5:00 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Tea Party Leader Sues Over Medicaid Expansion

Tea party activist David Adams is once again suing Governor Steve Beshear over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This time, Adams is trying to block the expansion of Medicaid.

The expansion will give 300,000 people a chance to join Medicaid beginning next year. Beshear says that will make Kentuckians healthier and boost the state's economy.

Adams disputes that. His lawsuit challenges a decades- old law that gives Beshear the power to accept federal funds freely.

To help pay his legal fees, Adams says he's asking for help from other tea party activists.

"Anything like this, to do it right, winds up to be very expensive. We continue to go out and sell the effort to people and as they see we are actually on very solid legal ground for asserting consumer and citizens' rights on this, those efforts will just expand."

Adams also has a lawsuit pending to block the state-run health insurance exchange Beshear created by executive order a year ago.

6:00 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Richards and Stone: Lawsuits Put Added Pressure on State to Get Redistricting Done

A Warren County lawmaker says he agrees with Governor Steve Beshear on the need to get legislative redistricting maps done before the 2014 General Assembly.

Bowling Green Representative Jody Richards told WKU Public Radio he hopes House and Senate leaders can come to an agreement on new maps ahead of a possible special legislative session this fall.

"I hope that everybody gets together, and that we do a five-day session, which is the quickest you can possibly do," said Richards. "We don't need to get up there and argue. Everything needs to be settled before we go."

Richards says two lawsuits filed against the state over the lack of a redistricting plan are adding to the urgency lawmakers feel about getting new maps passed. Those lawsuits were filed by a group of county clerks in northern Kentucky and the state chapter of the ACLU, and accuse the state of violating federal law by not having in place new legislative maps based on the latest U.S. Census data.

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12:33 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Seeks to Cut Corporate Tax to Fund Transportation

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Through a single piece of legislation, Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to cut a corporate tax and get more revenue for transportation projects.

Here's how: When American companies make money overseas and put it in foreign banks, they have to pay a tax to bring the money back to the U.S.  Paul is sponsoring legislation that lowers the tax companies pay to transfer foreign profits to America from 35 percent to 5 percent. Many of those companies keep that money overseas instead of paying the 35-percent tax.

The new tax revenue generated under Paul's proposal would be put into a transportation fund, which could benefit projects including the Ohio River Bridges and the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky.

A  lot of money is sitting overseas, and a lower tax rate would entice companies to bring it home, Paul spokesman Dan Bayens said.

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10:02 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Beshear: McConnell "Vulnerable" in 2014, Democrats Just Need "Good Alternative"

Governor Beshear has some strong words about the state's senior U.S. Senator. During a visit to Bowling Green Wednesday, Beshear told WKU Public Radio that he thinks Republican Mitch McConnell symbolizes the partisan bickering and obstructionism that has plagued Washington D.C. recently.

"And of course Sen. McConnell has been a part of that for the past 30 years. It's gotten worse, it hasn't gotten better. And he's gotten to be part of the problem and not part of the solution. So I think people are looking for a change," said Beshear. "We just have to give them a good alternative."

Beshear says he believes Senator McConnell would be "vulnerable" against a strong Democratic challenge next year.

McConnell has said he's ready to defend his record against any challengers during the 2014 Senate contest, and believes the majority of Kentuckians support his efforts to block key parts of President Obama's agenda.

McConnell has been amassing a campaign war chest and staffers to help his re-election efforts. Scott Jennings, a longtime Kentucky GOP operative who is working with two SuperPacs that support McConnell, says the Republican incumbent has attracted a great deal of support based on his legislative work in Washington.

"And I think that's why you're seeing such an early formation of a political apparatus designed to re-elect him, because he's done a good job and he's done right by the state of Kentucky and that's why you have some of these folks doing what they're doing," Jennings recently told Kentucky Public Radio.

Democrats have yet to land a high-profile challenger to take on McConnell next year.

3:51 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

As IRS Scandal Endures, Kentucky Tea Party Activists Split on Mitch McConnell

As the scandal surrounding the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS continues,  some Kentucky tea party activists are upset with Senator Mitch McConnell's role in the process—even as the state party is asking them to support him.

In Kentucky, only the statewide 9/12 project has come forward to acknowledge that they were targeted and that they were rejecting the IRS' apology on the matter.

But that hasn't stopped Kentucky politicians, including McConnell, from consistently pointing to the issue. He's demanded a full investigation into the matter.

The Republican Party of Kentucky is circulating a letter to back up McConnell on his efforts, asking tea party activists in Kentucky to sign it.

But Kentucky tea party activist David Adams called the attempts opportunistic.

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4:32 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul Raising National Profile

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

Paul is doing more than just "considering" running for president as he's states, the Kentucky Republican is clearing a path to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination with a series of upcoming early primary state visits, a beefed up political operation and a plan to raise his profile.

His first major appearance is Friday night when he's scheduled to be the featured guest at the Iowa Republican Party's annual spring fundraiser. That's considered a plum speaking gig in the state expected to host the leadoff caucuses.

Paul's road is expected to be far from easy, given other big names in the prospective field and the national GOP's wide divide. But he enjoys tea party backing and access to his father Ron Paul's past presidential campaign networks.

Rand Paul heads to New Hampshire later this month and to South Carolina in June, two other early primary states.

8:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Kentucky Republicans Beef Up Campaign Army for U.S. Senate Race; Democrats on Standby

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Kenny Colston's report on Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race

Senator Mitch McConnell's next election is a year and a half away, and he doesn't have a serious opponent. But this hasn't stopped him from amassing significant money and personnel for his re-election. 

Every week, new field directors, political staff and fundraisers join the effort to re-elect McConnell. But while they have the same goal, they don't have the same boss. Some of the staffers work for McConnell's campaign. Others are paid by the Republican Party of Kentucky, while some answer to various SuperPACs.

Scott Jennings is in that last category. He's a longtime political operative who has worked on two presidential campaigns and for McConnell in the past. This year, he's working with the newly-formed Kentuckians for Strong Leadership and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, which has just begun running ads supporting conservative ideas.

SuperPAC Impact

Jennings controls those organizations from an East Louisville office, which he shares with the PR firm he founded this year.

Jennings says conservative interest in the race has picked up now because supporters respect the role McConnell has played in blocking President Barack Obama's agenda.

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6:00 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Kentucky Political Parties Putting Large Focus on Special House Election

Both Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky are focusing on a special state House election, which could be the only race this year. The special election for the 56th House District will likely place added pressure on both parties to come through with a victory.

Right now, Democrats have a five seat majority over Republicans in the state house. But if GOP nominee Lyen Crews can defeat Democrat James Kay on June 25, that will shrink the margin to four seats.

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Steve Robertson says the 56th special election is Round 2 in a multi-year fight for the state house between his party and the Kentucky Democratic Party.

"Let's be realistic this election is going to be a big priority for both parties,” says Roberston.

The race could also be the first test of Super PAC might, as both Democratic and Republican Super PACs are been formed to influence state House races.

8:06 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Major Party Candidates Selected for Kentucky House Special Election

The major party nominees are in place for a key special election in Central Kentucky, after Republicans finalized their selection Tuesday night.

Democrats from Woodford, Franklin and Fayette counties held a nominating convention this week and unanimously picked Attorney James Kay of Versailles to run for the seat.

Kay is the chair of the Woodford County Democratic Party and a legislative aide to Democratic House leadership. If elected, Kay would need to resign from his aide position.

Republicans have chosen Lyen (pronounced "Lion") Crews, who ran for the seat in 2010. The special election will be June 25.

The seat is being left vacant by Democrat Carl Rollins, who is stepping down to work with two state education organizations.

3:04 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Stumbo Pens Letter to Beshear Asking for Special Session for Redistricting

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is encouraging Governor Steve Beshear to call a special session for redistricting to help end a federal lawsuit.

Last week several county clerks in Northern Kentucky filed a lawsuit claiming the state's inability to finish redistricting violates federal law.

In response, Stumbo released a letter he has sent to the governor, encouraging Beshear to call a special session soon to pass redistricting maps.

Stumbo says it's pointless to waste money on litigation when House lawmakers have already passed a new redistricting plan. Senate leaders have said they wanted to wait until the 2014 session to pass the maps.

Beshear says he's open to a special session on redistricting, but wants to make sure all parties are ready so costs can be minimized. It costs taxpayers $60,000 a day for a special session.