politics

J. Tyler Franklin

First, on August 1, Gov. Matt Bevin held a press conference to attack Andy Beshear for attending a fundraiser co-hosted by Ernest Marshall, a doctor and co-founder of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the only clinic in Kentucky that provides abortions. He accused Beshear of “accepting blood money” and suggested Democrats are “using money from killing Kentuckians to fund Andy Beshear.”

Two days days later, in a speech at Fancy Farm, Bevin’s running mate, Ralph Alvarado, referred to the attorney general as “Abortion Andy.” Last week, Bevin released a Facebook video attacking Beshear in which he used the word abortion seven times in less than three minutes. A day later, Bevin held an event to highlight four anti-abortion bills that Kentucky’s legislature adopted and the governor signed into law earlier this year.

J. Tyler Franklin

The University of Louisville is in talks with the state for potential help in buying the flailing downtown Jewish Hospital and other affiliated Louisville health practices. A spokesman with the University confirmed information Tuesday that the Courier Journal first obtained in a draft document.

As the CJ reported, under the terms of the draft proposal, University of Louisville Hospital would buy Jewish Hospital for $10 million, and receive $40 million from Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. The Kentucky Economic Development Authority is also considering loaning U of L Hospital $50 million (which would be “partially forgivable”) to support a sale.

 


J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is easing back into public activities after his recent lung surgery sidelined him for part of the August congressional break.

The Kentucky Republican is scheduled to give a speech Tuesday at a chamber of commerce luncheon in southern Kentucky. It marks his first public appearance since part of his lung was removed at a Tennessee hospital. The senator says the surgery stemmed from injuries suffered when a neighbor tackled him while he was doing yard work at his Kentucky home in late 2017.

Trump to Headline Fundraiser for Gov. Matt Bevin

Aug 12, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

President Donald Trump will headline a fundraiser next week for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who is banking on his close ties with the Republican president as he faces a tough challenge from a Democratic rival in a state that Trump dominated in 2016.

Trump will travel to Kentucky to attend the Aug. 21 fundraiser in Louisville, Bevin's campaign announced Monday.

"Gov. Bevin is thankful for President Trump's friendship and strong support," Bevin campaign manager Davis Paine said in a release.

Ryland Barton

A bipartisan group of Kentucky lawmakers has proposed a bill that would allow police or family members to ask a court to temporarily take guns away from people if they present a danger to themselves or others.

So-called “red flag laws” exist in at least 17 other states, including neighboring Indiana, and President Donald Trump recently signaled he might support a federal version of the policy.

Sen. Paul Hornback, a Republican from Shelbyville, said the law is necessary in a “strange new world.”


McConnell, GOP Senate Unlikely To Act Swiftly On Guns

Aug 8, 2019
Becca Schimmel

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is resisting pressure to bring senators back from recess to address gun violence, despite wrenching calls to “do something” in the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings.

Instead, the Republican leader is taking a more measured approach, as GOP senators are talking frequently among themselves, and with the White House, in the face of mounting criticism that Congress is failing to act.

President Donald Trump is privately calling up senators — and publicly pushing for an expansion of background checks for firearms purchases — but McConnell knows those ideas have little Republican support.

Ryland Barton

Protesters gathered outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Louisville Tuesday evening to urge him to take up legislation to combat gun violence.

The rally came in the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend.

Hollan Holm is a survivor of the deadly 1997 Heath High School shooting in Paducah, when a 14 year-old open fire on a group of praying students, killing three.

 


Rand Paul Undergoes Lung Surgery Stemming from Assault

Aug 5, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he underwent lung surgery in a procedure he says stems from injuries suffered when a neighbor tackled him outside his home in 2017.

The Republican lawmaker tweeted that part of his lung damaged in the assault was removed during the weekend surgery in Tennessee.

Paul expects to return to the Senate in September.

Both of Kentucky's senators are laid up with health issues during Congress' August break.

Ryland Barton

At this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, Kentucky politicians tried to sandbag their opponents by tying them to national issues.

Republicans warned that Democrats would bring “sanctuary cities” to Kentucky and accused them of being “socialists.”

Meanwhile Democrats accused Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of supporting Russian interests while a crowd of hecklers chanted “Moscow Mitch” repeatedly during the event.

McConnell accused his detractors of wanting to “turn America into a socialist country.”

“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are never going to let that happen. That’s why I call myself the Grim Reaper,” McConnell said. “I’m killing their socialist agenda. But the first step in fighting those liberal schemes happens right here in Kentucky this year. We need to reelect Gov. Bevin.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Saturday is the annual Fancy Farm political speaking picnic, where Kentucky’s elected officials and candidates hurl insults at each other in front of a jeering crowd hopped up on Sun Drop soda and barbecued mutton.

The festival is a fundraiser held by St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in the small town of Fancy Farm in Graves County and dates back to 1880.

And the event is unique in American politics. It’s one of the few times one can see politicians voluntarily take the stage to be booed and heckled in the heat.


Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The second night of the Democratic debates in Detroit did not stray from its predicted script: It was open season on front-runner Joe Biden right from the start.

But it was also something of a free-for-all, with every candidate for himself or herself. And the intensity and outcome of the exchanges may have come as a surprise to some of the people onstage.

Kentucky Democrats: 'Just Say Nyet to Moscow Mitch'

Jul 31, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

Democrats in Mitch McConnell's home state are pitching "Moscow Mitch" merchandise to try and capitalize on a bitter dispute involving the Kentucky senator over election security legislation.

The Kentucky Democratic Party said Wednesday it's launching the "Moscow Mitch" webstore in a dig at the Senate majority leader.

The party is selling red T-shirts for $25. They depict a picture of McConnell wearing a Cossack hat with the "hammer and sickle" symbol. The shirt declares "Just say Nyet to Moscow Mitch" in yellow, Soviet-style letters.

Amy McGrath's Twitter page

Retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath had a bumpy launch to her campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this month. But in a recent interview, McGrath said she can still unite Democrats and Republicans against Kentucky’s six-term senior senator.

McGrath told the Courier Journal and Insider Louisville earlier this month that she would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That comment raised eyebrows with her supporters, and within hours she retracted the statement via Twitter.

 


J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signed into law a pension bill aimed at relieving regional universities and community social services agencies from crushing retirement costs.

The signing ceremony on Wednesday came a couple of hours after the bill won final passage in the Senate. Bevin was joined by lawmakers and stakeholder groups at the signing.

The Republican governor called lawmakers into a special session last Friday to take up his pension proposal. The bill — reflecting Bevin's plan — narrowly passed the GOP-led House on Monday and won overwhelming support in the Republican-dominated Senate.

 


Thinkstock

Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension bill continues to advance through the Republican-led legislature, easily passing the Kentucky Senate’s State Government Committee on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are meeting for a special legislative session called by Bevin to address surging pension costs for the state’s regional universities and 118 “quasi” state agencies like health departments and rape crisis centers.

 

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