law, saying it was “rushed.”

21c Hotel

The Republican Party of Kentucky says a super PAC is inappropriately supporting Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray because one of the organization’s leaders benefited from a city development initiative during Gray’s time as mayor of Lexington.

Kentucky Moving Forward released its first television ad criticizing Gray’s opponent, first term Sen. Rand Paul, on Tuesday. The commercial features a clip of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump saying that Paul “shouldn’t even be on this stage” during a debate earlier this year and criticizes Paul for having a $300,000 campaign debt.

The treasurer of the organization is Steve Wilson who is also the co-founder and CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, which opened a hotel in downtown Lexington earlier this year. The company received a $6 million Housing and Urban Development loan and a $1 million loan from the city, both of which had to be approved by the Lexington City Council.

J. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray has launched a TV commercial attacking Republican Sen. Rand Paul's foreign policy record about a month before Election Day.

The ad features high profile Republicans criticizing Paul during his failed presidential run.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is one of the figures shown criticizing Paul’s foreign policy record in the ad saying, “Rand Paul is a disaster on military and defense.” The commercial also includes cuts of Arizona Sen. John McCain saying, "He simply does not have an understanding about the threats of United States national security."

Paul did propose defense spending cuts in 2011, but in 2015 proposed increasing defense spending by $190 billion over two years.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Fox News commentator Bill O’ Reilly are also shown criticizing Paul during his presidential run.

Paul is at the end of his first six-year term in the Senate. Gray was elected to a second term as the mayor of Lexington in 2014.

Gray’s campaign is spending $325,000 to air the commercial across the state.

Kelsey Cooper, communications director for Paul’s campaign, said the claims in the ad are false and that Gray is a “desperate, typical politician.”

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Donald Trump declared "the shackles have been taken off me" Tuesday morning on Twitter.

That has been apparent since Sunday night, when he held a briefing before his second debate with Hillary Clinton alongside women who say they were sexually assaulted by former President Bill Clinton. He then proceeded to seat those women in the audience at the debate and confront Hillary Clinton with their allegations on stage.

This is Trump's response to the leaked videotape showing him using vulgar language to describe women and their bodies, and even bragging about groping and kissing them without consent.

Trump has apologized, but on the campaign trail he doesn't sound humbled.

Want to Vote in November? Get Registered Tuesday

Oct 11, 2016
Creative Commons

If you want to vote in November's election, the deadline to register is here.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is holding an event in Louisville with the League of Women Voters on Tuesday to mark the voter registration deadline. Grimes and other elected officials will be at the league's headquarters, where Grimes announced a year ago that Kentucky would allow voters to register online.

Grimes said in a statement that since the online registration portal opened, almost 90,000 people have registered to vote.

Kentuckians can use GoVoteKY.com to register or update their registration. People must be registered by Tuesday to vote in the general election on Nov. 8.

Matt Rourke/AP

After a weekend where Indiana Gov. Mike Pence strongly rebuked running mate Donald Trump and refused to campaign for him — and after a debate where Trump undercut a Pence policy proposal on Syria — Pence made the cable news rounds Monday morning to praise Trump.

The appearances dispelled rumors that Pence was "holding his options open," as the Indianapolis Star put it, after more than two dozen Republican officeholders urged Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

"It's absolutely false to suggest that at any point we considered dropping off this ticket," Pence told CNN. "It's the greatest honor of my life to be nominated by my party to be the next vice president of the United States of America."

Pence told the network that he was "offended" and "couldn't defend" the leaked 2005 video of Trump recounting groping women. "I think last night he showed his heart to the American people. He said he apologized to his family, apologized to the American people, that he was embarrassed by it, and then he moved on," said Pence. "He said that's not something that he's done."