10:42 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Book Tour Puts Rand Paul's 'Secret' Weapon on National Stage

Kelley Paul visited the studios of WKU Public Radio for a 2014 interview.
Credit Abbey Oldham

Once described as her husband's secret weapon, Kelley Paul won't be a secret much longer.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's wife of 24 years is heading out for a national book tour this spring, roughly the same time her husband is expected to enter the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. It's a big step for the mother of three, who is used to playing a significant behind-the-scenes role in her husband's political operation.

Kelley Paul says she's "as prepared as you can be" for the pressures of a national campaign and its effect on her family.

She's finishing a speaking tour across Kentucky this week to promote her new book about inspirational women. In April, she has media events and speeches planned for Washington, New York and Memphis, Tennessee.

3:09 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Right-to-Work Fate Appears Sealed in Kentucky General Assembly

All indications from Frankfort suggest Kentucky counties will continue to take the lead on right-to-work measures. 

A statewide right-to-work bill has cleared the Republican-led state Senate.  The measure prevents union membership and the payment of dues as a condition of employment in the public and private sectors.  However, the Democratic-controlled House has declared the bill dead-on-arrival. 

While views on right-to-work fall mostly along party lines in the General Assembly, Republicans and Democrats alike have been embracing ordinances on the county level.  In most cases, the votes have been unanimously. 

Supporters claim the absence of a right-to-work law is an obstacle to economic growth.  Opponents argue the laws are aimed at weakening unions.

Last month, Warren County became the first county in the nation to pass a right-to-work law.  Simpson, Fulton, and Todd counties followed suit, and Hardin County is expected to give final approval of a local measure next week. 

In the meantime, legal opinions differ on whether counties have the authority to pass such measures.  Court challenges are expected.

9:54 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Hopkinsville's Whitney Westerfield May Run for Attorney General

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 1:08 pm

Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield,a Republican from Hopkinsville, might put his name in the currently unopposed race for Kentucky Attorney General. Westerfield said he doesn’t want current candidate Democrat Andy Beshear to be Kentucky’s only option.

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4:53 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Reaction to State of the Commonwealth Positive From Both Sides of the Aisle

Governor Steve Beshear Wednesday night delivered his final State of the Commonwealth address.  House and Senate leaders offered positive comments regarding Beshear's tenure.  

Governor Beshear's eighth State of the Commonwealth Speech ran a little over an hour and was interrupted by applause from legislators more than 35 times.  Beshear spoke about leading Kentucky through a historic recession, as well as achievements in education, and insuring Kentuckians through the state's health care exchange.

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4:50 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Beshear: State of the Commonwealth Is Good and Getting Better

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear addressed the state's General Assembly to present his nearly hour-long annual State of the Commonwealth speech. 

The address was Beshear's final as Kentucky Governor. In it, Beshear celebrated many of his major policy accomplishments he's seen during his tenure in the state's executive branch, and called on lawmakers to continue moving the 2015 session toward job-creation initiatives.

The over-riding theme of the evening was Beshear's advocacy for workforce development in Kentucky, and the four ways he says he's strengthened it: early childhood development, education reform, affordable healthcare, and low taxes.

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2:20 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Leaders of Kentucky House and Senate United in Support of Local Option Sales Tax Plan

Credit www.ky.gov

Democratic and Republican leaders in the Kentucky legislature are in rare accord on a priority issue at the start of the General Assembly's 2015 session.

Both Sen. President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, are optimistic about the fate of a constitutional amendment this year which would allow voters to place a local option sales tax on their city ballots.

Less than a month ago, Stumbo joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to announce that the local option sales tax would be the House's top priority, labeling it House Bill 1. Now, Stumbo says he's hearing positive preliminary feedback on the bill's fate.

"Sen. Stivers said--and he said it very eloquently, I thought and pretty succinct--'This is pure democracy. In its purest form,' which I thought was a pretty positive sign. And he also said something which I think is very appropriate and I hadn't thought about. He mentioned that if we were going to do tax reform at some point in time...this is a tool."

Stivers said on Tuesday, the first day of the General Assembly convened for the session, that he is fully supportive of the bill.

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1:14 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Kentucky Lawmaker Charged with DUI

Kentucky Sen. Brandon Smith serves the 30th District, which includes Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin and Perry.
Credit Kentucky LRC

A Kentucky lawmaker has been charged with driving under the influence after being stopped by a state police officer in Frankfort.

A Kentucky State Police official says Republican Sen. Brandon Smith of Hazard was stopped by the state trooper for speeding Tuesday morning. Sergeant Michael Webb said that after making contact with Smith, the trooper suspected the Senator had been drinking and arrested him on a DUI charge.

Webb said the Senator cooperated with the trooper but refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

Smith also was cited for driving 20 mph over the speed limit.

Senate Republican spokeswoman Teresa Hill says Smith declined comment on the matter Wednesday.

10:29 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Jody Richards Returns to Kentucky House Leadership

State Representative Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green
Credit LRC Public Information

Warren County is well-represented in the Kentucky House this legislative session. 

Democratic State Representative Jody Richards was elected Speaker Pro Tem in leadership elections Tuesday.  Richards takes the number two spot from Larry Clark of Louisville who chose not to seek re-election to the post. 

Richards of Bowling Green is making a return to leadership, having spent 14 years as House Speaker.  He was defeated in 2009 by current Speaker Greg Stumbo. 

Richards told WKU Public Radio he looks forward to tackling the issues, both new and perennial.

"Education, human services, and transportation are issues that recur," stated Richards.  "Of course there are things like the local option sales tax that's fairly new, but generally, the issues are the same."

Another Warren Countian, Representative Jim DeCesare, was elected House Republican Whip.  He replaces Bam Carney of Campbellsville who decided not to seek another term as Whip.

5:55 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Scott Seeking GOP Nomination for Governor

Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott says he is running for governor.

Scott said Tuesday he will disclose his running mate at his official campaign kickoff next week.

The eastern Kentuckian becomes the third Republican in this year's wide-open race to succeed Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Other Republicans in the race are state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner. The Democratic hopefuls are state Attorney General Jack Conway and former congressional candidate Geoff Young.

Beshear is in the final year of his second term and can't serve again because of term limits.

Scott says there's a lot of hate in politics in both parties. He says he's running for governor on "hope and promise and good ideas for good government."

5:36 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Haslam's Inauguration Theme is "Together for Tennessee"

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's plans for his inauguration to a second term include an outdoor ceremony, a dinner and ball and tours of the state Capitol and governor's mansion.

The Jan. 17 swearing-in ceremony will be held on the plaza across the street from the state Capitol in Nashville. State Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee is scheduled to administer the oath.

The theme of the inaugural events is "Together for Tennessee." Haslam in November won 70 percent of the vote against nominal Democratic opposition to carry all 95 counties of the state. He says goals for his second term include job creation, education and more efficiency in state government.

The inaugural events are free except for a $250 dinner and dance called the First Couple's Celebration and the $50 ball.