politics

NPR

Earlier this week President Donald Trump released a blueprint for changes he’d like to make to the country’s tax code. Though specifics are still unclear, under one portion of the new plan, corporations–including Kentucky’s most profitable companies—would get a tax break.

Trump’s proposal would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, reducing tax revenue into federal coffers by an estimated $2 trillion over 10 years, according to the Tax Foundation, a D.C.-based think tank.

Tyler Houlton, director of federal affairs at libertarian-leaning Americans for Prosperity, said the move would spur economic growth.

Rogerd/WikimediaCommons

Indiana state lawmakers have returned to their districts after adjourning the 2017 General Assembly early Saturday.

The Republican-led legislature met a goal set by GOP leaders to pass an ambitious plan to improve Indiana’s roads and bridges.

Indiana Public Broadcasting Statehouse reporter Brandon Smith said the plan will eventually raise $1.2 billion annually through an increase in the fuel tax and motor vehicle fees.

Coal-State Lawmakers Push To Extend Retired Miners’ Benefits

Apr 24, 2017
Creative Commons

Lawmakers from coal-mining states are pushing to extend health benefits for more than 22,000 retired miners and widows whose medical coverage is set to expire at the end of April.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and other coal-state Democrats threatened to shut down the government over the issue in December, but they retreated after winning a four-month extension that preserves benefits through April 30.

As lawmakers return to the Capitol following a two-week recess, Manchin says the time for extensions is over.

“We will use every vehicle we can, every pathway we can, to make sure we do not leave here … until we have our miners protected,” he said in a speech on the Senate floor before the break.

Kentucky Democrats Hire Sanders' Alum as Party Director

Apr 21, 2017
Twitter

The Kentucky Democratic Party has hired a former team leader of Bernie Sanders presidential campaign as its new executive director.

The party announced Mary Nishimuta of Frankfort as the new executive director on Friday. She will serve under state party chairwoman Sannie Overly, a state representative from Paris.

Nishimuta was a national team leader for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and was a delegate for him to the Democratic National Convention. Sanders narrowly lost Kentucky's Democratic presidential primary to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote.

A graduate of Georgia Tech, Nishimuta has worked for various Fortune 500 companies and is the co-owner of the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe in Frankfort. She said her goal is to build a strong party in all of Kentucky's 120 counties.

J. Tyler Franklin

Jim Carroll started working for Kentucky’s state parks system in 1978 making $780 a month.

“So I knew the pay wasn’t good but I knew that it was a place where you could advance over time,” Carroll said. “It was stable, and retirement was part of that.”

Carroll later worked in the tourism cabinet and retired in 2009. Since then, he’s organized a group of concerned state pensioners called Kentucky Government Retirees.

Carroll draws a monthly pension from the retirement system for most of Kentucky’s state workers, Kentucky Retirement Systems. Depending how you measure it, KRS has one of the lowest funding levels in the nation.

Kentucky's House Speaker Appoints Adoption Task Force

Apr 19, 2017
LRC Public Information

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers will meet over the summer to craft legislation aimed at overhauling the state's adoption and foster care system.

Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover appointed the committee on Wednesday. It will be led by Democratic state Rep. Joni Jenkins of Louisville and House Republican caucus chairman David Meade of Stanford.

Specifically, the committee will be looking at how to shorten the adoption process and make it less expensive.

J. Tyler Franklin

Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will headline a Louisville event aimed at helping re-energize Kentucky's Democratic Party.

The independent senator from Vermont will be joined by Democratic national chairman Tom Perez at Tuesday night's event at the Louisville Palace.

Their appearance is part of a national tour called "Come Together and Fight Back." They're promoting an agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, providing pay equity for women, rebuilding roads and bridges, passing immigration reform and making public colleges tuition-free.

YouTube

Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville has announced he will run for re-election in 2018. Yarmuth is the lone Democrat among Kentucky’s U.S. representatives and senators and has held his seat since 2007.

In a statement, Yarmuth said that he was invigorated by those speaking out against President Donald Trump.

“The current Administration has shown dangerous incompetence in pursuit of a reckless ideology, and the Congressional majority has, by and large, been complicit,” Yarmuth said. “Impassioned individuals of all stripes, here in Louisville and in communities nationwide, have been a true inspiration, speaking out at a volume we haven’t heard in generations.”

David Brinkley

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman thinks lawmakers will need to have a greater say in any future U.S. military action in Syria.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie said it remains to be seen if the Syrian regime will change its behavior after last week’s U.S. missile attack on an airfield. His comments come as questions are raised over the role Congress should play in approving the kinds of strikes carried out

“And I actually do think the president had the authority to do what he did the other day, but I think if we’re going to engage and move forward, it needs to have Congressional authorization,” Rep. Guthrie said. “I said that when President Obama was president, and I’ll say it now.”

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

J. Tyler Franklin

On the last day of the legislative session, Gov. Matt Bevin walked up to the state Senate and thanked lawmakers for their work — which was for the most part, in lock-step with his agenda.

“This has been a transformative session,” Bevin said. “Kentucky is better for it. We’ve put seeds in the ground that are going to germinate over time. And as we get older and our kids and grandkids grow up, we’ll be able to look back on the 2017 session and be amazed at the things you’ve set in motion.”

Lawmakers transformed the legal landscape of Kentucky during this year’s General Assembly.

AP Interview: McConnell Warns Republicans On Health Bill

Mar 22, 2017
Abbey Oldham

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned fellow Republicans Tuesday of political consequences if they oppose health care legislation coming up for a vote in the House this week.

“I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we’ve made to the American people for almost 10 years now” to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Kentucky Republican told Associated Press reporters and editors in an interview.

“I think the American people would be deeply disappointed that we were prevented from keeping our commitment by Republicans who in the end, in effect, voted for the status quo.”

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL News

President Donald Trump will host a rally at Freedom Hall in Louisville Monday.

The event comes as the White House continues to pitch the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

A Gallup poll released over the weekend shows the president’s approval rating hitting a new low. According to the poll of 1,500 adults across the country, 37 percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president compared to 58 percent who disapprove.

Concerns over the repeal and replace plan have mounted after the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 24 million people would lose health coverage over the next decade under the proposal.

J. Tyler Franklin

With the General Assembly on break for a 10-day “veto period,” Gov. Matt Bevin has begun signing a flurry of bills into law.

Among new laws that will take effect July 1 are a requirement that malpractice claims be evaluated by a “medical review panel” before they head to court; legislation clarifying that religious expression is allowed in public schools; and a measure allowing veterans who meet certain criteria to obtain teaching certificates without taking a test.

Bevin has signed 24 bills into law so far this year, 11 of which were approved Thursday.

Here are some of the new laws:

J. Tyler Franklin

State lawmakers are expected to consider a flurry of legislation over the next days as time runs out on this year’s General Assembly.

Bills dealing with charter schools, reducing criminal recidivism and new driver’s license security requirements are among the weightiest pieces of legislation scheduled to be taken up.

Legislators will also consider a measure that would base funding for state universities and technical colleges on areas such as graduation rates and numbers of degrees or credit hours earned.

Lawmakers will meet Tuesday and Wednesday before a designated 10-day break for the governor to veto legislation. Then on March 29 and 30, the legislature will have the opportunity to override vetoes or try and pass more bills.

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