Rae Hodge

Capitol Intern

Rae Hodge is senior political journalism major at the University of Louisville, graduating in May 2013. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Louisville Cardinal, and is an intern for Kentucky Public Radio in the state Capitol.  

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Politics
1:26 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Amended Hemp Bill Passes Kentucky Legislature; Comer OK With Result

James Comer
Credit File photo

Kentucky lawmakers have achieved a compromise that would set up a regulatory framework should the federal government legalize industrial hemp.

The so-called hemp bill—Senate Bill 50—gives control of licensing of future hemp farmers to the Industrial Hemp Commission, but allow the Kentucky State Police to do background checks on the farmers.

The state Department of Agriculture would be given many administrative roles for licensing hemp farmers and the University of Kentucky would be charged with researching the issue.

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Politics
1:06 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Deal Reached on Kentucky Military Voting Legislation, Passes in Final Minutes of Session

Credit Creative Commons

Kentucky military personnel serving overseas will be able to get ballots electronically under legislation approved late Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly. How they send them back is still to be determined.

Working until the last minute of the 2013 session, legislators went back to the original Senate version of the military voting bill that allowed for electronic sending of ballots to overseas military, but snail mail return of the ballot.

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Politics
9:53 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Lawmakers Approve Litany of Alcohol Bills, Including Sales on Election Day

Kentuckians in wet and moist counties may soon be able to buy alcohol on election days.

 The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed Senate Bill 13, sponsored by State Senator John Schickel, a Republican from Union. Under the bill, small businesses and tourist destinations along Kentucky's Bourbon trail would also be able to stay open during election days.

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Politics
3:14 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Charges Dismissed in Mayor Greg Fischer Election Finance Case

Credit File photo

In the closing decision of the case against Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance has dismissed the last of the civil charges filed regarding Fischer's use of campaign funds.

The registry initially found that former Fischer Inaugural Committee Co-Chair Marty Cogan indirectly violated state campaign finance law by soliciting money to fund Fischer's inaugural party under a title for which he was not formally registered.

Despite the finding, KREF officials have dismissed
the charge, following the recommendation of general counsel.

Fischer and his associates were accused of using funds raised expressly for Fischer's inaugural party to pay down outstanding debts incurred during his mayoral campaign.

Under Kentucky campaign laws, funds raised for the purpose of inauguration cannot be used to pay off campaign debt.

"The charges had been brought and they really were without foundation," said Cogan's attorney, Donald Cox. "And if a full investigation had been done initially, the charges never would have been brought. But that's the nature of what goes on in these proceedings. And so we're just happy that we've been completely vindicated."

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Politics
4:19 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Special Prosecutor Named in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Public Integrity Case

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission will make a ruling on its case involving Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, this week while the criminal investigation against the embattled lawmaker is moving forward.

Shanklin is facing five charges of violating the city's code of ethics, including accusations that she misused taxpayer money in relation to an upholstery training program her office championed.

The commission has a range of options in the case, from declining any punishment to recommending Shanklin be booted from office.

It cannot bring criminal charges against the councilwoman, but a separate investigation conducted by the Louisville Metro Police's Public Integrity Unit could.

The police have finished their probe and forwarded the case to a special prosecutor, First Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Robert Schaefer.

Schaefer tells WFPL he hasn’t had a change to review the extensive caseload, including a large number of binders, an internal audit and hundreds of pages of documents, but his office is taking the case seriously.

"Obviously this case has attracted a lot of interest, and we take all the cases that we do seriously. So I’m not going to rush and put something out there before I’ve had a chance to go through it," he says.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear: No Deal on Pension Reform In Sight, Special Session Becomes More Likely

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

With no deal and time running out, a special session is becoming more likely for Kentucky lawmakers to reform the underfunded pension programs for state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Tuesday.

It's unlikely that the General Assembly will address pension reform before legislators leave Frankfort after Tuesday for a brief period called the veto break, Beshear said. Legislators have 

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Politics
5:42 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Once an Aspiring 'War Correspondent,' Morgan McGarvey Settles into Senate

Morgan McGarvey
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Freshman State Sen. Morgan McGarvey is built like his predecessor, Tim Shaughnessy.

He's slight, lean, with a legislator's firm handshake and a clean-shaven face. His frame is a little more wiry, though. The more noticeable difference is when he stands to speak on the Senate floor.

For 24 years, Shaughnessy, a Louisville Democrat, took command of his desk in such a way that made it seem to disappear to on-lookers, his voice was a familiar rallying beacon for other Democrats in the chamber.

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Local News
12:48 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Kentucky 'Religious Freedom' Bill Goes to Beshear, Critics Warn It May Gut Civil Rights Protections

Sen. Neal
Credit Rae Hodge / WFPL News

After a lengthy partisan battle that lasted hours into the night, a bill that would allow Kentuckians to ignore laws that they say violate their religious beliefs cleared the state Senate.

Supporters say the "Religious Freedom Act" sponsored by Rep. Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville, would protect religion from government encroachment. WFPL's Phillip Bailey reported earlier this week:

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Politics
3:08 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Kentucky Anti-Gambling Group: Cost Outweights Benefits

Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

FRANKFORT — Gambling brings social ills that will offset any tax revenue to Kentucky, argued a new group that rallied Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda.

About 30 people joined the group Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky for the rally, where speakers dismissed efforts in the General Assembly to expand gambling through casinos or Instant Racing.

Karen Hendersen, executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky, warned that casinos create a burden to state funds in the form of gambling addiction treatment and family assistance programs.

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Politics
6:01 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Kentucky Senate OKs Charter School Bill

Credit File photo

Voting along strict party lines, the Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would allow persistently low-performing public schools to become charter schools.

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