Kentucky

Politics
12:55 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Rand Paul Aide/Co-Author Once Belonged to Neo-Confederate Group

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

An aide to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., is under scrutiny after reports surfaced that he spent over a decade as a neo-Confederate activist who led a group that advocates for southern secession from the union.

And the news could damper Paul's attempts to court minorities ahead of his rumored 2016 presidential bid.

Jack Hunter currently serves as Paul's social media director and co-wrote the book 'The Tea Party Goes to Washington" with the senator in 2010.

A conservative news site reveals Hunter was a member and chapter leader of a group called the League of the South, which advocates the southern states separate from the U.S. to form their own republic.

Hunter also worked as a radio show host who used the alter ego "Southern Avenger," wearing a Confederate flag mask. As the character, Hunter would opine on a number of issues such as celebrating the death of Abraham Lincoln and speaking against Spanish-speaking immigration.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

(SNIP)

“The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture, which is their code word for ‘white’,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the ADL. The ADL said it does not necessarily classify it as a hate group.

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Politics
7:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Poll: Kentuckians Favor Senate Immigration Bill 3-to-1

A new poll shows a solid majority of Kentucky voters support the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

The survey conducted by Harper Polling finds 63 percent of Kentuckians favor the so-called 'Gang of 8' legislation, with just 20 percent opposed. It also shows that 73 percent of likely voters support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

Members of Kentucky's federal delegation have been at the center of the immigration debate thus far, with  Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth working on the House version and Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both saying the Senate bill will need to be changed.

But observers note the high percentage of those in the state who support the principles of the 'Gang of 8' bill illustrates the outcome is brighter than previous attempts to reform the system.

"When you look at a number like that when it's that high it makes you think there's a chance something can actually get passed. And when Kentucky members of Congress and our two senators see this kind of approval back in their home state and back in their home districts it’s going to increase the likelihood of them wanting to vote for it," says former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is director of the Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Political Ads Supporting and Against Immigration Reform Hit Kentucky

Credit Shutterstock

Dueling political advertisements regarding the Senate bill to reform the U.S. immigration system are airing across Kentucky this week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate will begin debating legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, which also creates new work Visa programs and seeks to tighten border security.

Louisville pastor Russell Moore is featured in the radio spot running across the state, and he is joining a bipartisan group of evangelical ministers who are calling on lawmakers to pass those comprehensive reforms.

Listen:

Moore is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, which is launching a radio ad campaign in states such as Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky to reach a wide audience of evangelicals. It is part of the larger “Pray for Reform” movement made up of conservative and liberal religious groups.

Moore, who is a dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is considered a rising voice in the Southern Baptist world. He says the broad coalition includes Sojourners, and is representative of how people of faith are being moved by the immigration debate.

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Politics
6:12 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Trey Grayson Appointed to Presidential Election Commission

Credit harvard.edu

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has been appointed to President Obama's commission to improve U.S. elections, which was first introduced at this year's State of the Union address.

During the 2012 elections, voters across the country complained of long lines and confusion at the polls, and many have called for reforms to the system since the 2000 presidential race.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Noise and Notes: Is Kentucky Compatible With Gay Marriage?

Credit Shutterstock.com

When it comes to gay marriage, America is moving in a direction of growing acceptance while Kentucky remains steadfastly opposed.

National figures show a majority in the country back the idea, which has changed at a rapid pace in the past decade.

Rhode Island took a historic step and is set to become the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. A new lobbying group founded by prominent conservative donor Paul Singer is pushing for gay marriage legislation as more Republicans join the cause to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even two prominent Kentucky Democrats—Auditor Adam Edelen and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson—came out in favor or marriage equality.

But new poll numbers indicate Kentuckians are still overwhelmingly against same-sex couples getting hitched with 65 percent opposed. The opposition isn't based on political party either because the PPP survey shows 54 percent of Democratic voters are against the idea.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Proposes Bipartisan Bill to Ease Federal Sentencing Laws

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Joining a Democratic colleague, Republican Congressman Thomas Massie Kentucky is introducing a bipartisan bill to give federal judges more flexibility when issuing mandatory minimum sentences.

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Politics
9:01 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Poll: 65 Percent of Kentuckians Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling shows Kentucky voters still overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage despite national trends.

The poll was taken in early April, and it finds 65 percent think it should remain illegal and only 27 percent support marriage equality for gay, lesbian and transgendered couples.

That is in stark contrast to national figures that indicate marriage equality is gaining popularity across the country and for the first time hovers well over 50 percent. A number of Republican and Democratic senators have come out for marriage equality in recent weeks such as Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio.

But in Kentucky the idea faces solid opposition regardless of political party. According to PPP, 54 percent of Democratic voters in the state also oppose gay marriage while only 37 percent support it.

The Rev. Maurice Blanchard of Louisville says LGBT residents are getting tired of defending their relationships, adding Kentucky is falling behind the times.

"Those poll shows how disconnected some people are in this state to what’s happening on a larger sense. And that resistance while they’re proud of it is isolating and alienating us from the progress that’s taking place in the larger sense," he says.

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Politics
7:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Calls for New GOP at CPAC

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said the GOP has "grown stale and moss covered" and needs to embrace libertarianism.

"The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP," he said.

For many conservatives, Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan in protest of President Obama's drone policies puts him at the head of the line for presidential contenders in 2016.

The high-profiled speech gave Paul a chance to court the so-called "Facebook generation" on privacy matters, and explain why he favors limits on presidential power.

Paul's remarks also gave him a chance to rebuke GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who right before Paul's speech said the party didn't need new ideas.

Watch the full speech:

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
4:10 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Kentucky Secretary of State Forming Advisory Group to Explore Early Voting

Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit File photo

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to explore the possibility of early voting in the commonwealth.

Across the country, 32 states and the District of Columbia permit a version of early voting that allows residents to cast their ballot prior to Election Day without an excuse.

Kentucky is surrounded by states that do allow early voting such as Indiana and Ohio, and state law only allows absentee voting for specific reasons such as pregnancy, being disable or military service.

Grimes says after the 2012 presidential race her office wants to review the effectiveness of eleciton procedures, adding she is concerned that Kentuckian’s voices aren’t being heard.

"During the period leading up to the general election we had a lot of Kentuckians who questioned what Kentucky’s current laws are regarding absentee voting. And right now here in the state of Kentucky you cannot vote early without an excuse," she says. "And at this time I think it is prudent for us to listen to the voices of the citizens who we work so hard to protect, and to respond to our customers."

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