politics

Three days before the Nevada caucuses, six Democratic candidates will face off in a debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

The televised debate comes on the heels of a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll that shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading nationally, with 31% support among Democratic-leaning voters.

Trailing Sanders in second in the survey is billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 19% backing.

Jacob Ryan

A top Kentucky election official says foreign hackers scan the state’s election systems looking for vulnerabilities “on a regular basis” and that lawmakers need to create a more stable funding source for election security.

Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said election officials don’t know if the hacking attempts are coming from foreign governments, but that they “don’t have good intentions.”

“We are routinely scanned by Venezuela, by North Korea, by Russia on a regular basis,” Dearing said.

 


Beshear Calls For “New Tone In Frankfort”

Feb 18, 2020
Rachel Collins | WKMS

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear made several stops in western Kentucky Monday hoping to garner support for his proposed budget, which is currently under review with the General Assembly.

His stops included Murray State University, where he highlighted several education initiatives, and Murray Middle School where he spoke extensively of the need for “a new tone in Frankfort.”

“Maybe the most important thing that could come out of this session is a change in the tone in Frankfort; it’s time that we started treating each other the way that everyone is supposed to treat each other in a business or in a school...that we don’t call each other names and if we disagree, we disagree civilly so we can come together the next day,” he said.

 


WKU Public Radio

Despite worries from election security experts, Kentucky will be one of only a few states in 2020 that’s still using some voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail — an industry standard to verify election results.

The reason is one that Kentuckians have heard often: there isn’t enough money, especially in a state that places much of the burden of election administration on local governments.

And despite recent transfusions of cash from the federal government for states to improve election security, the amount allocated to Kentucky in the most recent disbursement only represents about 10 percent of the overall need.

 


Updated at 7:08 a.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened up a double-digit lead in the Democratic nominating contest, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Sanders has 31% support nationally, up 9 points since December, the last time the poll asked about Democratic voters' preferences.

Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET

The Senate approved a bipartisan resolution to curb the president's war powers when it comes to Iran — a rare rebuke and effort to reassert Congress' authority,

The vote was 55-45 — with eight Republicans joining all Democrats to pass the measure. The tally fell far short of the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

Ryland Barton

A bill that would legalize marijuana for medical use passed out of a Kentucky legislative committee on Wednesday.

The bill would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for several medical conditions and create a regulatory system for the growth, sale and use of marijuana products. The legislation would not allow the marijuana plant to be smoked.

Eric Crawford, an advocate for the bill, says he uses marijuana to ease painful symptoms he suffers as the result of a car accident more than twenty years ago.

 


Chas Sisk | WPLN

Early voting for the presidential primary starts Wednesday in Tennessee.

Republican and Democratic voters will see multiple options on their ballots, but not all of them are still in the race.

GOP voters will have the opportunity to choose from President Donald Trump, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh. That last candidate dropped out of the race recently.

Republicans will also have the opportunity to vote for delegates for the national convention.

Andrew Marsh/Conn Center.

Kentucky lawmakers want Congress to redefine the federal definition of hemp.

A state resolution that passed overwhelmingly in the Kentucky House Tuesday asks the federal government to loosen regulations that could require farmers to destroy their hemp crops.

Farmers grew 92 percent of Kentucky’s hemp harvest last year for CBD. It’s a popular compound users claim has medicinal benefits. CBD-rich hemp also has low levels of the intoxicating compound THC, which is found in marijuana.

Hemp must have THC levels below 0.3 percent or else the government can classify it as illegal marijana and require farmers to destroy the crop.


Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

The finish at the top in New Hampshire looked a lot like the finish last week in Iowa, this time with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the way and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg finishing a close second.

But from the No. 3 spot on down there were some pretty big surprises, including the rise of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and disappointing finishes for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Here are six takeaways from what happened last night:

Rhonda J. Miller

A retired Marine Corps officer and farmer running to win Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary brought his campaign to Bowling Green on Monday.

Mike Broihier came by the WKU Public Radio studios before his stops at the Warren County Democratic Woman’s Club, Little Fox Bakery, and other campaign events.

Broihier is traveling across Kentucky in a face-to-face campaign to gain name recognition and support for his progressive agenda in a crowded field of 10 Democrats competing in the May primary. 

The winner will advance to the November general election, likely against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who has seven primary challengers. 


Baishampayan Ghose/Creative Commons

Gov. Andy Beshear is trying to rally support for a bill that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky as the proposal continues to languish in the Republican-led state House of Representatives.

Supporters say the proposal would raise about $22 million per year in revenue for the state, which has struggled to make enough money to cover budgeted expenses in recent years.

Beshear held a press conference on Thursday as a show of force for the bill, with supporters advocating how the measure could raise funds for services like education, pensions and healthcare.

Ryland Barton

The executive director of a state agency who was fired without the knowledge of the agency’s governing board says her replacement with a campaign donor of Gov. Andy Beshear’s was politically motivated.

Donna McNeil was executive director of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority from 2017 until she was fired by Dennis Keene, the commissioner of the state’s Department for Local Government and the chair of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority’s board, in late December. He replaced her with Edith Halbleib, who was the Jefferson County Master Commissioner from 2010 to 2018, overseeing foreclosure sales, according to her LinkedIn page. Halbleib did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

Updated 5:43 p.m. ET

The Senate has voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — ending a months-long process of investigations and hearings and exposing a sharply divided Congress and country.

Acquittal on the first article was 52-48, with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah becoming the only senator to cross party lines. Trump was cleared of the second charge on a straight party-line vote of 53-47.

Convicting and removing Trump from office would have required 67 votes.

J. Tyler Franklin

A Kentucky House committee has given the green light to a bill that would require all school police officers to carry guns, with the goal of preventing school shootings.

The proposal is an update to a school safety bill that passed last year, which required every school to hire a school resource officer, or SRO. This year’s legislation would mandate every SRO carry a gun.

“I know as a parent when I drop my children off at school I want to make sure that they are going into a safe environment,” bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) told the House committee Tuesday. “If we are going to say these schools are going to be safe, and you’re having sworn law enforcement officers, they’ve got to be able to do their job if a situation were to get to that potential tragedy.”

 


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