politics

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Kentuckians were among the hundreds of thousands of people who traveled to Washington D.C. this weekend. Some attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and others were there for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, protesting Trump’s attitudes toward women and minorities.

As the first weekend of the new administration is in the books, I checked in with a couple Kentuckians who traveled to the events for very different reasons.

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Women from across Kentucky are heading to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Women’s March On Washington, scheduled for Saturday, the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Lauren North, a co-organizer of a group of about 1,000 Kentuckians headed to the march, said she’s attending to present the concerns of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community to the new administration, which she says doesn’t have their best interests in mind.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has selected 10 people to serve on the newly reconstructed University of Louisville Board of Trustees after the legislature abolished the previous board and created a new one earlier this year.

The move comes after the school’s accreditation was put on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a result of Bevin’s unilateral overhaul of the board last summer.

Bevin announced by video Friday evening that he had chosen 10 trustees to serve on the new board.

“There is going to be the ability to transition as properly as possible in the days and weeks ahead,” Bevin said.

WKU Public Radio

Workers at unionized companies in Kentucky will be able to stop paying union dues or fees once contracts negotiated between their employers and unions expire.

The so-called “right-to-work” policy signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin last weekend forbids payment of dues as a condition to get or keep a job in Kentucky, though current collective bargaining agreements between unions and companies are still enforceable until they expire.

Bill Londrigan, president of Kentucky’s AFL-CIO, said the new law will have a negative impact on labor organizations and companies once some workers decide they don’t want to pay into the union anymore.

J. Tyler Franklin

At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans moved one step closer to repealing a law they have railed against since the moment it was passed nearly seven years ago.

By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a budget resolution that sets the stage for broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed through a process known as budget reconciliation. The resolution now goes to the House, where leaders are hoping to approve it by the end of the week.

The powerful tool sets up a fast track for repealing large parts of Barack Obama's major domestic achievement; the best guess is that the Senate is still several weeks away from largely repealing Obamacare. But as the process continues, large questions still loom over how — and when – Republicans will replace the healthcare law.

Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear says he will not defend the state if it is sued over a law passed by the state legislature last week banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But Beshear, the Kentucky’s top law enforcement official, said he would defend the state in a lawsuit against another new law requiring abortion doctors to narrate an ultrasound as they perform the procedure on women seeking abortions.

Both laws went into effect over the weekend after Gov. Matt Bevin signed the legislation during a speedy first-week of the newly Republican-led General Assembly.

McConnell Press Office

The Senate is set to hold confirmation hearings starting on Tuesday for several of President-elect Trump's Cabinet choices. Democrats say majority Republicans are jamming the nominees through — nine of them scheduled just this week — and that several of them haven't yet completed or submitted all of the financial disclosure and ethics paperwork required.

It's a big challenge since many of the Trump nominees are wealthy business people with complex financial dealings. The vetting process is complicated because each committee that holds a hearing for nominations has its own set of rules about the information it requires, and each has its own way of making that information public.

J. Tyler Franklin

House Republicans have advanced a bill that would ban mandatory labor union membership in Kentucky.

A House committee approved the bill Wednesday. Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover said lawmakers plan to approve the bill this week.

Hundreds of union workers packed the hallways outside of the committee room, chanting “working people matter” and “suits in there, boots out here.”

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Gov. Matt Bevin has reorganized the state’s agency for public defenders — attorneys who represent those charged with crimes who can’t afford legal representation.

The realignment of the Department for Public Advocacy creates three new trial offices by shifting employees and resources from existing offices in order to reduce travel time for public defenders.

Kentucky Public Advocate Ed Monahan says the revamp will make the agency more efficient in the face of mounting caseloads.

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Hal Heiner, secretary of the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, said a new free college tuition program would help people who have exited the labor force get back to work.

Gov. Matt Bevin created the program by executive order last week after vetoing a similar measure during this year’s legislative session.

The scholarship would be the “last dollar in” for students seeking two-year degrees at schools in Kentucky, paying for the rest of tuition and fee expenses not covered by federal financial aid.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The sponsor of a so-called “religious freedom” bill says it may have to wait until 2018. Laurel County Republican Senator Albert Robinson said the bill would have passed this year had it not been for House Democrats.

The religious freedom bill would prohibit the government from forcing businesses to serve individuals if doing so would violate the business owner’s religious beliefs. Supporters say the bill’s passage is important to protecting an individual’s right to live according to their religious beliefs. Opponents of the bill say it would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kentucky State Government

Republican lawmakers will seek fixes to the state’s ailing pension systems during the upcoming legislative session. And with commanding majorities in both the state House and Senate, they won’t have to listen to Democrats if they don’t want to.

It’s also increasingly likely that Gov. Matt Bevin will call a special legislative session over the summer to address tax reform and pension issues, opening the door for deeper changes to the pension system.

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A Kentucky lawmaker wants to establish a minimum age at which juveniles could be held legally responsible for committing crimes.

The bill would set the minimum age of 11 years old for a criminal offense. Louisville Representative and bill sponsor Darryl Owens said that young children have not fully developed their impulse control or decision making skills, making them unable to fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Ryland Barton

All eight of Kentucky’s electors have cast votes for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, who won the state’s popular vote in a landslide on Election Day.

About 75 anti-Trump protesters gathered on the state Capitol steps Monday morning to show their disapproval of the President-elect and try to get electors to change their votes.

Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore

Anti-Trump demonstrators are planning to protest when Kentucky’s eight presidential electors meet on Monday to cast their Electoral College votes in Frankfort.

The group is part of the December 19 Coalition, an organization trying to get electors promised to Donald Trump on Election Day to become “faithless electors” by switching their votes or not voting at all.

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