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4:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Pitches Local Option Sales Tax to State Lawmakers

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says a sales tax option is fundamentally about residents having the right to vote on paying for local projects.

Fischer joined the Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and county leaders from across the state in the state capitol to discuss the proposal at a General Assembly committee hearing Wednesday.

The specifics of a proposed local option sales tax in Kentucky haven't been revealed, but in general it would allow voters to approve a 1-percent tax increase that would go toward specific efforts such as new infrastructure.

Fischer says cities need a more diversified revenue stream but stressed any tax hike would be temporary.

"It’s outside of the general fund. It’s specific. So if it’s on the ballot it’ll identify the project, how much it costs, the duration of construction and it’s temporary. It’s going to go away," he said. "Now if people want to vote a new project back in they can do that. But once the specified amount of money is raised this tax sunsets and goes away.

State lawmakers have given mixed reviews while saying they will keep an open mind about the proposal.

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Arts and Humanities
4:10 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Biennial Events Offer Month-Long Exposure to Photography

Portrait of Nelson Mandela by David C. Turnley.
Credit David C. Turnley

Photography is one of our more ubiquitous art forms. The average person might be able to go a week without seeing a dance or a sculpture, but photographs are everywhere. And it’s democratic. First, the handheld camera put both portrait and landscape within the layman's reach. Now, camera phones and the Internet have turned average people into online exhibitors.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Attorney General Jack Conway: Industrial Hemp is Still Illegal in Kentucky

Hemp.
Credit Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

Attorney General Jack Conway is advising Kentucky leaders that industrial hemp farming remains illegal in Kentucky.

Conway issued an advisory letter Wednesday to Gov. Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and others to clarify current law related to hemp.

The opinion from Conway does not carry the force of law.

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow farmers to grow the crop if the federal government lifts a longstanding ban.

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Local News
3:04 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Longtime Kentucky State Rep. Dwight Butler Won't Seek Another Term

kentuckyhouserepublicans.org

Longtime Kentucky lawmaker Dwight Butler has announced he won’t seek re-election to the House next year.

Butler says he wants to devote more time to his family and real estate business.

During his 19 years in office, Butler faced challengers only twice, and represents a sprawling district that includes Breckinridge and Hancock counties, as well as parts of Bullitt, Daviess, and Hardin counties.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Stumbo Refers LRC Chief Robert Sherman's Doc Shredding to Kentucky State Police

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A Republican Kentucky House leader is calling for Kentucky State Police to be brought in to investigate document shredding by Robert Sherman following his resignation Friday as director of the Legislative Research Commission. 

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Politics
2:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Matt Bevin Praises Ted Cruz, Slams Mitch McConnell on Defunding Obamacare Fight

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin joins a rally by Tea Party activists outside Mitch McConnell's office
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

A group of Tea Party and conservative activists rallied outside of Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office, calling for the defunding of the president’s health care law.

Joined by U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin, over a dozen demonstrators spoke in support of Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, who held a nearly 24-hour marathon talk on the Senate floor to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

But McConnell disagreed with Cruz's tactic to block a federal spending bill that takes out funding Obamacare in order to keep Senate Democrats from amending the measure.

Instead, McConnell supports having a majority vote to defund the health care law while pressuring Democrats to join the GOP caucus.

Saying the GOP establishment needs to do more those rallying in downtown Louisville took McConnell's leadership to task, however.

"I can’t understand why Mitch McConnell won’t wake up and realize that (Obama) is trying to destroy us and destroy Kentucky. He’s the mouthpiece that not only we have but he represents the Republican Party in all of the United States right now," says Dan Johnson, a bishop at Heart of Fire Church in Louisville. "And if he don’t get off of his butt and get up and do what’s right, if he has any heart for the American people he will not fund Obamcare. It's time to defund Obamacare, it's time America is heard and this needs to end today."

The tactical disagreement in the GOP has been a divisive fight that was brought more to the surface by Cruz, who implicitly criticized leaders in both parties for not heeding the public's apprehensions about the health care law.

McConnell is maintaining Republican senators are united against funding the health care law, and would much rather talk about the Democrats.

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Politics
11:20 am
Wed September 25, 2013

In Kentucky Legislature, Lax Rules Govern Workplace Relationships Despite Long History of Scandal

Kentucky State Capitol
Credit Wikipedia Commons

During the 1990s, the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s public image was shaped primarily by the sordid antics of Kent Downey, whose day job there often overlapped with his sideline business promoting golf trips with scantily clad hostesses offering sex for money.

Downey, who was director of House operations prior to being fired in 1996, sometimes drank and caroused at work. He put strippers on the state payroll and adorned his office with pictures of scantily clad women and a small plant with condoms hanging from the branches.

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Education
6:52 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Kentucky CPE Developing Plan To Award Universities Money Based On Performance

Credit Shutterstock.com

Kentucky’s public universities could receive money based on their performance under a new initiative being developed by the Council on Postsecondary Education. 

Under the proposal, universities that award more degrees and graduate more minority or low-income students could be eligible to receive more money from the agency, said Council President Bob King noting that the initiative is not yet finalized.

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Politics
6:58 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Tea Party Nation Reconsidering Endorsement of McConnell Over Cruz's Anti-Obamacare Plan

Republican U.s. Sen. Mitch McConnell at a tea party rally in Kentucky.
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

In the midst of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's lengthy floor speech against the president's health care law, a tea party group is having second thoughts about endorsing GOP Leader Mitch McConnell for re-election next year.

Earlier today, McConnell rejected Cruz's plan to filibuster the House spending bill which funds the government past Oct. 1 but does not pay for Obamacare.

"We'd all be hard pressed to explain how we're against a bill we're all in favor of," McConnell told reporters.

But as a number of high-profiled conservatives—such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus—have come out to support Cruz's floor speech, the Tea Party Nation that backed McConnell in July is publicly reconsidering that decision.

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Arts and Humanities
5:02 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Fund for the Arts Crowdfunding Platform Raises $1 Million

The Fund for the Arts’ Power2Give online fundraising platform has raised more than $1 million so far for arts and culture projects produced by regional nonprofit organizations. 

In crowdfunding, individuals give online directly to a project, like helping an organization renovate a rehearsal or studio space. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two popular crowdfunding platforms, but Power2Give focuses on arts and cultural nonprofits within a specific region. 

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