politics

Pence to Visit Louisville to Promote Health Plan

Mar 9, 2017
Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday as he tries to make the case for repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama's health care law.

Pence is set to appear with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin at the event in the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has been a critic of the health care legislation backed by President Donald Trump and Pence.

Pence was in Ohio and Wisconsin last week in support of the repeal.

Jonese Franklin

UPDATE: President Donald Trump will not be coming to Kentucky this weekend, despite earlier reports saying he would.

Trump’s travel plans for the weekend have not yet been finalized, according to a White House official, but there aren’t plans to come to Louisville despite earlier reports that the Federal Aviation Administration had issued a “VIP Movement Notification” for Louisville — an alert that has preceded previous Trump visits across the country.

Elena Elisseeva/123rf Stock Photo

What supporters call a “Freedom of Religious Expression” bill is before Kentucky House members and likely to get a vote this week. The bill already won overwhelming approval in the Senate. 

Senate Bill 17 spells out permission for school students to voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints In school assignments or activities.

Elizabethtown Representative Tim Moore carried the bill in the House Education Committee. “Students have the same religious liberty to express their viewpoint at school that they do anywhere else. That doesn’t infringe on anyone. That just allows each individual to express their viewpoint and to be people of faith wherever they go," Moore said.

Stephen George

After President Donald Trump cited Gov. Matt Bevin’s claim that the Affordable Care Act is “unsustainable and collapsing” in Kentucky during his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear delivered the official Democratic response: Don’t dismantle Obamacare.

“You and your Republican allies in Congress seem determined to rip affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans who most need it,” Beshear said during his speech, which was broadcast from a diner in Lexington.

“Does the Affordable Care Act need some repairs? Sure it does,” Beshear said. “But so far, every Republican idea to replace the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of Americans covered, despite your promises to the contrary.”

Mitch McConnell Interrupted as Trump Protests Continue

Feb 23, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Two protesters interrupted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's speech Thursday before a suit-and-tie crowd at a local chamber of commerce luncheon in northern Kentucky to demand he speak with them.

McConnell has made three days of public appearances in Kentucky that required attendees to have tickets. Both protesters, who did not identify themselves, were quickly escorted out of the room. McConnell quipped, "I see we're having multiple speakers today," before continuing his speech.

Afterward, McConnell told reporters he is listening to what the protesters have to say, but he said they have a fundamental disagreement. He defended their right to protest.

Hundreds of protesters have greeted McConnell this week. Many, including 35-year-old Steve Felix of Highland Heights, held signs demanding Republicans back off plans to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act. McConnell vowed Congress would repeal the law "this year."

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Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s been impressed with Trump’s picks for cabinet positions and is encouraged by the administration’s pledge to cut federal regulations.

Bevin took part in a panel discussion Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC in Washington.

He also touted his own initiative to cut bureaucratic red tape in Frankfort.

“We’ve pledged to cutting 30 percent of all the red tape in Kentucky in the next three years,” Bevin said. “We have 130,000 rules. Pretty confident that we can govern everybody with 90-something-thousand.”

Ryland Barton

Opponents flooded a town hall event held by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Mt. Sterling early Wednesday morning. The group booed, shouted down and at times hissed at Kentucky’s 6th district congressman over his stances on cutting corporate taxes, repealing the Affordable Care Act and scaling back the Environmental Protection Agency.

The group also criticized Barr for not holding a town hall event in the largest city in Barr’s district — Lexington.

“If he’s off all week, why can’t he have more and have them in some larger towns,” asked Jessie Bollinger, a social worker from Lexington after the event. “I think he’s trying to avoid our voices. Because our voices were pretty strong here in this little small courtroom.”

Kentucky LRC

People convicted of crimes could no longer be automatically denied an occupational license issued by the state under sweeping reforms proposed by Republican leaders.

Senate Bill 120 says a hiring or licensing authority cannot disqualify a person solely because of a criminal conviction, unless the board makes a connection between the conviction and the license being sought. The bill would also give the person the right to a formal hearing and the ability to appeal the decision to the circuit court.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Adam Theo

A growing movement to amend the U.S. Constitution is making its way to Kentucky.  A group called Convention of States will be in Frankfort Tuesday to lobby members of the General Assembly. 

State Representative Jim DeCesare has filed a resolution on the group’s behalf that calls for a national convention under Article 5 of the Constitution. 

The Warren County Republican says the resolution calls for two amendments.  One would require federal budgets to be balanced, and the other would give states sovereignty from federal mandates.

Thinkstock

A bill that would give hate crime protections to police officers and emergency responders has passed the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The vote on the so-called “blue lives matter” bill Monday evening sparked a lengthy debate and drew protesters to the House gallery. At one point activists shouted down the proceedings and marched out, escorted by state police.

Chanelle Helm, with Louisville’s Black Lives Matter chapter, called the legislation a racist act of white Republican representatives in the legislature.

David Osbourne

Twenty-eight years ago, as a Daviess County sheriff’s deputy, David Osbourne went to the home of Darrell Perry to serve an eviction notice.  Perry had never been on the radar of local police, so Osbourne thought serving him with papers would be routine business.

“We didn’t get in an argument inside the house.  He didn’t even raise his voice.  He just said, ‘Why are they doing this to me,'" Osbourne recalled.  "We got back outside by the driveway.  My cruiser was parked behind his car.  I walked to my cruiser.  I didn’t watch him, and the next thing I knew I heard the first shot go off.”

Osbourne was struck four times, including in his back.  The bullet nicked his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down.  The six-foot, 250-pound shooter then jumped on top of Osbourne.

Jacob Ryan

Gov. Matt Bevin delivered his second State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night. It marked the first time in state history a Republican governor of Kentucky addressed a joint session of a Republican-led legislature.

“It’s good to be here in Speaker Hoover’s House,” Bevin said at the beginning of his speech, referring to House Speaker Jeff Hoover, who now presides over the chamber after Republicans secured a majority of seats in the chamber for the first time since 1921.

Bevin touted recent legislation quickly passed last month by the Republican-dominated legislature, including a pair of anti-abortion bills, ‘right-to-work’ legislation and the repeal of higher wages for workers on state construction projects.

Anne Meadows/Creative Commons

U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, whose district includes Northern and Northeastern Kentucky, has introduced a one-sentence resolution to abolish the Department of Education.

“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018,” is the extent of Massie’s bill.

The proposal came the same day as the confirmation of President Trump’s outsider pick for secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, a charter school and voucher advocate with little experience dealing with traditional public schools.

In an emailed statement about the bill, Massie said that “neither Congress nor the President should have constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn.”

Roxanne Scott

Hundreds of people gathered downtown Louisville Tuesday outside the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to voice their opposition to the executive orders signed by President Donald Trump regarding refugees and immigrants.

Some also complain that McConnell is not listening to their concerns. McConnell told ABC last weekend that he doesn’t want to make a blanket criticism of the policy, but the government should be careful going forward.

I went to the “No Ban! No Wall!” rally site outside the federal courthouse to talk to participants and some passers-by.

Kentucky Governor to Stump for Gillespie in Virginia Race

Jan 31, 2017
WFPL

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is planning a visit to Virginia to help Republican Ed Gillespie's bid for governor.

Gillespie's campaign announced Tuesday that the two will campaign together in Lynchburg and Staunton on Feb. 9.

Bevin joins a growing list of current and former GOP governors supporting Gillespie. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee is the party establishment's favorite in a four-way GOP primary contest.

The governor's race in Virginia is among the most closely watched contests in the country this year. Liberal groups have vowed to make it a referendum on President Donald Trump's first year in office.

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