Political news

Gov. Steve Beshear has vetoed part of a bill that appropriates money from the state’s settlement with tobacco companies.

The bill had set aside money to fill an estimated $26.6 million shortfall to fund agriculture, lung cancer research and early childhood programs.

The governor deleted the line that would have appropriated $26.6 million, saying that the shortfall has grown to $37 million.

“Taking this action now provides a solution to this late-breaking problem and avoids budget cuts to the very same programs for which the General Assembly, in this bill, provides additional funding for next year,” Beshear said in his veto statement.

The bill restores funds to several programs that are funded by a multi-state, multi-million dollar settlement stemming from a 1998 lawsuit against tobacco companies. Additional money for the programs comes from a smaller settlement Attorney General Jack Conway secured from tobacco companies last year.

Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky lieutenant governor candidate Sannie Overly is scheduled to give a deposition this month in a sexual harassment case against a former lawmaker and is asking that her testimony be sealed.

The Democratic state representative from Paris is scheduled to be deposed April 13 by attorney Thomas Clay. Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to consider sealing the deposition.

Clay told the Lexington Herald-Leader he wants to ask Overly about any sexual harassment she might have experienced in the legislature.

Clay represents two women who have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis. Arnold has denied any wrongdoing.

Overly did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

She is the running mate of Jack Conway, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in May's primary.

Welcome to the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican Rand Paul officially entered the race Tuesday, and was greeted with a TV ad calling him "wrong and dangerous" on Iran. The money behind the ad is secret.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House Tuesday on his website. The 52-year-old former ophthalmologist's libertarian roots sets him apart from the expansive field of Republican hopefuls, most notably in foreign policy and issues like defense spending.

His father Ron Paul, also a physician, gained notoriety in the late-1980s as a presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, but there are signs the younger Paul is moving more mainstream Republican.

Paul's Kentucky Announcement a Nod to Dual Campaigns

Apr 7, 2015

Rand Paul's decision to announce his presidential campaign in Kentucky highlights his decision to also run for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat.

Paul chose to announce his candidacy not in an early primary state or even his hometown of Bowling Green. He chose Louisville, the largest media market in a state that only has eight electoral votes, is reliably Republican in federal elections and is not a factor in the chaotic presidential primaries.

Western Kentucky University political science professor Scott Lasley said Paul's campaign will often keep him out of state and his event in Louisville helps him emphasize Kentucky. A spokesman for Paul's campaign said the decision to announce in Kentucky was to honor the friends and family who helped him get to this point.

Kicking off his presidential campaign in Louisville, Senator Rand Paul told supporters that "we've come to take our country back." 

The Bowling Green Republican Tuesday formally declared his White House bid.  A tea party favorite and frequent contrarian against his party's establishment, Paul is promising to continue his approach to politics. 

During his speech, Paul pledged to scrap "the Washington machine that gobbles up our freedoms." He said his message of liberty is for all Americans.

“Whether you wear a suit, a uniform or overalls. Whether you’re white or black or rich or poor," Paul insisted.  "In order to restore America, one thing is for certain, though: we cannot, we must not dilute our message or give up on our principles.”

Paul becomes just the second major candidate to declare a presidential bid, but he could face as many as 20 rivals for the GOP nomination.  Each is trying to win the right to go head-to-head with Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has made it official.  Hours before a planned announcement at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, the Bowling Green Republican announced on his website Tuesday morning that he is seeking the GOP nomination for president.

"I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government," Paul said in a statement online.

Paul is continuing a family tradition by seeking the presidency.  His father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012.

Rand Paul becomes the second Republican to formally announce a 2016 bid for the White House.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has vetoed portions of a state spending bill that he says will prevent budget cuts to a variety of state programs.

Beshear vetoed portions of House Bill 510, whose chief purpose was to spend an extra $68 million the state received in a settlement with tobacco companies. Lawmakers spent $23.5 million of that money on preschool, agriculture development and health care programs, and they spent $26.6 million to plug an estimated deficit.

But state budget officials now say the deficit has grown to $37.8 million. The original bill called for automatic budget cuts to fix the budget if that happened. Beshear on Monday vetoed a portion of the bill to prevent those automatic budget cuts. Instead, Beshear said his actions ensure the affected programs will have access to some of the extra money.

Sen. Rand Paul is poised to launch a presidential bid in Louisville Tuesday morning.

Political experts say the campaign of Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator  will likely be very different than any other hopeful for the Republican nomination in 2016. The main difference: Paul has set his sights on liberal voters.

For the past several months, Paul has been touring the country holding town hall-style meetings, mostly in inner cities.

Tuesday, an eye surgeon from Bowling Green is likely to step onto the biggest stage in politics.  U.S. Senator Rand Paul is expected to announce his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. 

In November 2010, Kentucky voters sent Paul to Washington in the midst of a national Tea Party movement. 

"I have a message, a message from the people of Kentucky, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words," Paul exclaimed in his election night victory speech.  "We've come to take our government back!"

Now, Paul is seeking a bigger platform for his ideas.  After more than a year of fundraising and crisscrossing early-voting states, the freshman senator is about to make his bid for the White House official. 

For a lot of conservatives in Bowling Green, it’s a proud moment.  Gayla Warner has known Paul and his family for almost two decades.  Besides the person, she likes what he stands for politically.

”The first thing that comes to mind is his dedication to make our federal government smaller, and with that is lowering taxes, and reducing spending," says Warner.

Several years ago, she couldn’t have imagined her neighbor running for the highest office in the land.

"Now that he has entered the realm of politics, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched at all to me," she adds.

Bowling Green eye doctor Robert Duvall knows Paul personally and professionally.

”As eye care providers, I can tell you he’s always been a man of impeccable integrity.  I’ve always trusted him with patients, but I also trust him to lead the country," states Duvall.  "He’s smart, determined, and willing to make tough decisions.”  

College Republicans from WKU gathered at a local coffee shop are nearly unanimous in their support of Paul, who polls best among youth voters.  Senior Zach Imel says when it comes to technology, Paul gets it.

”He’s very good with social media and getting his message out to where the youth are," explains Imel.  "Twitter, Facebook, and he’s even on Snapchat.  I think that’s very cool.”

But senior Meghan McGuirk isn’t so much a Rand fan.

”I think his attempt to run for both the Senate primary and the presidential primary indicates he’s considering more his own career, in my eyes, than what would be best for the people of this state or the United States," she suggests.

Meghan thinks Paul’s efforts to run for two offices simultaneously creates difficulties for the state Republican party.  She worries moving Kentucky’s presidential primary to a caucus will limit the number of people who are able to vote.