Politics
7:30 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Bill Blocking Taxpayer Dollars in City Ethics Cases Clears House Panel

Democratic State Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville
Credit keeplarryclark.com

A bill requiring Louisville Metro officials and employees to pay for their own defense attorneys when charged with an ethics violation passed a state House committee by a unanimous vote.

State Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, introduced the measure citing the over $180,000 in costs for two cases involving members of the Metro Council in recent years.

"I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers to have to pay for a lawyer for those of us in public service," Clark told WFPL earlier this week. "I think we should be held at a higher standard."

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Arts and Humanities
7:30 am
Thu February 14, 2013

The Big Break: Surprises on Stage

On our audio diary series The Big Break, our emerging performers encounter some surprises on stage and learn that every show brings its unique challenges and opportunities. Actors Theatre of Louisville apprentice Samantha Beach receives her crew assignments from her Humana Festival "bible," Louisville Ballet trainee Claire Horrocks re-learns how to walk like "a real person" in "Romeo and Juliet" and Kentucky Opera studio artist Brad Raymond enjoys some noir-infused fun in "Don Giovanni." 

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Opinion
6:28 am
Thu February 14, 2013

The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day

A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 11:42 am

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

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It's All Politics
6:27 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Hagel Becomes First Filibustered Defense Nominee

Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Jan. 31.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 7:01 pm

Updated on 2/14/2013 @ 5:20 pm

Thursday brought the latest twist in the saga of Chuck Hagel's nomination to be President Obama's second-term defense secretary.

Hagel's nomination came two Senate votes short of the required 60 that would have allowed it to proceed to a final vote. The vote, largely along party lines, was 58 to 40 with one senator voting present.

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Politics
6:10 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

After Tough Debate, Senate Passes Bill Allowing Panel Reviews in Nursing Home Abuses Cases

Julie Denton
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The state Senate on Wednesday approved that sets up a panel to review abuse cases from nursing homes.

Three doctors would be put on the panel to review abuse cases; the bill would not prevent patients from filing lawsuits, but the findings from the panel could be admissible in court.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a party-line vote—Republican for, Democrats against.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, said the goal is to crack down on bad lawsuits, while still protecting nursing home patients.

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Politics
6:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell Leads Ashley Judd 49-40 in New Poll

Mitch McConnell and Ashley Judd

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leads actress Ashley Judd by nine percentage points, according to new poll released Wednesday.

The survey was conducted by RunSwitch & Harper Polling, which was co-founded by Republican strategist Scott Jennings of Kentucky.

It has a 3.3 percent margin of error and surveyed 850 likely voters.

Besides a near 10-point lead for McConnell, the firm shows the GOP leader with 60 percent support among Republican primary voters versus "someone else."

Those figures differ from previous polls showing McConnell struggling amongst his base.

"My takeaways from the survey are that Senator McConnell is in solid-shape among Republicans and general election voters, and that Ashley Judd, for someone who has never run for office, already has a tough hole out of which to climb regarding her own image," Jennings said in a online statement.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Bill Clears Indiana Senate Panel

The Indiana Senate Public Health Committee is advancing a proposal to expand Medicaid using the state's health savings account plan.

The panel voted 9-3 today to request that the federal government allow Indiana to use its Healthy Indiana Plan to cover the roughly 400,000 residents who would qualify under an expansion.

The measure, which has the backing of Gov. Mike Pence, now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.   A similar proposal has been introduced in the House.

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Politics
5:13 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Kentucky House Committee Backs Automatic Collection of DNA From Felony Suspects

Credit Creative Commons

Legislation to allow the automatic collection of DNA samples from felony suspects easily won committee approval Wednesday in the Kentucky House.

The DNA would be gathered with a cheek swab. It would be tested and results recorded, so it could be used to identify suspects in other cases. 

The House Judiciary Committee heard from Jayann Sepich, whose daughter Katie was raped and murdered in 2003 near her New Mexico home. She says this simple process has the power to quickly punish the guilty and heal the harm they’ve done.

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Politics
5:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike

Democratic Councilman Rick Blackwell
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, is pulling his support of an ordinance to help pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the city’s tax on insurance premiums.

The proposal was introduced by Democratic lawmakers this week, and seeks to increase the tax by one percentage point to raise an estimated $9.7 million.

Supporters argue going from a 5 to 6 percent rate represents a small increase per month for average residents.

In an e-mail message sent Feb. 11 to Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9—the bill's chief sponsor—the Jefferson County attorney’s office said it is "unconstitutional" to designate public funding exclusively for affordable housing

Any new revenue would have to go through the general fund first, and that is unraveling the bill's support.

"I think it’s problematic if it’s not a dedicated source. That’s what people had signed on for," says Blackwell. "It was supposed to be a way to take care of some of the issues in our neighborhoods with the abandoned and foreclosed on homes. And if it’s not dedicated to that I think you’ll have a hard time keeping sponsors and keeping people on board to vote for it."

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Environment
4:09 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Experts Say Tree Removed for Speed Expansion Was Only 60 Years Old

The mystery tree in 1974, left, and recently, right.
Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum has produced photos (see image) showing the supposedly 300-year-old tree that was removed last year to make way for the museum’s expansion. The first picture is from 1974, the second is more recent.

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