Politics

Politics
4:15 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

New Law Helps Protect Patients Against Frequent Medical Changes

A new law that goes into effect tomorrow will help patients with chronic health issues maintain their standard of living.  The law allows doctors to show that a long-prescribed medicine would be the best for a patient. Previously, insurance companies could deny payments for such medication until patients had first tried a cheaper alternative.

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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Former State Rep. DeWayne Bunch Dies

Former Republican state representative DeWayne Bunch has died from head injuries sustained last year.

Bunch was a first term lawmaker when he was injured breaking up a fight at Whitley County High School, where he was a teacher. He went through months of surgeries and recovery in Lexington and in Atlanta.

His wife, Regina Bunch, was elected in a special election to succeed him as state representative. She’s currently still serving in that capacity.

Leaders of both the Democratic and Republican caucus in the state House praised Bunch’s service as a lawmaker.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Ethics Watchdog Files Complaint Against Shanklin

The chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky has filed a complaint with the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission against Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, citing a series of media reports over the past two months.

It alleges Shanklin violated the Metro Government code of ethics by using her office to benefit herself and her relatives. Earlier this week, the county attorney advised council members to not launch their own investigation into Shaklin's handling of an upholstery program until the city auditor and the Metro Police Public Integrity Unit complete their review.

Common Cause Chairman Richard Beliles says news reports have raised serious questions about Shanklin's decision-making and use of taxpayer dollars that need to be answered, but he isn't seeking her removal from office.

"She has a right to defend herself and to see what proof comes out of the hearings. I hope she's got real good reasons to prove she's done nothing wrong. We're not out to get her, but we are interested in protecting the public interest," he says. "I'm a lawyer and we can't jump to conclude that somebody is guilty, but I believe that my complaint shows these are issues that should be raised to protect the public."

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Politics
10:52 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Donnelly Compares Mourdock to Heckler

In the Indiana Senate race, Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly has launched a new ad criticizing Republican Richard Mourdock for rejecting compromise.

The 30-second spot features Donnelly on a basketball court coaching a group of children with a message of teamwork and a Mourdock impersonator heckling the congressman from the bleachers.

"You know, nothing gets done by yelling from the bleachers," says Donnelly. "It’s time for Hoosier common sense."

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Politics
4:58 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Miller Says Metro Council Will Let Auditor, LMPD Investigate Shanklin

Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, says he agrees with the Jefferson County Attorney that the Government Accountability and Ethics Committee should hold off on investigating purported ethics violations by Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2.

He also confirmed that the Louisville Metro Police Public Integrity Unit is investigating the matter. Shanklin has not been contacted by the LMPD and a majority caucus spokesman says the LMPD has not pulled any records from the council.

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Politics
1:59 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

State Budget Sees Small Surplus

Despite dim outlooks, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has turned a budget surplus for the second year in a row.

The last fiscal year closed with  an additional $83 million  in  the General Fund. The road fund has a $31 million  surplus.

The extra revenue has two potential uses. First, the state can make emergency payments, like putting additional money to cleaning up tornado damage in Eastern Kentucky.

And it can send money to the rainy day fund to help build back  Surpluses that were spent during the recession.

Politics
4:27 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Shanklin Furious With Fischer Administration Over C-J Comments

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, has spurned an invitation from Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his administration's comments regarding the use of city grants for an upholstery job training program.

Last Friday, a Fischer spokesman told The Courier-Journal  the program for ex-offenders should have ended on November 14 as ordered by the city and that it appears "city tax dollars are not spent as they’re intended to be." It was discovered that Shanklin continued to fund the program and personally signed an $836 check despite Metro Corrections ending it due to a lack of former inmate referrals.

"The published reports raise concerns with Dr. Shanklin over how the mayor's office has responded," says Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt, confirming that Shanklin called Fischer's office to reject an invitation to celebrate renovations at Petersburg Park in District 2 later this week.

According to Hyatt, Shanklin says corrections tried to kill the upholstery training while two people were still going through the course, and that the neighborhood association decided to finish out the last month of training.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Lawmaker Will Again Try to Lift Ban on Election Day Alcohol Sales

For the fifth time, a Northern Kentucky lawmaker will attempt to undo a ban on alcohol sales on election days.

Currently, no alcohol can be served or sold while polls are open. Representative Arnold Simpson has filed legislation to scrap the ban four times in the past. And Friday, he will once again present the proposal to an interim legislative committee.

Many states originally passed such bans in order to crack down on voter fraud and vote buying. Now, South Carolina is the only other state that still bans alcohol sales on election days.

Politics
1:03 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

McConnell: President Wants Tax Hike for Small Businesses

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., quickly came out against President Obama's push for Congress to end the Bush-era tax cuts for those who making over $250,000 annually.

The president spoke from the White House on Monday, arguing that he has cut taxes for the middle-class Americans and that 97 percent of all businesses would not see their taxes increase. It renews a previous fight between Mr. Obama and Republican lawmakers, but the proposal also puts the administration at odds with congressional Democrats who have called for extending the the cuts for everyone except people earning more than $1 million a year.

McConnell says the proposal is a tax hike that will hurt job creators.

From McConnell's office:

"It’s not an accident that the President didn’t explain how his plan to raise taxes on small businesses will create jobs—he can’t say that with a straight face, it simply isn’t true. In fact, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, nearly a million small businesses would feel this tax hike right away, and up to a quarter of the entire American workforce depends on these employers for a paycheck.

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Politics
10:47 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Donnelly Raises $900,000 in Second Quarter

In the Indiana Senate race, the campaign for Democrat Joe Donnelly announced it has raised $900,000 in the second quarter.

The total is an improvement for the Indiana congressman, who faces Republican Richard Mourdock in the general election this fall. Donnelly had been reporting lackluster fundraising totals for a Senate candidate during the primary, which worried state Democrats.

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