Politics

Politics
7:30 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Bluegrass Institute Takes Aim at Lawmakers for Pension Problems

The watchdog group Bluegrass Institute has released a report blaming Kentucky’s lawmakers for various issues with the state’s pension systems.

Bloomberg has ranked Kentucky's state pensions among the worst-funded in the country. And the Bluegrass Institute puts the blame on the General Assembly.

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Politics
10:52 am
Sun June 10, 2012

Jobs Program Gives Shanklin More Ethics Troubles, Questions

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is embroiled in another controversy that could result in ethics charges.

The Courier-Journal has reported that Shanklin administered a jobs program meant for ex-offenders since 2007, which has apparently only served her and the councilwoman's relatives. The upholstery-training program was funded by the council for nearly $30,000, but was halted by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration after questions were raised about the lack of referrals.

The newspaper learned that few offenders participated, but Shanklin and her family members took advantage of the program's benefits despite the councilwoman's earlier denials.

From the Courier-Journal:

The program was bankrolled from the metro government’s general fund, with money routed through Metro Corrections. It was halted after corrections Director Mark Bolton expressed concern about the program to the city’s chief financial officer, Steve Rowland.

Bolton said in a Courier-Journal interview that his department was never asked to refer ex-offenders to the program, which he described as “goofy” in an email to a corrections staff member just before it was halted.

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Politics
10:14 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Noise and Notes: WDRB Returns and Council Members Talk City Budget, Wisconsin Recall

There was quite a shake up in Louisville media this past week, with cable subscribers seeing Time Warner Cable remove WDRB from the television lineup.

Before returning to the airwaves, the joust between the local Fox affiliate and cable company was the top story until WDRB announced hiring sports columnists Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich away from the Courier-Journal.

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Politics
10:00 am
Sat June 9, 2012

$500,000 for Whiskey Row Draws Criticism for Metro Budget

Metro Mayor Greg Fischer presented his proposed city budget to the metro council last week. WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey covered the budget announcement and has been following reactions from council members, external agencies, and private citizens. He joined us Friday on Byline to talk about how the budget proposal has been received—including the controversial $500,000 for Whiskey Row renovations.

 

 

Politics
6:42 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

McConnell Pounces Obama 'Doing Fine' Gaffe

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released the following statement tearing into President Obama for claiming that the private sector is "doing fine" during a press conference to address economic concerns.

From McConnell's office:

“Whether the President wants to acknowledge it or not, we are now living in the Obama Economy, and no ‘post-it note’ proposal can reverse the damage done by his policies over the past three and a half years. It’s baffling that in the face of all evidence to the contrary, this President still believes that spending money we don’t have to inflate the government is the answer to America’s economic problems.

The economy would respond much more favorably to providing the tax certainty Americans deserve by extending all the tax rates and assuring employers they do not have to budget for the largest tax increase in American history next year. The Obama Economy is even slower now than when we extended the rates in 2010—raising taxes on job creators in this slow economy is simply not the elixir for his failed policies.”

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Politics
2:30 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Scott Disappointed With Fischer Over Violence Task Force

Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott, D-1, claims Mayor Greg Fischer ignored her office when putting together the violence prevention work group and is disappointed in the selection process.

The panel was first announced last month in response to a rash of shootings that took place in Scott’s district that left three dead and three injured. Among the 37 leaders Fischer named to the group are Circuit Judge Brian Edwards, Simmons College President Rev. Kevin Cosby, and council members David Tandy, D-4, and David James, D-6.

But a task force member representing the Parkland neighborhood raised concerns about Scott's absence and the councilwoman and mayor's office disagree on if she showed initial interest in serving..

Fischer spokesman Phil Miller says the administration did have a discussion with Scott about the panel and that she told them she did not want to be on the task force.

"The mayor felt that two council members was adequate. We also had talked with Attica Scott and she indicated that she was not particularly interested in serving but if asked would appoint or recommend citizens in that area,” he says.

In a telephone interview with WFPL, however, Scott says she was never asked to join and denies telling Fischer’s office she did not want to serve, but that she would have declined to make room for more residents.

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Politics
12:15 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Rand Paul Endorses Mitt Romney

U.S. Senate

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney despite his father Congressman Ron Paul's ongoing White House bid.

Romney has clinched the 1,144 delegates needed for the Republican nomination, and Paul's father has suspended his campaign but is still pursuing delegates through the state process.

"Well, you know, my first choice had always been my father," Paul told conservative commentator Sean Hannity. "He is still my first pick, but now that the nominating process is over, tonight, I am happy to announce I am supporting Governor Romney."

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Politics
8:30 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

State Representative Tom Burch Speaks Out About Sexual Abuse He Suffered as a Child

One of Kentucky's leading voices against child abuse is speaking out about abuse he suffered as a child.

State Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, is the chairman of the House Health and Welfare committee. Burch wrote a letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader that mentioned that he was sexually abused by a priest as a middle schooler and was also physically abused by his father.

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Politics
5:59 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Wicker Pounces on Yarmuth Over Medical Device Tax

Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker called on Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth to vote against the medical device tax in the president’s healthcare law on Thursday. 

The Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3 percent tax on certain devices to pay for the legislation with an anticipated $29 billion over the next decade. Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the GOP-controlled House passed legislation to repeal the fee by a 241-to-173 vote.

Supporters of the repeal cite a study from the healthcare industry that warns about higher prices and the loss of  manufacturing jobs.

Speaking in front of Humana Inc., Wicker told a handful of supporters the tax makes pacemakers and knee replacements more expensive, and Yarmuth needs to explain his support of President Obama’s law.

"I’m calling on him to explain to the citizens of the Third District why he continues to support legislation– Obamacare—which the overwhelming number of people in this community do not support,” he says.

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Politics
2:06 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Most State Universities Avoiding Major Layoffs

The majority of the state's public universities are not following the University of Kentucky's lead in laying off a large number of employees to balance the budget.

UK announced this week that 140 employees will be laid off and 160 unfilled positions will be eliminated. But other public universities like Murray State, Eastern and Western Kentucky aren’t doing the same. Some schools are using hiring and pay freezes to deal with budget cuts from the state, but others, like Western, aren't using personnel to balance budgets at all.

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