4:00 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Kentucky Lawmaker to Be Deposed Over Retaliation Accusations

A Franklin Circuit Court Judge will order depositions in a lawsuit against a Kentucky lawmaker.

Judge Thomas Wingate will order Rep. Will Coursey, a Democrat from Symsonia, to provide a deposition in the suit brought against him by Nicole Cusic.

Cusic is an employee of the Legislative Research Commission who has alleged Coursey and former LRC director Bobby Sherman retaliated against her after she complained to her superiors that Coursey was allegedly behaving inappropriately with female interns.

Coursey has filed a counter-motion. It accuses Cusic of slander and defamation. Attorneys are waiting to see if it will be added to this case.

1:08 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Kentucky State Senate Candidate with History of Charges Leaves Race

Troy Brooks

A candidate for state senate in south central Kentucky has withdrawn from the race less than a week after announcing his bid. 

Troy Brooks had filed to run against Senator Mike Wilson of Bowling Green in the Republican primary. That was last Monday, and by Friday, he had withdrawn from the race.  His past was likely the reason. 

The Daily News first reported that the former attorney, now businessman, was indicted in 2005 on charges of theft and disbarred in Tennessee.  The case arose from the misappropriation of about $185,000 from clients.  Brooks did not return multiple calls from WKU Public Radio.

According to a 2008 judgment from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, Brooks pleaded guilty to four charges of theft over $10,000, while some other charges were dismissed.  Brooks, however, told the newspaper he did not plead guilty and that his record was expunged.  He explained that the charges were not the result of theft, but misunderstandings and disputes over fees. 

“Our Republican Party does not need a hard fought or potentially divisive primary,” Brooks stated in a news release. “I will be supporting Senator Mike Wilson in his re-election efforts.”

9:05 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Former Kentucky Senate President Files to Keep Judicial Job

David Williams serves as a judge for the 40th Judicial Circuit which includes Cumberland, Clinton, and Monroe counties.

Former Senate President David Williams has filed candidacy papers to seek election to the judicial seat Gov. Steve Beshear appointed him to last year.

Williams, a Republican, filed the papers last week.

Beshear, a Democratic, appointed Williams circuit judge in the 40th District of southern Kentucky in October 2012 even though the two had been longtime political rivals.

Williams regularly opposed Beshear's legislative initiatives and challenged him for governor in 2011 in a vitriolic race that reflected an intense dislike for each other.

Beshear has a history of appointing Republicans to more lucrative government positions to get them out of the Legislature. He previously appointed Senate GOP Floor Leader Dan Kelly circuit judge and named Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Charlie Borders to the Public Service Commission.

3:52 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Committee Investigating Harrassment Claims Against Arnold Seeks Legal Analysis

Former Union County Rep. John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador, Kentucky Public Radio

A Kentucky House committee tasked with probing sexual harassment claims against a former  lawmaker has not yet begin investigating, but they plan to.

The five-member panel was formed to study claims against former Union County Rep. John Arnold. They met Thursday morning, and went into a 30-minute closed door session.

Committee chair Rep. Jeff Donohue, a Democrat from Louisville, says the panel’s next step is to obtain a legal analysis from its attorney outlining how it should go forward.

“We need a legal analysis and recommendation in how we can proceed forward regarding this case, and that’s what our attorney’s here for. We had a very frank discussion, and with that being said, we then asked our attorney to do that, and we will have that meeting and discuss that issue.”

Donohue did not know how much the panel’s activities have cost taxpayers since it was formed in August.

Time is running out for the committee to produce its findings and recommendations in time for the next session of the General Assembly, which begins Jan. 7.

1:27 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Special Election in Daviess, Henderson, Union Counties Causing Confusion

An upcoming special election for state representative in the Daviess County region is causing confusion partly due to recent legislative redistricting.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President Amy Jackson told the Messenger-Inquirer  that many people aren't sure whether they can vote in the Dec. 10 election. The chamber is heading up a drive encouraging people to cast ballots.

The Daviess County Clerk's office recently drew new borders in 17 of the 20 local districts and sent out cards to affected voters, but Jackson says there's still confusion about who can vote.

Voters will chose between Republican Suzanne Miles of Owensboro and Democrat Kim Humphrey of Morganfield. They are running to fill the 7th district House seat, formerly held by Democrat John Arnold of Sturgis, who stepped down after being accused of sexual harassment.

The seat covers Union and parts of Daviess and Henderson counties.

4:31 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Turkey Tweet: Lawmaker Removes Message about Pilgrims and Guns

A Kentucky lawmaker has deleted a Thanksgiving Tweet over concerns it may be misinterpreted as a joke about Native American genocide.

In response to comments on gun control made by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kentucky Rep. Brian Linder, a Republican from Dry Ridge, tweeted Friday that “If the Pilgrims had gun control, we wouldn’t have Thanksgiving.”

Linder explained to Kentucky Public Radio that the joke was about gun control preventing pilgrims from hunting turkeys.

“Thanksgiving is, you know, traditionally you have turkey, and so what I meant was you wouldn’t be able to have turkey. I know see that it, I could see where people have misunderstood what I meant.”

Louisville Rep. Reginald Meeks, who is part Cherokee, doesn't believe it. He called Linder’s comments” beyond offensive” and said they represent an ignorance of American history.

2:29 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Guthrie: While Repealing ObamaCare May Not Happen, Major Changes Likely to Come

Rep. Brett Guthrie (right) speaks to a Bowling Green area businessman Friday.
Credit Kevin Willis

Kentucky's Second District Congressman believes the problems with the rollout of Obamacare make it more likely major changes will be made to the law.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie is sponsoring a ten-point bill that includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaking Friday to a gathering of area business leaders, Guthrie said while a repeal isn't likely, the public is getting a glimpse of the problems related to greater government involvement in health care.

Guthrie also said Republicans missed an opportunity to highlight those points when the federal government was shut down.

"I think what would have been better for us, as the government shutdown was happening is not just, ‘let’s repeal Obamacare, and if not the government shuts down.’ Why don’t we say, ‘here’s our alternative to address people in the insurance market that are being priced out of the market without affecting it for everybody else.'”

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1:16 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

U.S. Senate Candidate Grimes Calls for Additional Child Care Tax Breaks

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is calling for additional tax breaks for businesses that provide on-site child care to help working women in a policy statement unveiled on Friday.

Grimes, trying to capitalize on gender issues in her bid to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, also called for pay equity for women and for an increase in the minimum wage, an issue that directly affects more women than men.

Grimes is the Democratic front-runner heading into next May's primary in Kentucky. McConnell, seeking re-election to a sixth term, also has a Republican opponent, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin.

Grimes rolled out the policy statement just days after Republicans tweeted a photo-shopped image of her face superimposed on a woman wearing a snug-fitting "Obama Girl" T-shirt. Grimes labeled that a sexist attack.

4:10 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Expanded Gambling to Again Be Taken Up By Kentucky Lawmakers

A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a pair of bills that will again bring the issue of expanded gaming before the General Assembly.

State Rep. Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, has pre-filed legislation that would place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2014 ballot asking Kentucky voters if they permit "the General Assembly to pass laws authorizing casino gaming?” according to language in BR 108.

Clark's companion gaming bill, BR 109, would establish the Kentucky Gaming Commission, a body comprised of nine members appointed by the governor that would regulate up to eight casinos under the proposed legislation, with an annual operational budget of no more than $5 million.

Out of a total estimated $830 million in gross revenue generated by the casinos, about $286 million of that amount would be collected in state taxes from casinos by the measure, according to an estimate conducted by the Legislative Research Commission.

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8:51 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Casinos May Be Issue Again for Kentucky Legislature

A Louisville Democrat has drafted legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to allow three stand-alone casinos, plus five others at horse tracks.  State Rep. Larry Clark said the proposal could generate needed cash for both state government and the horse tracks.

Gambling proposals have become perennial in the Kentucky Legislature, never garnering enough support to pass.  Gov. Steve Beshear has pressed lawmakers since he took office in 2007 to allow Kentuckians to wager on more than horse races. The Bible-belt state has a longstanding tradition of betting on horses and playing lotteries while barring casinos.

Clark said his proposal could generate $286 million a year in new revenue. If approved by the Legislature, the proposal would then be placed on the ballot for voters to ratify or reject next November.