politics

Stumbo Calls Meeting of House to Discuss Pension System

22 hours ago
Kentukcy LRC

Kentucky's Speaker of the House has called a meeting of all state representatives to discuss the beleaguered public pension system.

An email to legislative assistants obtained by The Associated Press shows Speaker Greg Stumbo said all House members "are invited and encouraged to attend" a meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday in the House chambers. The email says members will "discuss several complex issues" and is signed by Stumbo.

Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson confirmed the meeting and said the main focus will be to discuss the state retirement system in light of recent low investment returns. Public pension systems for teachers and state workers have an estimated combined debt of more than $30 billion, making it one of the worst funded pension systems in the country.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Reports out Thursday night reveal yet another principal of the Trump campaign in trouble.

Newly appointed CEO Stephen K. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence against his second wife, several news outlets reported. The charges were eventually dropped, and Bannon pleaded "not guilty."

The New York Times noted that, according to the police report of the incident, there were "allegations that he threatened his then wife, the accuser, with retribution if she testified in the criminal case. ... "

The New York Post first reported the news. NPR has not independently confirmed the charges, but Politico posted the full police report here.

Here's part of Politico's write-up:

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

Clinton and her senior campaign aides say that's absurd. They have pointed repeatedly to what they call the swiftly growing number of interviews she has granted. In late May, for example, Clinton told CNN's Jake Tapper she had already done nearly 300 interviews. Last Sunday, campaign manager Robbie Mook told CBS's John Dickerson, "She's been in more than 300 interviews with reporters this year alone."

A review by NPR of those numbers suggests those claims by the campaign were at once true and somewhat misleading — some were conducted by unlikely questioners and overall she favored local radio and national TV hits over granting interviews with national reporters covering her on the campaign trail and with print publications.

In preparing an earlier story on Clinton's lack of press conferences, NPR set out to secure a tally of all those interviews from the campaign, as other database searches proved incomplete. In early August, the Clinton campaign agreed to share a tally of all of its interviews from the start of the year through the end of July. NPR sifted through the list, made minor corrections after conferring with the campaign, and analyzed the results.

Gerald Herbert/AP

After signaling that his position on immigration is "to be determined" and that it could "soften," Donald Trump did an amazing thing — what amounts to almost a full about-face on the principal issue that has driven his campaign.

Trump indicated in a town hall with Fox News' Sean Hannity, which aired Wednesday night, that he would be in favor of a path to legalization for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

"No citizenship," he said. But he added, "Let me go a step further — they'll pay back-taxes; they have to pay taxes; there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them."

He continued: "Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me, and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump,' I have it all the time! It's a very, very hard thing."

Ryland Barton

Lexington Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says the Kentucky Farm Bureau should change its policies that oppose same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues.

“I think the Farm Bureau needs to adjust and adapt to the times, and that means adjusting their policies,” Gray said after wading through a crowd of pro-LGBTQ protesters outside the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Ham Breakfast event in Louisville on Thursday morning.

A Democrat, Gray is openly gay and running against Republcian Sen. Rand Paul in his bid for reelection.

The Kentucky Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, has demonstrated outside of the annual event for years, opposing the Farm Bureau’s stances against same-sex marriage, domestic benefits for same-sex couples and abortion.

Jake Ryan

Judy Johnston stood in a small office in a Fern Creek shopping center on Saturday with two Donald Trump campaign yard signs tucked beneath her arm. Her pink fingernail polish popped against the dark blue letters on the sign.

She glanced at her hand and then shook it away. Her nails needed a touch-up.

“I have a lady who does my nails that’s from Vietnam,” she said.

Johnston is a staunch Trump supporter. On Saturday, a group of volunteers opened an office in Fern Creek that’ll serve as an unofficial campaign hub for efforts to bolster support for Trump in Louisville.

The Republican presidential nominee has been sliding of late, with controversial remarks about everything from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to the family of a fallen U.S. soldier catching up to him in the polls.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Is Donald Trump considering wavering on a key campaign promise?

That's what several news reports published over the weekend suggest. And while the Trump campaign issued a statement denying any shift on immigration policy, top surrogates and campaign operatives hinted that a change just might be on its way.

The issue: what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants already living in the United States illegally.

Since he entered the presidential race last year, Trump insisted they would have to be expelled from the country, despite the logistical and humanitarian questions a mass deportation would present.

"You're going to have a deportation force, and you're going to do it humanely," he told MSNBC in November 2015.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both had a second month of strong fundraising in July, the month that they claimed their parties' nominations.

In monthly reports filed Saturday night with the Federal Election Commission, Trump reported raising $36.7 million, his best month of the campaign. The total includes $2 million he contributed in a matching contributions drive.

Hillary For America reported receipts of $52.3 million, more than in any previous month, including her first White House run in 2008. Her campaign has $58.5 million in cash-on-hand, almost exactly $20 million more than Trump.

The campaign claimed $103 million on hand for itself and two joint fundraising committees, the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary Action Fund. The joint committees can use higher contribution limits; contributions are distributed among the campaign and national and state Democratic committees. But the $103 million figure isn't official; the joint committees don't file reports again until Oct. 15.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Just over two months after Paul Manafort was brought on to bring some structure to Donald Trump’s presidential bid, the Washington insider has resigned from the campaign.

In a statement Friday morning, Trump said that Manafort offered his resignation. The candidate said he is “very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process.”

“Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success,” Trump continued.

Manafort had been leading the campaign as chair, but his resignation comes just days after a shakeup at the top of the operation — Trump hired two new top campaign officials, widely seen as a demotion for Manafort.

Vote Buying: Still Happening In Kentucky

Aug 19, 2016
Thinkstock

Three weeks before primary election day in 1987, the fixer crammed cases of beer into the back of his car and threw a party behind his house in eastern Kentucky. His purpose: to lock up the votes of the 30 or so men and women who attended.

Another day, the fixer went looking for a hunting and fishing crony who could be counted on to haul voters to the polls. To seal the deal, the fixer stuck a $50 bill into his pal’s shirt pocket.

As a reporter for The Courier-Journal newspaper, I shadowed the fixer for a month leading up to the May 1987 primary. He asked that I keep his actual identity confidential. He called himself “the mailman.”

“I deliver,” he explained.

Gerald Herbert/AP

In an effort to save his flagging presidential candidacy, and two days after shaking up his campaign, Donald Trump expressed "regret" for sometimes saying the wrong thing and causing "pain."

"Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," Trump said reading from a TelePrompTer at a campaign event Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C. "I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues."

Here's video:

Charles Krupa/AP

Hillary Clinton's increasingly dominant lead in the presidential race is solidifying many Republicans' worst 2016 fears that Donald Trump will cost the party not only the White House but also control of the Senate.

"The bottom is starting to fall out a little earlier than expected," says a top Senate GOP campaign aide who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of the race. "We started off with a very difficult map. No matter what, this was going to be a very difficult year."

The aide says Trump's ailing campaign is an additional drag on the Senate battlefield. The end result, the aide concedes, is a likely Democratic takeover this November.

That candor is widely — if still privately — shared by increasing numbers of Senate GOP campaign operatives who believe that Trump is destined to lose the presidential race and that the Republican Party's short-lived, two-year majority will go with it.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Donald Trump often questions whether Hillary Clinton is honest or trustworthy enough to be president. This week, he took up another line of attack: that Clinton is in failing health.

Claims about Clinton's health have circulated for years but have gained new traction recently, in part thanks to a comment by Trump and questions raised by Fox News host Sean Hannity.

They're adding fuel to an online volley of conspiracy theories saying that Clinton's use of stools and pillows as well as stumbles by the candidate are evidence that she is in poor health. On Wednesday afternoon, a story topping the Drudge Report was headlined "MUST SEE: Photos of Hillary Clinton Propped Up on Pillows." The article is largely a collection of photos showing Clinton sitting at various events with pillows situated behind her lower back.

There is no evidence that Clinton is in poor health. In fact, the Clinton campaign points out that her "stamina and focus" allowed her to endure an 11-hour Benghazi hearing and that Trump drew his own share of criticism after a doctor released a letter saying he would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

Thinkstock

A new poll released Wednesday has good news for Indiana Democrats.

The poll shows Democrat Evan Bayh leading Republican Congressman Todd Young by seven points in the state’s U.S. Senate race.

The Evansville Courier and Press reports Bayh is leading Young 48 percent to 41 percent.

Bayh’s candidacy is especially important to the Democrats nationally in their effort to take control of the Senate.

The Monmouth University poll shows a tight race for governor.

Republican Lieutenant Gov. Eric Holcomb holds a one percentage point lead over Democrat John Gregg.

The poll has a margin of error of nearly five percentage points.

Edelen And Jones’ Political Project Seeks New Ideas, Leaders

Aug 17, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s former state auditor and the host of the state’s most popular sports talk radio show have launched a new nonprofit political organization they say is focused more on generating ideas than electing people to office.

Former Auditor Adam Edelen and Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones formally launched the New Kentucky Project on Tuesday.

The group aims to have chapters in all 120 counties governed by an executive committee. Members will pay $20 annual dues, or $10 for college students. It will focus on education, health care, modernizing the state’s economy and other hot-button political issues in Kentucky.

The group signals the return of Edelen, the former state auditor who was preparing a run for the U.S. Senate before he lost re-election to former Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon.

And it is the first political work for Jones, whose show has become a must-stop for candidates seeking statewide office.

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