politics

J. Tyler Franklin

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would bar people, news outlets and other entities outside the commonwealth from making open records requests for Kentucky records.

House Bill 312 also expands the legislature’s exemptions from the open records act and requires all requests to be submitted on a standardized form created by the attorney general’s office.

Rep. Jason Petrie, a Republican from Elkton, said the proposal would streamline records requests, which he called a “burdensome churn of data.”

“We placed a burden many years ago upon ourselves, the government — and the taxpayers have supported — to supply information, but this simply tries to rein in what has tilted too far on the pendulum,” Petrie said.

Ryland Barton

Republican lawmakers unveiled a bill Thursday that would make several changes to Kentucky’s elections, including instituting three days of no-excuse early voting and giving absentee voters a chance to fix their ballots if they sign them incorrectly.

The bill also includes election security measures like a ban on so-called “ballot harvesting,” where people collect and submit ballots for absentee voters. It would also make it easier for the secretary of state to cut people who have moved out of state from Kentucky’s voter rolls.

Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams said he believes the bill will expand voting access while boosting election integrity.

J. Tyler Franklin

Update: 6:24 p.m.

The Kentucky Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 4, creating new limits on no-knock search warrants after a nearly two-hour discussion Tuesday evening.

During the nearly two-hour debate, lawmakers praised the bipartisan effort, but Louisville Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal said passing the bill wasn’t enough

“The problem we face goes deeper than no-knocks,” Neal said.

“We must have trust between the police and our communities. We have to go beyond what we’re doing here, which I support. We have the power, ability, intelligence and the moral standing to deal with this in a rational way,” Neal said.

Kate Howard

A panel of lawmakers voted to dismiss petitions to impeach Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Tuesday, though the final decision lies with the full Kentucky House of Representatives.

The decision caps off nearly two months of closed-door meetings of the Kentucky House Impeachment Committee.

Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville and chair of the committee, announced they voted to dismiss the petitions late Tuesday night.

“The committee has found that none of the allegations made against the governor nor the attorney general rise to the level of impeachable offenses,” Nemes said.

LRC Public Information

The Republican president of the Kentucky Senate filed a bill that would restrict “no-knock” search warrants, the type of warrant used in the Louisville police raid that killed Breonna Taylor last year.

Senate Bill 4 would still allow no-knock warrants to be issued in cases where someone allegedly committed a violent crime, or if giving prior notice would endanger someone’s life or result in the loss of evidence related to a violent crime.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said the Breonna Taylor raid wouldn’t have happened under his proposal.

“You’re not going to have a situation that occurred here that you’re going to create a no-knock search warrant to search for papers, stolen items, drugs, anything like that,” Stivers said.

Ryland Barton

A bill banning governors from reorganizing the Kentucky Board of Education passed out of a legislative committee on Tuesday morning.

House Bill 178 comes more than a year after Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear replaced the entire board of education as one of his first acts in office.

The measure would also require the racial, political party and gender makeup of the board to be proportional to the state’s representation.

Rep. Steve Sheldon, a Republican from Bowling Green, said the bill would prevent Kentucky Board of Education members from being treated like “political pawns.”

Tyler Merbler

Data compiled by an academic research group shows the home counties of 21 people from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia charged so far in connection with the Jan. 6 riot and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

The Program on Extremism at George Washington University compiled a database from the federal criminal complaints against those charged with crimes stemming from the event. Eight of those facing federal charges are from Kentucky, 11 are from Ohio, and two are from West Virginia. 

On Thursday, federal authorities charged two more people from Ohio who are allegedly members of the Oath Keepers, a militia-style group present at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Ryland Barton

A Kentucky judge urged Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and GOP leaders of the legislature to come to a compromise in the power struggle over the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beshear sued to block three new laws that passed out of the Republican-led legislature earlier this month, arguing they would hamstring his ability to issue executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

During a virtual hearing on Thursday, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd said both parties have valid concerns that need to be resolved for the sake of Kentucky citizens.

Congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Thursday that includes setting up a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

In a highly personal attack, former President Donald Trump blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him an unfit leader of the Republican Party.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a lengthy statement Tuesday.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," he added.

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky legislature won’t meet this week due to a series of winter storm events across the state.

Lawmakers are at the halfway point during this year’s 30 working-day session and the closure means they have to adjust the official meeting calendar.

Legislators will return for the session’s 15th working day on Monday. The deadline to file bills will now be Tuesday, Feb. 21 and the legislature will be in session on some days previously designated as “drafting days.”

The legislature is still required to adjourn by March 30, per the state constitution.

Sydney Boles

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Kentucky legislature would require the governor to replace a departing U.S. senator with someone from the same political party.

The proposal is supported by Kentucky’s 78-year-old U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and comes as state lawmakers continue to try and chip away at Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s powers.

Senate Bill 228 would be a big change from how Kentucky governors currently fill senate vacancies — picking whomever they want.

Instead, the governor would have to pick a replacement from a list of three nominees selected by the state party of the departing senator.

NPR

  Both of Kentucky’s U.S. senators voted to acquit Donald Trump on charges that he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Yet Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell capped off his vote with a winding explanation of why the former president should be blamed for the insurrection, but shouldn’t be convicted for it.

“President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, no question about it,” McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor.

“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”

The U.S. Senate on Saturday acquitted former President Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.

The acquittal comes more than a month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were counting the electoral results that certified Trump's loss. Five people died in the riot, including a police officer. Two other officers later killed themselves.

Updated on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. ET: The video for this event has ended.

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial came to a close on Saturday, with Democrats falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president.

The final vote was 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined with all of the chamber's Democrats and independents to vote to convict.

Trump faced a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

Pages