89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:37:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.6 Court Denies Request to Halt Louisville’s Minimum Wage Hike http://wfpl.org/industry-groups-seek-last-minute-halt-of-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/ http://wfpl.org/industry-groups-seek-last-minute-halt-of-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:42:12 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38950 Update 4:33 p.m.: Denied The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied the request for an emergency injunction to stop Louisville’s minimum wage from increasing by 50 cents. The increase will take place on Wednesday. The court’s ruling on the … Read Story

]]> Update 4:33 p.m.: Denied

The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied the request for an emergency injunction to stop Louisville’s minimum wage from increasing by 50 cents.

The increase will take place on Wednesday.

The court’s ruling on the motion said: “Appellants have not shown, however, that the potential overpayments, should the the ordinance be struck, cannot be recovered.”

Earlier: The same day a court upheld the city’s minimum wage ordinance, industry groups filed an emergency motion asking a judge to stop the law from going into effect on Wednesday.

On Monday, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ruled Metro Government had the authority to raise the city’s minimum wage. She also denied a motion to stop the city’s minimum wage from increasing to $7.75 an hour starting Wednesday.

The minimum wage in Louisville is currently $7.25 an hour.

On Monday evening, business groups filed an emergency motion asking the Kentucky Court of Appeals to halt the law from going into effect.

Brent Baughman is an attorney for Kentucky Restaurant Association, the Kentucky Retail Federation and Packaging Unlimited in Louisville.

He said the ordinance will cause “irreparable harm” to employers, and affect them immediately.

“That’s money that an employer would pay out and never get back,” Baughman said, adding that he’s also arguing that the city’s ordinance is invalid.

The increase set to take effect Wednesday would be the first phase of the city’s minimum wage ordinance, which was approved in December. The city’s minimum wage will ultimately be $9 an hour by July 2017.

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office filed a response and asked the motion be denied.

You can read the county’s response here:

]]> http://wfpl.org/industry-groups-seek-last-minute-halt-of-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/feed/ 0 ‘Connect/Disconnect’ Seeks to Transform Louisville Site Through Public Art http://wfpl.org/connectdisconnect-seeks-transform-louisville-site-public-art/ http://wfpl.org/connectdisconnect-seeks-transform-louisville-site-public-art/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:28:00 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38938 Mayor Greg Fischer this week  announced “Connect/Disconnect,” a Louisville public art expo slated to begin late this summer. The exhibition, a partnership with the Commission on Public Art, will seek to transform a site near the Ohio River through a … Read Story

]]> Mayor Greg Fischer this week  announced “Connect/Disconnect,” a Louisville public art expo slated to begin late this summer.

The exhibition, a partnership with the Commission on Public Art, will seek to transform a site near the Ohio River through a series of interactive public art projects.

“Connect/Disconnect” will be located between east Portland and downtown Louisville along the Riverwalk/Louisville Loop, between 8th and 12th Streets, north of Rowan and Washington Streets, according to the mayor’s office.

This is the first project to come from Louisville Metro Government’s Public Art Initiative. It will launch in August and run through November.

The mayor’s office is also soliciting artists to submit their ideas on ways to “further activate the riverfront and enrich the visitor experience.” Artists can submit their proposals here.

]]> http://wfpl.org/connectdisconnect-seeks-transform-louisville-site-public-art/feed/ 0 Supreme Court Rules In Industry’s Favor. What’s EPA’s Next Move? http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rules-in-industrys-favor-whats-epas-next-move-2/ http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rules-in-industrys-favor-whats-epas-next-move-2/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:27:10 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=38933&preview_id=38933 Monday's decision from the high court technically only applies to the Clean Air Act's standards on mercury emissions from power plants. But it could affect future EPA regulations, legal experts say. Read Story

]]> The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

In 1990 Congress advised the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to limit mercury. The agency set rules for many industries, like cement makers and waste incinerators. Eventually, the EPA also added power plants to the list, and most of these plants began to reduce their mercury emissions.

But many also sued — along with the coal industry and more than 20 states. They argued that the EPA should not decide to adopt expensive new regulations without first considering what implementing those rules would cost them. In essence, via Monday’s decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court told the coal industry (in a 5 to 4 vote), “You’re right.” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion.

Jeff Holmstead is a former senior EPA official and an attorney with the law firm Bracewell and Giuliani, which represents utilities. He says the ruling is narrow, but the court clearly rebuked the EPA. “Before it decides to regulate something,” he says, paraphrasing the high court, “sometimes it needs to take into account the cost of those regulations. It can’t just turn a blind eye.”

Now, this ruling only applies to the Clean Air Act and its mercury standards. But Holmstead says it could affect future EPA regulations. Here’s why: Usually companies still have to comply with regulations even while they’re fighting them within the court system. In the case of mercury, industry spent billions to comply even while it was suing to stop the new rules. And, even though the nation’s top court didn’t throw the regulations out, it said EPA has to reconsider its decision on costs.

So, Holmstead says, businesses may now cite this ruling to insist that the EPA wait for the courts before enforcing new rules. “While you’re going through that process [of litigation],” he says, “you need to put the regulation on hold. And what happened today certainly makes it much more likely.”

The ruling apparently comes too late for those power plants that have already made plans to install equipment to cut mercury. And Ann Weeks, legal director of the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental advocacy group, says that’s not likely to be reversed. “The horse is out of the barn,” she says. “The protections already are rolling forward and utilities are making decisions accordingly.”

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Weeks points out that the EPA eventually did do a cost-benefit analysis, years after it decided to regulate mercury. The Supreme Court says that was too late. But Weeks says the EPA did set the dollar value of the public health benefits at nine times the cost to industry of complying. She says that calculation clearly justifies regulating the industry, and she expects that the EPA will continue do so.

“Obviously,” Weeks says, “we are all going to work to make sure that some kind of protection remains in place while EPA does its consideration that it has to do now.”

The high court says that consideration must take place in the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. Weeks says it’s possible the EPA will have to do another cost analysis. In the meantime, the battle over rules governing mercury emissions at power plants enters its 26th year.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript :

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court said the agency should have first considered how much it would cost power plants to do that. As NPR’s Christopher Joyce reports, the decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future regulations.

CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury. It’s toxic and can end up in fish we eat. In 1990, Congress advised EPA to use the Clean Air Act to limit mercury. The agency set rules for many industries like cement makers and waste incinerators. Then EPA eventually added power plants, and most reduced their mercury emissions. But many also sued, along with the coal industry, in over 20 states. They said the EPA should not decide to adopt expensive new regulations without first considering what it will cost us. In its decision in Michigan versus EPA, the Supreme Court said to industry, you’re right. Jeff Holmstead is an attorney with Bracewell and Guliani which represents utilities. He says the ruling is narrow, but the court clearly rebuked EPA.

JEFF HOLMSTEAD: Before it decides to regulate something, it needs to take into account the cost of those regulations. It can’t just turn a blind eye.

JOYCE: Now, this ruling only applies to the Clean Air Act and its mercury standards, but Holmstead says it could affect future EPA regulations. Here’s why. Usually companies still have to comply with regulations even while they’re fighting them in court. In the case of mercury, industry spent billions to comply even while they were suing to stop them. And even though the court didn’t throw the regulations out, it said EPA has to start over now. Holmstead says now businesses may insist that EPA wait for the courts before enforcing new rules.

HOLMSTEAD: While you’re going through that process, you need to put the regulation on hold, and what happened today certainly makes it much more likely.

JOYCE: But the ruling comes too late for those power plants that have already made plans to install equipment to cut mercury. And Ann Weeks of the Clean Air Task Force says that’s not likely to be reversed.

ANN WEEKS: The horse is out of the barn. The protection’s already are rolling forward, and utilities are making decisions accordingly.

JOYCE: Weeks points out that the EPA eventually did do a cost-benefit analysis years after it decided to regulate mercury. The Supreme Court said that was too late. But she says EPA did set the dollar value of the public health benefits at nine times the cost to industry of complying. She says that clearly justifies regulating the industry and expects EPA will continue to do so.

WEEKS: Obviously we are all going to work to make sure that, you know, some kind of protection remains in place while EPA does its consideration that it has to do now.

JOYCE: The high court says that consideration must take place at the circuit court for the District of Columbia Weeks says it’s possible the EPA will have to do another cost analysis. Christopher Joyce, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

]]> http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rules-in-industrys-favor-whats-epas-next-move-2/feed/ 0 Mitch McConnell Applauds EPA Ruling During Stop In Louisville http://wfpl.org/mitch-mcconnell-applauds-epa-ruling-during-stop-in-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/mitch-mcconnell-applauds-epa-ruling-during-stop-in-louisville/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:17:23 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38918 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Obama Administration overstepped when it set limits for toxic air pollutants through an EPA rule. McConnell spoke Monday in Louisville to local business leaders. The Republican … Read Story

]]> U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Obama Administration overstepped when it set limits for toxic air pollutants through an EPA rule.

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McConnell spoke Monday in Louisville to local business leaders.

The Republican senator told members of Greater Louisville Inc. that the ruling was a necessary check on Obama’s regulatory power and it is likely good news for the coal industry.

“We will see just how far the courts are going to let the administration go in pursuing its agenda,” McConnell said.

But McConnell also said in other ways the ruling came too late.

Because of the EPA rule, energy companies in Kentucky have already done most of the work switching to natural gas anyway. So, this ruling could be mostly symbolic. McConnell told reporters that’s why state governments should delay implementing new rules until legal battles are settled.

“That’s the way that bureaucracy wins,” he said. “They signal where they are going, everybody adjusts to it and then by the time the litigation catches up to it, it’s too late.”

In 2014, the state produced 3.7 percent less coal than in 2013, according to a February state report. In the same period, coal employment declined in the state by 2.8 percent. The drops are attributed to several factors, including regulations but also shrinking coal reserves and lower natural gas prices.

McConnell also said the EPA’s new regulations were regressive and bad for business in the state.

EPA officials estimated the rule could create billions in benefits and prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases annually.

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/mitch-mcconnell-applauds-epa-ruling-during-stop-in-louisville/feed/ 0 ACLU of Kentucky Willing to Sue the County Clerks Refusing To Issue Marriage Licenses http://wfpl.org/aclu-kentucky-willing-sue-county-clerks-refusing-issue-marriage-licenses/ http://wfpl.org/aclu-kentucky-willing-sue-county-clerks-refusing-issue-marriage-licenses/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:58:30 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38913 The ACLU of Kentucky is prepared to sue county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses because of the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriages in the U.S. As first reported by the Herald-Leader, clerks in Casey, Lawrence, Montgomery, Rowan … Read Story

]]> The ACLU of Kentucky is prepared to sue county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses because of the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriages in the U.S.

As first reported by the Herald-Leader, clerks in Casey, Lawrence, Montgomery, Rowan and several other counties have decided to stop issuing licenses to all couples rather than face claims of discrimination. The clerks cite personal beliefs against same-sex marriage for not issuing the licenses.

The ACLU of Kentucky is prepared to file lawsuits against those clerks, and would cite in its filing the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, said Bill Sharp, a staff attorney with the organization.

“Any county clerk’s decision to refuse to issue them a marriage license where they’re otherwise qualified to receive such a license, we’ll be happy to represent those individuals and sue the county clerk in that office,” Sharp said.

Soon after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, Gov. Steve Beshear issued an order saying Kentucky would immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and also recognize such unions.

In an email on Monday, Beshear urged clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples and said that same-sex couples are entitled to a marriage license by every county clerk in the state.

“While there are certainly strongly held views on both sides of this issue, the fact remains that each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs,” Beshear said.

Attorney General Jack Conway also advised clerks against denying marriage licenses.

“Any clerk that refuses to issue marriage licenses is opening himself or herself to potential legal liability and sanctions,” Conway said. “Any couple denied a license may seek remedy in federal court, but should consult with a private attorney about their particular situation.”

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Many same-sex marriage opponents have remained resolved against issuing licenses following Friday’s landmark court ruling. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an advisory opinion saying county clerks in his state can deny same-sex marriages on personal religious grounds.

Paxton also claims that pro-bono lawyers will be available to represent clerks with religious objections.

University of Kentucky employment law professor Scott Bauries said he expects clerks to seek protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“What they’re thinking is they can object as individual citizens to something they are required to do as part of their employment,” Bauries said, adding that this is an untested area of the law because the issue involves government officials.

“When you do your job as a government employee, you are not working in your own interest as an individual citizen,” he said.

“You are working as a government employee, and therefore you are the government for the purposes of that job. Which means anything the government can’t do, you can’t do.”

University of Louisville law professor Samuel Marcosson said that clerks don’t have the right to impose their beliefs in a way that deprives others of constitutionally protected rights.

“They have to carry out that legal responsibility and if they can’t because of their religious beliefs, they have to make sure that somebody else does so that all people’s rights are respected,” Marcosson said.

As elected officials, county clerks take an oath to defend the Kentucky and U.S. Constitution.

According to a Bluegrass Poll from March, 57 percent of Kentuckians oppose same-sex marriage.

]]> http://wfpl.org/aclu-kentucky-willing-sue-county-clerks-refusing-issue-marriage-licenses/feed/ 0 In Appalachia, Fatalistic Beliefs About Cancer Stall Preventive Steps, Study Says http://wfpl.org/appalachia-fatalistic-beliefs-cancer-stall-preventive-steps-study-says/ http://wfpl.org/appalachia-fatalistic-beliefs-cancer-stall-preventive-steps-study-says/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:49:32 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38895 A fatalistic attitude toward cervical cancer may discourage Appalachian women from taking steps to prevent the disease, according to a recent study from University of Kentucky researchers. And that perceived lack of control over health and cervical cancer leads many women in the region … Read Story

]]> A fatalistic attitude toward cervical cancer may discourage Appalachian women from taking steps to prevent the disease, according to a recent study from University of Kentucky researchers.

And that perceived lack of control over health and cervical cancer leads many women in the region to be significantly less likely to complete all three doses of the HPV vaccine, the study said.

A team of researchers with the university’s Rural Cancer Prevention Center did the study.

The findings could help health professionals have more constructive conversations with women in Appalachia about the importance of receiving the full HPV vaccine, said Robin Vanderpool, associate professor and lead author of the study.

“What are the barriers? Whether they are internal barriers or external barriers. What are the barriers to you finishing? If we start the series today, what are your barriers to finishing,” she said.

A lack of transportation, health insurance and knowledge about cervical cancer are factors, along with cost, in preventing women in Eastern Kentucky and the surround area from completing the HPV vaccine program, the study said.

Researchers gave 344 women ages 18 to 26 living in an eight-county region in Appalachia the first dosage of the HPV vaccine and then asked their views on cancer.

The researchers found that beliefs of the inevitability of developing cancer due to familial history, the perception that cancer is unavoidable, and that cancer is a death sentence.

Vanderpool said having negative beliefs about health outcomes can prevent people from getting screenings and taking part in other programs.

“You may be less likely to do some of this proactive, preventative health measures that we have available, or health activities like screening like vaccination,” Vanderpool said.

The study concludes that identifying and intervening on individual-level barriers to vaccine series completion is necessary to improve HPV vaccination rates among young women.

]]> http://wfpl.org/appalachia-fatalistic-beliefs-cancer-stall-preventive-steps-study-says/feed/ 0 Supreme Court Blocks Obama Administration Plan On Power Plant Emissions http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-blocks-obama-administration-plan-on-power-plant-emissions/ http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-blocks-obama-administration-plan-on-power-plant-emissions/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:36:23 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=38890&preview_id=38890 In a 5-4 ruling, the court says the Environmental Protection Agency should have taken into account the costs of complying with regulation. Read Story

]]> The Supreme court has ruled against an Obama administration effort to limit toxic mercury emissions from power plants, saying the costs of compliance with regulation should be taken into account.

In a 5-4 decision, the court sided with industry and 23 states that challenged the Environmental Protection Agency over the rules for oil- and coal-fired utilities, which the EPA estimated would cost $9.6 billion dollars annually. The states and industry groups said the cost estimate far outweighed the benefits the rules would produce, estimated at $4 million to $6 million per year.

The courts majority agreed, saying the EPA interpreted the regulation “unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants.”

NPR’s Nina Totenberg has this background on the case, Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency:

“The regulations have been in the works for nearly two decades. Work on them began in the Clinton administration, got derailed in the George W. Bush administration, and then were revived and adopted in the Obama administration.

“The regulations were subsequently upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., last year.

“They stem from 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, which ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to expedite limits on power plant emissions of mercury and 188 other dangerous air pollutants.

“Mercury is considered one of the most toxic pollutants because studies show that when it falls from the atmosphere, it readily passes from fish and other sources to a pregnant woman’s unborn fetus and the fetal brain, causing neurological abnormalities and delays in children. The EPA estimated that 7 percent of American women of childbearing age — millions of women — were being exposed to the pollutant in dangerous amounts.”

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

]]> http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-blocks-obama-administration-plan-on-power-plant-emissions/feed/ 0 Court Upholds Louisville’s Minimum Wage Hike http://wfpl.org/court-upholds-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/ http://wfpl.org/court-upholds-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:01:17 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38883 An effort launched by industry groups to stop Louisville’s minimum wage law from going into effect was struck down by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman on Monday. Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance in December that gradually raises the city’s minimum … Read Story

]]> An effort launched by industry groups to stop Louisville’s minimum wage law from going into effect was struck down by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman on Monday.

Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance in December that gradually raises the city’s minimum wage in the city to $9 an hour by July 2017.

The city was the first metro area in the South to put a minimum wage increase into law.

The ordinance starts getting phased-in starting this Wednesday.

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In February, the Kentucky Restaurant Association, the Kentucky Retail Federation and Packaging Unlimited in Louisville, filed a lawsuit asking the judge to stop the law, as well as settle a legal question over whether the council had the authority to raise wages in the first place.

Brent Baughman, an attorney representing the industry groups, argued that metro government doesn’t have the legal authority to set a separate minimum wage higher than the one established by state law.

However, Judge McDonald-Burkman disagreed.

According to the court order, “Louisville Metro is a consolidated local government per KRS 67C.101 with ‘all the powers an privileges that cities of the first class and their counties are, or may hereafter be, authorized to exercise under the Constitution and the general laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, including but not limited to those powers granted to cities of the first class and their counties under their respective home rule powers.’”

Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement that he is pleased with the court’s ruling.

“The Metro Council and I took this step last summer to provide working families a higher minimum wage because we know that many struggle to pay for housing, food, clothing and medical care,” he said.  “Today’s favorable ruling will have a real impact on many Louisville families.”

This ruling could also have an impact on whether other Kentucky cities enact similar laws. Advocates have said they are closely watching Louisville’s case because they want to know if judges think local government’s have the power to change wage laws, which means this could also decide whether local governments in Kentucky have the authority to pass all sorts of ordinances.

Attorneys with the plaintiffs in this case did not immediately return calls for comment or whether they will appeal the decision.

You can read the entire ruling here:

]]> http://wfpl.org/court-upholds-louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike/feed/ 0 For Same-Sex Marriage Opponents, The Fight Is Far From Over http://wfpl.org/for-same-sex-marriage-opponents-the-fight-is-far-from-over/ http://wfpl.org/for-same-sex-marriage-opponents-the-fight-is-far-from-over/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:59:09 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=38878&preview_id=38878 Some opponents of same-sex marriage are vowing to fight on after Friday's Supreme Court ruling. The battles will likely take place in the lower courts and will involve religious liberty cases. Read Story

]]> The Supreme Court decision Friday that upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry was one for the history books. Obergefell v. Hodges was exalted by gay rights groups and their supporters, and condemned by those who believe that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman.

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Opponents of same-sex marriage say that the fight is far from over.

In fact, many of them did not wait long before raising the idea of passing a constitutional amendment to ban it. The prospect that the attempt will prove successful seems unlikely, though. Constitutional amendments are easy to talk about but rarely enacted — and polls show that a clear majority of Americans support the right of LGBT people to marry.

Still, opponents say that there are other avenues to pursue — in Congress, state legislatures and the courts.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, compares this week’s Supreme Court opinion to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision making abortion a legal right. A future court, he says, could revisit the issue.

“That’s why it’s critical that people of faith, others who understand that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, get out and support candidates that are committed to overturning this decision,” Brown says.

More immediately, advocates on both sides say that the battle will now be fought in the lower courts and will involve religious liberty cases.

Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom — a group representing a Colorado bakery owner who was sued after refusing for religious reasons to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple — also represents clients in several other, similar cases. Following the Obergefell ruling, he expects that same-sex marriage advocates will step up their legal challenges.

“I think their efforts, as we’ve seen already, are primarily targeted at businesses that are owned by religious folks who object to creating expression or are being forced to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs,” he says.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say that there will be a push now in state legislatures to adopt laws protecting those business owners who argue their religious beliefs prevent them from serving same-sex couples. But that’s likely to be an uphill climb.

Arizona’s conservative Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious freedom law last year, saying that it was too divisive. A few months ago, Indiana quickly rewrote its religious freedom law and added protections for sexual orientation to head off a threatened boycott.

The battle is likely to be about more than bakeries, printers and flower shops. Marcy Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, says that the Supreme Court decision clearly makes exemptions for churches and ministers who don’t want to preside over marriages of same-sex couples.

“But I think what we’ll see is a push for religious nonprofits, not just houses of worship,” she says, “to be able to get exemptions from having to provide services to same-sex couples.”

To that end, same-sex marriage opponents are looking to Congress and a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA.

Brown says that the bill would protect businesses and nonprofits — so-called 501(c)(3) groups — that refuse to provide services to same sex couples.

“That means they cannot be stripped of the right for federal contracts,” he says. “They cannot be stripped of their 501(c)(3) status. They cannot be treated as if they are the functional equivalent of racists.”

In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that religious groups have a constitutionally protected right to advocate against same-sex marriage:

“It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.

“The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”

Tedesco says that’s a message from the court that the dispute over same-sex marriage is not like earlier battles over racial discrimination.

“Culturally, we have to make the case that these things are completely different,” Tedesco says. “And I think the Supreme Court rightly recognized that, by recognizing that people who believe this do so in good faith.”

For those who oppose this week’s Supreme Court decision, that may be the most important battle.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

]]> http://wfpl.org/for-same-sex-marriage-opponents-the-fight-is-far-from-over/feed/ 0 Supreme Court Rulings, Confederate Flag, Mark Shift In Culture Wars http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rulings-confederate-flag-mark-shift-in-culture-wars/ http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rulings-confederate-flag-mark-shift-in-culture-wars/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 12:19:36 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=38873&preview_id=38873 Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage this week, and the debate over the Confederate flag, mark the apparent end of several battles in the culture war. Read Story

]]> There has been a big reset in the culture wars.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in all 50 states. States across the South are lowering the confederate flag, and the Supreme Court has, for the second time, voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

The results marked big wins for liberals after decades-long battles, in one form or another, on some of the issues.

“I think that what these things say is that the country is ready to move on from some some very divisive debates that have divided us, frankly, in some cases for generations,” said Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist and former aide to President Obama.

That certainly is true about the Confederate flag and, to some extent, same-sex marriage. Even Obamacare, while still unpopular, is generating less passion than it did two years ago.

It’s hard to come up with a simple scorecard in the culture wars. On the surface, when everything that’s happened this spring is taken together, it looks like a lot of big wins for the president and his party.

“You know, I have to smile when I think about where the conventional wisdom was the day after the midterm election [in 2014] when many people were hanging crepe on the White House and declaring the Obama administration dead and suggesting that he ought to go fishing for the next two years, because there would be nothing left for him to do,” said David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Obama.”And he’s had one of the most productive periods of his presidency in the last eight months, and this past week included with the passage of the fast-track provision on trade, with this decision(s) of the Supreme Court, leaning in on the Confederate flag. It’s clear that there’s still enormous power vested in that presidency.”

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But there also may be a silver lining in all of these developments for Republicans — starting with the gay marriage ruling. Smart Republicans know their opinions are out of sync with the majority of Americans on gay marriage. And now that the Supreme Court has provided some clarity, they can work on a way to to square that circle.

Many of the Republican presidential candidates issued statements Friday saying while they disagreed with the court — and would work to reverse the ruling — they respected the dignity of those who disagreed with them.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention approved.

“I think that many candidates are taking exactly the right approach,” Moore said. “Not backing down on fundamental convictions, and yet at the same time recognizing that we have to persuade people who disagree with us, not simply scream at them. I think that’s a wise move.”

Thursday’s court decision to leave Obamacare intact may not have been such a big defeat for the GOP, either. Republican congressional leaders are probably heaving a secret sigh of relief, because they avoided the responsibility for millions of people, who could have lost their health insurance overnight.

Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said there’s a benefit for Republican presidential candidates, too.

“It liberates them to speak with clarity about what they would do if they were elected,” Conway said, adding, “They have a renewed platform to highlight the burdens and unfairness on American families and businesses through the ACA, and I think the decision makes Obamacare no more popular or workable, and now now will shift over from the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on to the workability of the Affordable Care Act.”

As for the Confederate flag — just as the Supreme Court rescued the Republicans from having to deal with the chaos of an unraveling health insurance system, Conway said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — by moving to take down the flag — helped her party in its difficult quest to appeal to an electorate growing more diverse by the day.

“The Confederate flag is a great example also of some divisions in the Republicans party in terms of swiftness,” Conway said, “and for Governor Hailey and Senator Tim Scott — first African American elected in the Deep South since Reconstruction to the United States Senate — for them to stand there and really show their humility and their action but also the diversity of the modern Republican Party really goes a long way for many Americans.”

All these issues — race and guns — Obamacare, gay rights and religious liberty will continue to be debated over the next year. But in the past couple of weeks, the terms of that debate have been reshaped — and both parties will have to readjust.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

]]> http://wfpl.org/supreme-court-rulings-confederate-flag-mark-shift-in-culture-wars/feed/ 0 Strange Fruit: Sights and Sounds from Marriage Equality Decision Day http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-marriage-equality-at-last-sights-sounds-from-decision-day/ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-marriage-equality-at-last-sights-sounds-from-decision-day/#comments Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38858 Friday was a historic day for the U.S., and we spent it experiencing and documenting some of the sights and sounds of all the Decision Day activities here in Louisville! On this week’s show, we share those sounds with you. … Read Story

]]> Friday was a historic day for the U.S., and we spent it experiencing and documenting some of the sights and sounds of all the Decision Day activities here in Louisville!

On this week’s show, we share those sounds with you.

We started out at a press conference, where we heard first from attorneys Dan Canon and Laura Landenwich. Then plaintiff Luke Meade-Barlowe talked about how he met his husband, Jim, almost 48 years ago, and they got married in Iowa in 2009.

Meade-Barlowe struggled through tears as he reflected on how much things have changed. “We had never held hands in public. It was just not something that was done, You didn’t even think about gay people being married, let alone adopting children,” he said. “Some people are not as smart as we are.” He answered some questions from the press, then concluded by saying, “Watch this!” and kissing his husband at the podium, amid applause.

Larry Ysunza holds the first license issued in Jefferson CountyJackie Whitaker

Larry Ysunza holds the first license issued in Jefferson County

Plaintiff Tim Love told the gathered crowd that he and his partner, Larry Ysunza, plan to get married  in October. “Today we’re gonna see the end to a lot of very long engagements in the state of Kentucky,” he predicted. “I can’t tell you how happy we are. We never thought we’d see this day in our lifetime. 35 years is a long time to wait to have your relationship recognized.”

We also heard from friends to the show Michael Aldridge from the ACLU of Kentucky, and Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman. “As a gay man this affects me personally outside of my job,” Aldridge said. “I am overwhelmed with joy. I just want to go find my husband and hold him tight.”

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Tadd Roberts and Benjamin MooreHours After Supreme Court Ruling, Louisville Same-Sex Couples Get Marriage Licenses

As the press conference was wrapping up, word came through that Gov. Steve Beshear had ordered all county clerks in the commonwealth to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as they had the proper forms. Ysunza immediately dropped to one knee and proposed. We followed the throng of couples, lawyers, and media, to the Jefferson County Clerk’s office.

There was some confusion at first, while deputy clerks there waited for new marriage license templates that would not say “bride” and “groom.” We waited in the hallway as more couples began showing up to get their licenses. Friends, family members, and supporters came in to celebrate. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer came in carrying bottles of chilled champagne for the engaged couples.

Eventually, new forms were sent over from the Kentucky Department of Libraries, and Love and Ysunza became the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Jefferson County.

Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts were married in the County Clerk's officeJackie Whitaker

Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts were married in the County Clerk’s office

Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts caused an audible reaction among the crowd when they walked in wearing tuxedos, followed by a minister in a long black robe. The couple, who have been together for more than a decade, filled out their paperwork, and the minister immediately began officiating a wedding ceremony in the middle of the county clerk’s office.

WFPL’s Jacob Ryan was there with us, and produced an audio postcard of what’s believed to be the first legally binding same-sex marriage in the state of Kentucky (we can’t promise that some of the sniffles you’ll hear in the background weren’t ours).

We close the show this week with the last passage of the Supreme Court’s opinion, which we predict will find its way into some wedding ceremonies before long:

Mayor Fischer congratulates Tim LoveJackie Whitaker

Mayor Fischer congratulates Tim Love

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”

It was an unforgettable day in Louisville, and #TeamStrangeFruit is so happy to be able to bring you an archive of it. We hope you feel like you were right there with us, witnessing history!

Click here to support Strange Fruit!

]]> http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-marriage-equality-at-last-sights-sounds-from-decision-day/feed/ 0 Louisville Poetry Class Uses Writing for Addiction Recovery http://wfpl.org/louisville-poetry-class-uses-writing-addiction-recovery/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-poetry-class-uses-writing-addiction-recovery/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38718 In a conference room at the Hotel Louisville—with coffee and styrofoam cups on a table in the back—about 30 women ranging in age from mid-20s to maybe early ’60s, recently pulled their chairs into a broad circle, greeting each other warmly. All … Read Story

]]> In a conference room at the Hotel Louisville—with coffee and styrofoam cups on a table in the back—about 30 women ranging in age from mid-20s to maybe early ’60s, recently pulled their chairs into a broad circle, greeting each other warmly.

All of these women were formerly homeless and in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, but this wasn’t another 12-step meeting.

“Today we’re going to be writing about ourselves,” said Kristen Miller, programming and development director for Sarabande Books, a small publishing house based in Louisville.

“And if this was a high school English class, I would say that we’re going to be writing about ourselves in third person. But this isn’t English class, so we’re going to be writing about ourselves in disguise, and we’re going to be doing that by writing about pie.”

Poetry can be a way to express important thoughts and emotions that can’t otherwise be shared. One group of women in Louisville is learning how to use writing to help change their course in life.

Miller teaches this writing class every Thursday morning.

In this particular session, the class read aloud a series of short poems describing different kinds of women according to their favorite kind of pie, and Miller asked them to respond.

“What were some other things that you noticed about these poems?” Miller said.

One participant said, “They compared it to something in their life. Their style, their way of life, they compared it to that.” Others in the class nodded.

unnamedSarabande Books

Miller then passed out worksheets to help the women write their own poems, describing themselves through the kind of pie they liked.

Hotel Louisville is run by the Wayside Christian Mission, and all of the participants live at the hotel while they’re in the program. They adhere to a busy schedule —it’s harder for them to relapse if they don’t have much free time.

There are 12-step meetings, parenting classes, and job training to help the women get ready to re-enter the working world. This creative writing class is optional, but they get credit for attending. A woman named Lisa said it’s a highlight of her week.

We have a nutrition class as well,” said Lisa, whose full name was withheld out of privacy concerns. “These are the two things I look forward to the most, the nutrition class and the creative writing. ‘Cause it’s like therapeutic things, get out of yourself, get out of recovery just for that moment.”

After about 10 minutes of quiet writing time, the women were ready to share what they’d written.

The woman who loves sweet potato pie is always as sweet as the pie itself. She listens to all and slices the fall to protect those who need protection. She’s not very tall and not very short, has cinnamon colored hair and sugar colored nails. She quotes each day to no avail, when life gives you yams, make sweet potato pie. 

The woman who loves blackberry pie is strong, is never wrong.

The woman who loves Hello Dolly pie likes to sit by a babbling brook with the wind on her face, listening to the sounds of nature sing. 

The woman who loves key lime pie is always on time. She’s there at the drop of a dime. She is the pendulum that strikes your chime. She’d never get caught committing a crime. My oh my, ain’t she fine. 

unnamedAt the end of each six-week session, Miller selects one piece by each participant to include in a small printed book. And just like any other author, the writers are invited to take part in a public reading.

Wayside Chief Operating Officer Nina Moseley said the final reading is always emotional.

“When they can actually stand up and read their poetry to the group, I have seen these ladies burst into tears,” Moseley said.

“It’s so emotional for them. That’s their heart and soul, that’s their feelings that they’re putting out on paper and I guess, once it’s on paper and they’re reading it, it really hits them, this is my reality now.”

Even though the subject matter was sometimes heavy, there was a lot of laughter in the room. Kristen Miller said she wants the participants to enjoy the class, not feel like they’re sitting in school.

“They’re doing the most difficult work you can imagine, you know, recovering. So that’s why I try to make this not seem like work,” Miller said.

The public reading for this group of writers is Friday night at 7 p-m at the Hotel Louisville on Broadway. You can find more information here.

(Top image: The Hotel Louisville/Joseph Lord. Secondary images provided by Sarabande Books)

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-poetry-class-uses-writing-addiction-recovery/feed/ 0 Former Kentucky Lawmaker Convicted of Bribing Mine Inspector http://wfpl.org/former-kentucky-lawmaker-convicted-bribing-mine-inspector/ http://wfpl.org/former-kentucky-lawmaker-convicted-bribing-mine-inspector/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:39:58 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38849 A federal jury in eastern Kentucky has convicted a former state lawmaker of bribing a state mine inspector. The U.S. District Court jury in Pikeville found coal mine owner and former Democratic state Rep. W. Keith Hall of Phelps guilty … Read Story

]]> A federal jury in eastern Kentucky has convicted a former state lawmaker of bribing a state mine inspector.

The U.S. District Court jury in Pikeville found coal mine owner and former Democratic state Rep. W. Keith Hall of Phelps guilty after deliberating about 90 minutes Friday.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the 55-year-old Hall declined to comment as he left the courthouse with his family.

Prosecutors accused Hall of arranging for about $46,000 in bribes to former state mine inspector Kelly Shortridge.

Defense lawyer Brent Caldwell said most of the money was for legitimate coal-related business deals between the men. Caldwell said while it’s not illegal, it’s never a good idea for a mine owner to do business with the inspector assigned to his mines.

Shortridge pleaded guilty earlier to soliciting a bribe.

]]> http://wfpl.org/former-kentucky-lawmaker-convicted-bribing-mine-inspector/feed/ 0 Listen To Louisville’s First Legal Same-Sex Wedding http://wfpl.org/listen-louisvilles-first-legal-sex-marriage/ http://wfpl.org/listen-louisvilles-first-legal-sex-marriage/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:31:51 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38827 Twelve years after first meeting and almost four years after being engaged, Tadd Roberts and Benjamin Moore on Friday became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Louisville.Roberts and Moore made their way to the Jefferson County Clerk’s … Read Story

]]> Twelve years after first meeting and almost four years after being engaged, Tadd Roberts and Benjamin Moore on Friday became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Louisville.

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Tadd Roberts and Benjamin MooreHours After Supreme Court Ruling, Louisville Same-Sex Couples Get Marriage Licenses

Roberts and Moore made their way to the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office in downtown Louisville  just hours after the Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage across the nation.

They wore traditional black tuxedos, and then they stood, hands clasped, in the middle of the clerk’s office. Flanking them were family, reporters, advocates and city officials.

Listen

Roberts and Moore had been engaged for four years and recently had a formal ceremony—but on Friday it became official.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time,” Moore said.

(Photo by Jackie Clarkson)

]]> http://wfpl.org/listen-louisvilles-first-legal-sex-marriage/feed/ 0 Governor Beshear Appoints Two to University of Louisville Board of Trustees http://wfpl.org/governor-beshear-appoints-two-to-university-of-louisville-board-of-trustees/ http://wfpl.org/governor-beshear-appoints-two-to-university-of-louisville-board-of-trustees/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:35:55 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38837 This story has been updated include a statement from the board’s chairman. Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday appointed two new members to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, a high-profile group riddled in the past year by tensions over … Read Story

]]> This story has been updated include a statement from the board’s chairman.

Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday appointed two new members to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, a high-profile group riddled in the past year by tensions over President James Ramsey’s management style and sharing of information.

The nominations came a day after State Auditor Adam Edelen announced he was examining the relationship between the board and the University of Louisville Foundation, a nonprofit that manages charitable contributions to the school.

The new appointees are:

Paul Diaz, executive vice chairman for Kindred Healthcare Inc, who is replacing the Rev. Kevin Cosby.

Larry M. Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, replacing Phoebe Wood.

Larry Benz, CEO of PT Development in Louisville, was reappointed to the board.

The Courier-Journal reports that Benz is one the members who has called for a review of the University of Louisville Foundation, saying that its management of the school’s $1.1 billion endowment has grown too complex.

The board has been divided over how to handle its relationship with the University of Louisville Foundation, with Ramsey—who is also president of the foundation—denouncing calls for an audit.

Last year the foundation independently awarded hefty deferred compensation packages to Ramsey, Executive Vice President Shirley Willihnganz, and Ramsey’s chief of staff Kathleen Smith.

According to tax documents filed last year, Ramsey was awarded $1.86 million, Willihnganz received more than $663,000 and Smith received more than $272,000 in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Auditor Edelen will also investigate the governance structure of the school’s board of trustees, which oversees compensation of the school’s president, faculty and staff.

The new U of L trustees were chosen by Beshear from a larger list of candidates recommended by the governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee. The committee had put out a call for nominations on May 13 and met Thursday to recommend names to Beshear. The committee recommends three people for every vacancy.

The two new board members replace Kevin Cosby and Phoebe Wood, whose terms expire Tuesday. Cosby, appointed in July 2009, is a minister and president of Simmons College of Kentucky. Wood, also appointed in July 2009, is the principal at CompaniesWood, a Louisville firm that advises and invests in early-stage companies.

The university released the following statement Friday night from Board Chairman Robert C. Hughes.

I welcome Paul Diaz and Larry Hayes to the Board of Trustees and look forward to working with them in support of the University of Louisville. I thank Dr. Kevin Cosby and Phoebe Wood for their outstanding leadership and their many contributions to U of L. Kevin and Phoebe always held the welfare of all our students as paramount, and they were Trustees who promoted the betterment and inclusiveness of the University at all times. We could count on their compassionate insight, and we want to continue to work with them in their new role as former Trustees.

***

This story was co-reported by WFPL News and Louisville Public Media’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Disclosure: In October 2014, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $10,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. Trustee Stephen Campbell has donated to KyCIR. 

 

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