politics

There are now no more official debates before Democrats begin voting.

Tuesday night's debate was the last before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, and it featured six of the 12 remaining candidates — the top four of whom polls show to be neck and neck.

Democratic primary voters got a substantive debate in which the candidates clashed over what it means to be commander in chief, gender politics and, of course, health care.

Here are four takeaways from Tuesday night's debate:

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

The House will vote to send two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate Wednesday, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a trial to determine whether to remove the president from office will probably begin next Tuesday.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will also name impeachment managers to lead the prosecution against the president Wednesday but did not say who they would be. "The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial," Pelosi said.

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET

We're up to the seventh debate, and down to six candidates.

The leading Democratic presidential candidates return to the debate stage Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET — this time in Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation caucuses in less than three weeks.

WKU Public Radio

Voters in Bullitt County and southern Jefferson County will head to the polls Tuesday to send a new state senator to Frankfort.

The special election is being held to fill a vacancy in the Senate created by the retirement of Republican Sen. Dan Seum, who had represented Senate District 38 since 1995.

The two candidates — selected by their local political parties in November — are Mike Nemes, a Republican who served in former Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration, and Andrew Bailey, a Democrat and former public school teacher from Louisville. 

 


Blake Farmer | WPLN

Kentucky abortion rights advocates hope that their lives will be easier with a Democratic governor in office, but they will still have to contend with a strongly anti-abortion legislature.

Tamarri Wieder is the public affairs and policy director for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. She says that Gov. Andy Beshear’s defeat of Gov. Matt Bevin last year shows that voters didn’t rally around anti-abortion causes.

“He tried to really use Andy Beshear’s pro-choice stances against him and it failed,” Wieder said.

“While the makeup of the General Assembly hasn’t changed, I think the voices and the votes in Kentucky are standing up and realizing the hypocrisy of these bills and how damaging they are to the commonwealth.”

Kentucky LRC

Republican leaders in Kentucky’s legislature are rallying around a bill that would ban cities, public agencies and universities from adopting so-called “sanctuary” policies that snub federal immigration officials.

The proposal has raised concerns from immigration and civil rights advocates who worry that it would prod public workers into enforcing federal immigration law and increase the number of Kentuckians facing deportation.

Sen. Danny Carroll, a Republican from Paducah and the bill’s sponsor, said that it would create more avenues for citizens to report undocumented immigrants.

J. Tyler Franklin

Rand Paul of Kentucky is one of at least two Republican U.S. Senators supporting a Democratic resolution aimed at curbing President Trump's ability to launch future military strikes against Iran.

Sen. Paul and Mike Lee of Utah have publicly backed the resolution, which would place a 30-day deadline on the President to seek authorization from Congress for military action, except in a case of an imminent threat.

Politico reports the Senate version of the resolution could be introduced as early as next week.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber will vote Thursday on its version of a resolution seeking to curtail Trump's actions against Iran.

Ryland Barton

Republicans in the Kentucky legislature are pushing to require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.

The bill is a priority of the state’s new Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who also says there are 300,000 out-of-date voter registrations in the state that need to be purged.

During a news conference Wednesday, Adams said that campaigning on voter ID helped him defeat his Democratic opponent during last year’s election.


LRC Public Information

For more than a decade, Kentucky House Rep. Jim Gooch has denied the existence of human-driven climate change.

The Republican lawmaker from Providence has chaired the House Natural Resources and Energy committee for 20 out of the last 21 years. The committee is responsible for legislation including forestry, mining, flood control, public utilities and renewable energy.

Back in 2007, Gooch made national news for holding a hearing on climate change that didn’t include any actual scientists. Gooch’s views have moderated somewhat over the past 12 years, from outright denial to begrudging acceptance that humanity has in some ways contributed to warming.

 


Liz Schlemmer

 Kentucky’s legislative session kicked off with lots of conservative red meat on Tuesday — gun rights advocates held a day-long rally outside the Capitol and leaders of the state Senate announced that their top two bills will be an anti-“sanctuary city” policy and a voter ID proposal.

But the main task lawmakers will have to tackle over the next 59 working days will be writing a new two-year state budget while state revenue is predicted to be far outpaced by costs.

 


New Budget is Key Issue as Kentucky Lawmakers Convene

Jan 7, 2020
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Lawmakers are returning to Kentucky's Capitol to start a 60-day session that will be dominated by work on a new state budget. The House and Senate will convene at midday Tuesday.

This year's session will stretch into mid-April. Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers, but there's a new political dynamic with Democrat Andy Beshear now in the governor's office.

In their budget work, Beshear and lawmakers will confront spending pressures amid projections for only modest revenue growth in coming years. Rising costs for pensions, health care and corrections will complicate their work.

J. Tyler Franklin

A little more than two months after Kentucky voters weighed in on who they want to govern them for the next four years, the state’s new batch of constitutional officers were sworn in Monday morning.

Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman were inaugurated in December but the constitution requires the five other officials who run the state’s executive branch to take office a month later. Those include the attorney general, secretary of state and agriculture commissioner.

The new class of constitutional officers are all Republicans except for Beshear, who introduced the group saying that they are “all on the same team” despite partisan differences.

Ryan Van Velzer

A bill filed ahead of this year’s legislative session would ban retailers from providing certain kinds of plastic bags and limit the use of plastic straws and foam containers.

Every year more than eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, costing at least $8 billion in damages to marine ecosystems, according to a UN Environment report. Among the largest sources of this pollution are plastic bags and single-use plastics.

 


Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Congressional Democrats are promising to act this week to limit President Trump's ability to unilaterally order military action against Iran.

In a letter to House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called last week's drone airstrike against Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani "provocative and disproportionate," saying the strike "endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran."

Ron Cogswell with permission via Creative Commons

Kentucky's two U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House are reacting to the U.S. drone strike that killed the leading Iranian military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

In a speech on the Senate floor Friday, the Republican Majority Leader strongly supported the killing of Soleimani. 

“This morning Iran’s master terrorist is dead," McConnell said. "The architect and chief engineer of the world’s most active state sponsor of terroism has been removed from the battlefield at the hand of the United States military. No man alive was more directly responsible for the deaths of more American service members than Qasem Soleimani."

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