Associated Press

J. Tyler Franklin

The Senate is preparing to vote this week on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it only has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released the approximately $500 billion measure on Tuesday as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis." 

“The people who have really been hammered in this pandemic are people who work in the hospitality field for hotels and restaurants," McConnell said during a stop in Bowling Green recently. "Those folks, in the proposal I put together for another round, would get another check for $1,200, to try to lift them.”

J. Tyler Franklin

A memo from the outgoing administration of Governor says Governor-elect Andy Beshear faces a massive budget shortfall as he prepares to take office. 

The note from Bevin's budget director estimates the shortfall could exceed $1 billion over the next two years.The legislature will deal with rising costs and a host of competing demands for funding, including pensions, corrections, Medicaid, and employee health benefits.

 

The memo was sent to Beshear's transition team and state lawmakers. Beshear takes office next Tuesday and will submit a two-year spending plan to the legislature early next year.

J. Tyler Franklin

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the owners of Maximum Security seeking to challenge the decision to disqualify their horse as the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Owners Gary and Mary West wanted the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky to reverse the stewards’ decision and find that their decision violated the couple’s constitutional rights to due process. They also wanted to have the $3 million Derby purse be redistributed to them, jockey Luis Saez and trainer Jason Servis.

Centerstone

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that a nonprofit mental health provider can’t use bankruptcy to escape its financial obligations to the state pension system.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the unanimous ruling on Thursday could help protect the financial viability of one of the country’s worst-funded public pension systems.

Louisville mental health provider Centerstone owes an estimated $130 million to the Kentucky Retirement Systems, which manages the state’s pension fund.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán/WPLN

Tennessee state representatives elected a new House speaker Friday, following months of chaos inside the GOP-dominated chamber as the former leader became engulfed in multiple scandals involving sexually explicit text messages.

House members met for a special legislative session with the sole purpose of naming Rep. Cameron Sexton to lead the chamber. There were no opposing votes, though two Democratic members abstained.

"In this chamber, I will always encourage robust but respectful debate," Sexton said during his acceptance speech. "Debate and conversation make us stronger."

Erica Peterson

A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said.

The 30 inch wide pipeline moves natural gas under high pressure, so the rupture at about 1 a.m. caused a tremendous amount of damage in the immediate area, authorities said. Firefighters were still working to douse the flames hours later, with trucks repeatedly refilling their tanks and returning to the scene.

J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said in an interview that he would contribute to buy a ticket for Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to visit her native Somalia.

Paul made the comments when asked by Breitbart News about racist tweets by President Donald Trump, saying Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to the “broken” countries they came from.

Three of the four were born in the U.S., while Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia.

Anti-Defamation League

A new report shows Kentucky is a top target for on-campus white supremacist propaganda and recruiting. This is the third year in a row colleges nationwide are seeing an increase in the amount of extremist material being distributed on campuses.

The Anti-Defamation League report showed a major spike in documented cases of white supremacist fliers, stickers, posters and other material in the 2017-18 school year.

And it’s getting worse.


Results are in for the Kentucky 2019 primary election. 

Republican ballot

Governor/Lieutenant Governor  

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has cleared his first hurdle toward a second term, defeating three challengers to win the Republican nomination.

Bevin beat three Republican challengers in Tuesday's primary election. They were state Rep. Robert Goforth, William Woods and Ike Lawrence.

The governor is an ally of President Donald Trump, who remains a popular political force in the state. The governor's strong showing Tuesday gives him a boost heading into the fall campaign in a state that has trended overwhelmingly toward the GOP.

Thinkstock

An appeals court said the University of Kentucky failed to follow open-records law in a dispute with the campus newspaper over its pursuit of documents in a sexual harassment investigation.

The ruling could have implications for a similar case involving Western Kentucky University.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday that the state's flagship university had failed to comply with the open-records law "in any meaningful way."

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Jockey Luis Saez has been suspended for 15 days for failing to control Maximum Security and causing interference that resulted in the horse's historic disqualification as the Kentucky Derby winner.

The decision by the Kentucky stewards was announced Monday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Saez was cited for failing to "make the proper effort to maintain a straight course" in the May 4 race at Churchill Downs.

J. Tyler Franklin

A recount in a contested Kentucky state House race where a Democrat was elected by a one-vote margin has ended in a tie.

Owensboro Democrat Jim Glenn defeated Republican State Rep. DJ Johnson on Election Day by one vote. But the Republican-controlled state legislature ordered a recount at Johnson's request.

Saturday, the Daviess County Board of Elections recounted the more than 12,000 ballots by hand. A review of ballots cast on Election Day showed Glenn leading Johnson by two votes. But the board decided to count five of 17 rejected absentee ballots. Three of those ballots went for Johnson, one went for Glenn and one was blank. 

WFPL

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green plans to undergo hernia surgery at a private hospital in Canada because of injuries he suffered when a neighbor tackled him while he was doing yard work at his Kentucky home.

The Republican lawmaker is scheduled to cross the border for outpatient surgery scheduled sometime during the week of Jan. 21 at a hospital in Thornhill, Ontario, his attorneys said in a recent filing in Paul's lawsuit against Rene Boucher, who attacked Paul while the senator was doing yard work.

Facebook

A Republican-dominated board of Kentucky lawmakers investigating an Owensboro Democrat's election by a one-vote margin has obtained 17 unopened absentee ballots from the local county clerk's office.

Republican DJ Johnson lost to Democrat Jim Glenn by one vote in the November election for the 13th District House seat in Daviess County. Johnson has asked the Republican-dominated House of Representatives for a recount. His lawyers have focused on 17 absentee ballots that were not counted for various reasons.

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Mike Braun, the Republican candidate for a crucial Senate seat in Indiana, often refers to his rival, Sen. Joe Donnelly, as "Sleepin' Joe" and has vowed to wake the vulnerable Democrat from his "siesta" on Election Day.

But as Donnelly barnstorms the state in a used RV, it is Braun's own sleepy campaign that's leaving Republicans underwhelmed — and worried.

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