Politics

Politics
5:17 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Democrats Walk Out of Meeting on Insurance Exchange

A second legislative hearing on Kentucky’s federally-mandated health insurance exchange led to a dramatic walkout by Democrats today.

For the second consecutive time, the interim joint Health and Welfare committee saw their meeting devolve into arguments over the exchange.

And this time, a motion by Republicans to register a vote of disapproval against the exchange led every Democrat to get up and leave in the middle of the meeting.

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Politics
4:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

McConnell Praises Suu Kyi’s Leadership

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continues to praise Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of her visit to Louisville.

Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday for her commitment to democratic reforms in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. The medal is Congress’ highest honor, and lawmakers including McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush attended the ceremony.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell says Suu Kyi has been an international symbol of peace and democracy since first being put under house arrest by the Burmese dictatorship in 1991.

"For nearly two decades—two decades—she remained under house arrest in her mothers old home on university avenue on the shores of Inya Lake. Over the years I’ve followed Suu Kyi closely, and I’ve done what I could to advance her cause," he says. 

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Politics
12:56 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Louisville Tea Party to Host Candidate Forum

The Louisville Tea Party will hold a forum featuring several local candidates running for Congress, Metro Council and the Jefferson County school board, but the group’s leader is criticizing Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth for not attending.

The forum is being moderated by 84 WHAS radio host Mandy Connell on Thursday, and is expected to draw more than 100 people.

Candidates running for the Kentucky General Assembly are also invited to the forum, and Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says the event will question those candidates on issues that other groups and the mainstream media have overlooked.

"We plan on asking the state Representative and state Senate candidates about pension reform, which we have not heard enough about in the media," she says. "With the school board, I haven’t seen anybody asking them about raising our taxes every single year. We plan to ask the school board candidates how they feel about that and how they would deal with budget shortfalls if they’re not in favor of raising our taxes every year."

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Politics
10:07 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Poll: Beshear Has Broad Support

Kentucky Governor's Office

After winning a 20-point re-election last November, Governor Steve Beshear enjoys support from nearly two-thirds of Kentucky voters according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday.

The survey found that 64 percent of likely voters approve of the governor's job performance, which is eight points more than his landslide victory over Republican David Williams in the 2011 gubernatorial race. Beshear remains popular despite the overall acrimony and gridlock in Frankfort that spawned an especially personal General Assembly this year.

The governor's agenda did not advance much during the legislative session either, but voters cite his political moderation among his best attributes.

From The Courier-Journal:

But they said Beshear, who is a year into his second term, has improved his popularity by taking a more centrist approach, distancing himself from President Barack Obama’s most controversial policies — such as coal regulation — and avoiding contentious social issues, such as abortion and religion.

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Politics
6:08 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Beshear Appoints Insurers, Advocates to Health Insurance Exchange Board

Governor Steve Beshear has named the members of the state health insurance exchange board.

The now-19 member board includes top level officials from Kentucky's major insurers, including Anthem, Humana and Bluegrass Family Health.

It also includes represents from the state’s major hospitals, including Central Baptist in Lexington and KentuckyOne Health, which operates statewide.

Patient advocate groups, including Kentucky Voices for Health, AARP and Kentucky Youth Advocates, also have seats on the board.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

National Republican PAC Plans to Get Involved in Kentucky House Races

A Republican group tasked with winning state-level races across the U.S. has its sights set on Kentucky.

The Republican State Leadership Committee is an independent Republican political action committee that has established itself as a major factor in state legislative races.

The group has been involved in Kentucky legislative races off and on for several years. But with House Republicans making a strong push to win Kentucky’s lower chamber, the committee is once again taking a long look at the Commonwealth.

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Politics
2:15 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

PAC is Formed to Combat Influence of Teachers Unions on School Board Races

A newly-formed political action committee is hoping to influence school board races across the commonwealth, embarking on territory usually dominated by teachers unions.

For decades, education policy and school board races across the commonwealth have been aided solely by teachers unions giving campaign donations through political action committees.

But a new group has just been formed to combat that influence on school board races. The Bluegrass Fund was created last week by Louisville develop David Nicklies, according to statements filed with the IRS.

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Politics
1:47 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Committee to Amend Discretionary Funds Policy

The Louisville Metro Council Accountability and Ethics Committee is voting Tuesday on more changes to the policy that governs the distribution of taxpayer dollars to non-profit groups.

A recent audit found that half of the discretionary grants given out by city lawmakers lacked proper documentation to determine if the funds were being spent properly.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the accountability committee and a co-sponsor of the proposal along with Council President Jim King, D-10. He says the amendments being proposed give non-profit groups clear guidelines and should help restore public trust.

"The resolution that we’re going to hear today will start us on the path of restoring public confidence in this process, regardless of what individual council people—including myself—think of the overall process we have to be able to restore confidence that public funds are being used appropriately," says Miller.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Marks One-Year Anniversary

Protestors with Occupy Wall Street are marking their one-year anniversary with demonstrations this week, but critics argue the movement has lost momentum and is in disarray.

The protests started in New York City's financial district in reaction to corporate greed, rising unemployment and the national recession. It drew attention to the country’s income gap and economic inequality by rallying behind the 99 percent of wage earners. Several other Occupy demonstrations sprouted up across the country to address foreclosures and affordable housing and saw varying degrees of success.

But opponents say the movement has died down because the leaderless coalition had no clear platform or strategy.

From L.A. Times:

Yet the movement cannot claim any new policy, law or regulation as its own. Unlike the Tea Party on the political right, there is no cohesive Occupy group promoting candidates in November's national election.

Karl Zoellner is a spokesman for Occupy Louisville. He says the movement is in transition, but has successfully pushed an agenda.

"The name, the brand Occupy is not on the front burner like it once was. But the issues of the 99 percent, which is something that the Occupy Wall Street brought attention to, has in turn become the focus of thousands of social justice organizations across the United States," he says.

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Politics
12:54 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Democratic Super PAC Plans to Influence State House Races

A Democratic super PAC that was active in last year’s governor’s race is taking part in legislative races this fall.  The Kentucky Family Values super PAC was started to help Governor Steve Beshear win re-election. The group has now re-formed under new leadership to influence state House races. 

“I hope we’re going to be successful and that is, elect enough family values oriented Democrats in the state House for the Democrats to retain control,” PAC chairman and retired Louisville lawyer Kevin Hable told Kentucky Public Radio in a phone interview.

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