Politics

Politics
2:31 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear Vetoes Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Update: The "religious freedom" bill's sponsor is urging Democrats in the Kentucky House to override the governor's veto.

Earlier: Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday vetoed the controversial "religious freedom" bill recently approved by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Here's his statement: 

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Politics
5:06 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Report: Matthew Barzun Next U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain

Matthew Barzun
Credit U.S. State Department

Kentucky businessman Matthew Barzun will be the next U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, CBS News is reporting.

The appointment has long been expected—Barzun has been a key fundraiser in President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns, serving as chair of Obama's national finance committee in the most recent election.

CBS News notes:

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Politics
2:41 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Breaks from GOP, Votes Against Ryan Budget Plan

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie bucked his Republican Party leaders and voted against the GOP-basked 2014 budget because it isn't conservative enough.

The GOP-controlled House narrowly approved the spending plan authored by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by a 221-207 vote on Thursday.

Conservative supporters had highlighted the cuts to corporate tax rates and slashing $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as reasons to support the idea.

However, Ryan's plan still raises federal spending by 3.4 percent annually. GOP leaders had said that would be offset by economic growth.

But for the Tea Party-backed Massie that amount was too much. He told WFPL in a telephone interview he came to Washington reduce spending—not increase it—adding Ryan's proposal is nearly twice the rate of inflation.

"The Democrat plan increases government spending by 5 percent per year, that’s ridiculous. That’s like three times the rate of inflation," he says. "The Ryan budget is better because it only increases government by 3.4 percent per year, but that’s still twice the rate of inflation. And when I campaigned, I campaigned saying that we needed to cut spending in Washington, D.C."

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Politics
1:54 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Tackle With TAC4 Hosting Immigration Forum

A Louisville-based consulting firm is hosting a forum on immigration reform with the hope of finding common ground.

In the past year, TAC 4 Solutions had held several public discussions on tough political issues such as gun control, campaign finance reform and President Obama’s health care law. The group's aim is to hold respectful dialogue and change the tone of political conversation.

There appears to be movement on improving the immigration system after Republicans performed poorly among Hispanics in the fall election.

Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered a speech on immigration reform that was praised by liberal and Tea Party activists. Paul noted that Republicans have been losing "both the respect and votes" of Hispanics due to the GOP's "harsh rhetoric."

Kate Miller is a program director with the ACLU of Kentucky, and a featured panelist. She says it is encouraging to hear Paul’s remarks because the majority of Americans want to improve the system.

"We haven’t had an opportunity to review all of Senator Paul’s proposal, but I can assure you that we are thrilled that his proposal includes a pathway to citizenship," she says. "And really it’s not surprising that someone with his political background would support a more practical system. As most people know, it’s very expensive to maintain our current immigration system."

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Politics
1:14 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Kentucky Hemp Supporters Blast Amendment Calling for Further Study

James Comer
Credit File photo

Kentucky's industrial hemp supporters lashed out Thursday against a last-minute amendment to the hemp bill that's been under consideration this year in the General Assembly.

State Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and the majority floor leader, has proposed an amendment turning the Senate-approve hemp bill into a five year study. It also gives the licensing responsibilities to Kentucky State Police, which argues that legalized hemp would harm law enforcement efforts to target hemp's cousin, marijuana.

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Politics
1:26 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pros and Cons for Potential 2014 Mitch McConnell Challengers Judd, Grimes and Bevin

Ashley Judd
Credit Creative Commons

Kentuckians have 590 days-plus before the 2014 general election, but already the political chatter is centered on potential challengers to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell—chiefly actress Ashley Judd and her potential candidacy's supposed strengths and weaknesses.

But Judd isn't the only possible candidate.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Comes Out Against 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

After pressure from local gay rights and city lawmakers, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to veto the so-called religious freedom bill.

The bill would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith.

Last week, the mayor and city commissioners of Covington joined the chorus of those against the legislation.

In a letter sent to the governor to Tuesday, Fischer says the measure is "well-intentioned" but raises too many legal questions and isn't needed.

"We are a compassionate city. We don’t need this proposed law, full of ambiguity and question, to prove our religious freedom and protect our citizens from some perceived threat," says Fischer. "We have plenty of laws and a Constitution adopted by our citizens that provide us ample protections—no matter our faith, our profession, or our other rights and traits as human beings."

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Politics
1:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Potential Republican Challenger to Mitch McConnell Expanding Outreach to Kentucky Tea Party

Credit foxnews.com

A Louisville businessman exploring a Republican primary against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up meetings with Tea Party groups in Central Kentucky.

David Adams, a tea party activist from Central Kentucky, said he's planning to meet with Bevin next week in Lexington with other activists to familiarize themselves with Matt Bevin, the possible Republican Senate candidate and a Louisvillian who runs the Connecticut-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing.

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Politics
3:30 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Governor Beshear: Pension Talks Keep Going, but No Deal Imminent

Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

State leaders are still working to find solutions to the Kentucky's troubled pension system—but he's not promising a deal the time the General Assembly regular session ends next week, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Monday.

Beshear has mediated sessions between House and Senate leadership on reforming the pension systems and how to fund them, after the chambers came to an impasse on the issue.

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Politics
3:19 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Gov. Beshear Signs Bill Gradually Raising Dropout Age to 18

Credit Shutterstock.com

After five years of advocacy, supporters of raising Kentucky's dropout age to 18  celebrated Monday as Gov. Steve Beshear signed the bill into law.

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