Politics

Politics
10:16 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Council Approves City Budget After Contentious Debate Over Whiskey Row Funding

The Louisville Metro Council passed a city budget for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday, but not before a contentious debate about the Whiskey Row development.

Mayor Greg Fischer submitted a spending plan that included a $500,000 allocation for private developers—among them philanthropist Christy Brown, the widow of former chairman of the Brown-Forman Corp, Owsley Brown II—to restore the historic string of buildings along West Main Street.

The mayor had proposed using the money to create a revolving fund to help restore historic properties beginning with Whiskey Row, but a bipartisan group of council members argued Metro Government had already provided investors with a $1.5 million forgivable loan for the project.

The budget committee approved language in the ordinance on Wednesday that required developers to reimburse the city $1 million if the Whiskey Row buildings were later sold. But Fischer's office argued it was an unprecedented step by the council that could jeopardize the original agreement.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, introduced an amendment to take that wording out of the final ordinance, but allow lawmakers to hold the money until Fischer renegotiates the deal.  She says lawmakers unfairly tied the mayor's hands to negotiate.

"I'm asking you to allow the mayor do his job and negotiate a deal, and when he brings it over if you don't like it then don't vote for it," she said. "Let's debate it at that time because we're not doing it tonight. This really isn't about debating the merits of rich folks spending money on preservation or not. If anything, this is a power and money grab by the Metro Council."

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Politics
5:42 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

D'oh: Mourdock Accidentally Releases Reaction to Every SCOTUS Health Care Law Ruling

The campaign for Republican Senate Richard Mourdock accidently released the Indiana state treasurer's various reactions to the Supreme Court's possible rulings on President Obama's health care law.

The videos were briefly posted to YouTube before the Mourdock campaign yanked them, but not before media outlets were able to repost his different versions to the high court upholding or striking down the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
3:55 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Grimes's Grandmother Dies at 92

The paternal grandmother of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who appeared in TV ads during her granddaughter's successful campaign last year has died.

Thelma Lundergan McHugh died at her home in Jessamine County, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and loved ones. She was 92.

"My grandmother instilled in me the confidence that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to and taught me by example the importance of being involved in my community," Grimes said in a news release.

Last fall, McHugh filmed a 30-second spot for Grimes during the 2011 general election along with the secretary of state's other maternal grandmother, Elsie Case. Political observers credited the commercial's creativity and positive pitch during an overall negative campaign season.

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Politics
3:30 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Kentucky Seeking Private Medicaid Operators for Louisville Region

The process of opening the Louisville area to Medicaid competition is underway.

Passport Health Plan has run Medicaid in the area for 15 years, but the state has been ordered by the federal government to allow at least one more private operator to do business in the region.

Passport officials say they will bid for the contract and requests were sent to other potential bidders this week.

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Politics
7:58 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Budget Committee Approves City Spending Plan for Upcoming Fiscal Year

The Louisville Metro Council's Budget Committee passed a spending plan for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year by a unanimous vote.

Mayor Greg Fischer submitted his budget proposal to the council earlier this month, which had been criticized for its lack of funding to external agencies and hammered for cuts to indigent care at University Hospital.

Similar to last year, the council reallocated nearly $3 million in funds and added over $400,000 to non-profit groups for their programing.

City lawmakers were able to come up with those additional funds in part through an agreement with the Parking Authority of River City to make a payment of $300,000 in cash this year with additional payments of $150,000 over the next five fiscal years.

These additional funds were requested by council members who raised questions about a late transfer and payment for the two county parking garages that the city never received. 

The budget also includes money to focus on dealing with the problem of abandoned and vacant properties with close to $40,000 in funds being spent to mow grass at vacant lots throughout the city.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

CoventryCares Lost $50 Million In First Quarter, CEO Blames State Government

 

The CEO of Kentucky’s largest private Medicaid operator says massive financial losses and bad data are to blame for the problems with managed cared in Kentucky.

For weeks, CoventryCares has sought to terminate or revise its contracts with more than a dozen healthcare providers so the company would pay lower reimbursement rates when doctors treat Medicaid patients. And in a meeting before the interim joint Health and Welfare Committee today, CEO Michael Murphy said his company's actions were motivated by losses. 

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The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

House Committee Cites Attorney General Holder For Contempt

Attorney General Eric Holder during congressional testimony in 2011.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 4:46 pm

Acting along partisan lines, with a vote of 23 to 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted this afternoon to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Republicans, who control the committee, say Holder's Justice Department has not turned over all the documents that the committee needs to see as it probes the so-called Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.

And they want to know more about why the Justice Department initially told a senator that it had not pursued such an operation.

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Politics
10:15 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Mayor Fischer Responds to Courier-Journal Editorial

In a letter to the editor today, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer responds to a Sunday editorial in the newspaper that criticized cuts to city funding for the University of Louisville Hospital's indigent care.

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Politics
5:27 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Waiting on Romney, McConnell Balks at Obama's Immigration Decision

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is waiting on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to take the lead on President Obama's decision to stop deporting the children of illegal immigrants.

McConnell is one of the president's strongest and quickest critics, but the GOP leader is being unusually quiet until Romney makes his position clear. He says members of his caucus are "withholding judgment" until the former Massachusetts governor takes the lead.

From The Washington Post:

“I think we’re going to wait and see what governor Romney has to say, and we’re going to be discussing his views on this,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “I think many of us may have similar views. Others may not.”

McConnell said he was deferring to Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is “the leader of our party from now until November — and, we hope, beyond.”

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Politics
4:25 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Lawmakers Plan to Question Coventry CEO Over Contract Issues

Kentucky lawmakers will get their first chance tomorrow to ask a private Medicaid operator why it’s having so much trouble negotiating contracts with healthcare providers.

The CEO of CoventryCares will speak to lawmakers at a meeting of the Interim Joint Health and Welfare Committee. Coventry has been fighting with the Eastern Kentucky hospital network Appalachian Regional Healthcare over reimbursement rates and a new contract.  

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