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Environment
12:29 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Court Rules Army Corps' Streamlined Coal Mining Permit Doesn't Protect Environment

Gabe Bullard WFPL

An appeals court has ruled in favor of environmental groups that argued the streamlined permit the government used to permit mountaintop removal mines wasn’t protective of the environment.

The decision was issued today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It finds that the U.S. Army Corps’ issuance of the streamlined “Nationwide 21” permit is in violation of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Rep. Massie Turns Down Federal Pension Benefit

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie is declining the federal pension benefit given to Capitol Hill lawmakers.

The freshman Republican legislator represents northern Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District.

Massie says he has declined to accept payments to his retirement fund since taking office.

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Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

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Politics
11:08 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Addresses Progress Kentucky, Defends Record on Mental Health Issues

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,

In a new op-ed piece, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell finally addresses a liberal super PAC accused of recording of his campaign office.

McConnell has personally avoided talking about Progress Kentucky directly, but his re-election campaign and surrogates have focused on the groups in TV ads and news releases. 

Some observers have said the issue at hand isn't how the secret recording of the McConnell campaign was obtained, but aides talking about Ashley Judd's struggles with depression as a part of opposition research.

The GOP leader takes time to respond to newspaper columnist Merlene Davis, who wrote McConnell owed Judd an apology for strategizing on how to attack the Hollywood actresses's past mental health problems but not before taking a swipe at the "partisan zealots" at Progress.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Shortly after the FBI began investigating a criminal recording at my campaign headquarters, Davis penned an opinion column here echoing the framework of the left-wing journalist who obtained the illegally recorded audio in the first place.

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Politics
10:57 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Richie Farmer Indicted, Accused of Misappropriating State Funds

Richie Farmer
Credit File photo

LEXINGTON — Richie Farmer, the basketball star turned Kentucky politician, was indicted last week on charges stemming from his tenure as state agriculture commissioner.

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Politics
10:20 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Indiana Lawmakers Could Wrap Up Session This Week

The 2013 Indiana General Assembly is winding down, with legislative leaders saying they may be able to wrap up business early.

The Indiana General Assembly faces an April 29 deadline to wrap up its business, including adoption of a new, two-year state budget.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said last week that he thought the legislature might be able to finish its work by the end of this week.     If that happens, lawmakers would not have to return to the Statehouse for a final day on Monday, April 29.

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Politics
10:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Beshear May Still Call Special Session for Redistricting, Tax Reform

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Despite passing some pension and tax reforms in this year's Kentucky General Assembly session, state lawmakers aren't out of the clear when it comes to another special session.

A few big issues still remain for lawmakers—mainly redistricting and more tax reform.

Gov. Steve Beshear has the sole authority to call a special sessions and to set their agenda. And with Beshear continuing to express a need for more tax reform to pay for education, he's not ruling out calling a special session sometime this year.

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Environment
7:33 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Source of Contamination in Park Hill Homes May Not Be From Black Leaf Plant

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of soil near Louisville’s former Black Leaf Chemical Plant continues, but the agency still isn’t sure how much of the contamination of nearby land—including some private lawns—can be blamed on the plant. And now, an agency spokesman says some of the preliminary results suggest one of the most prevalent chemicals found might not have come from the facility at all. 

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

New Voices Festival Celebrates Young Playwrights

Playwright Chanze Castro discusses a script change with director Steven Rahe.
Erin Keane WFPL News

Actors Theatre of Louisvilles' apprentices open their final production of the season tonight. The New Voices Young Playwrights Festival is a bill of ten-minute plays written by eight area high school students. 

The plays were selected from more than 500 ten-minute plays submitted by middle and high school students from Kentucky and Southern Indiana this year. Each play in the festival receives a full production, with a director, designers, a dramaturg, a cast of apprentice actors and a seat in the rehearsal hall for the playwright. 

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Education
6:28 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Board Members Consider Asking for State Audit of Jefferson County Public Schools

The Jefferson County Board of Education

Jefferson County school board members are considering asking Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen to perform a special audit of Jefferson County Public Schools.

"I think it’s something that’s going to be happening here fairly soon,” school board member Chris Brady told WFPL.

Brady couldn’t give specifics on what the state audit would look at. But Brady and board member David Jones Jr. have said it would be healthy for any organization to have an outsider look at the system for improvement.

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