Frankfort: Terrifying Hellscape Of Awful

Former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover took out a loan of $60,000 the day after he resigned his leadership post over news that he had secretly settled an allegation of sexual harassment by a staffer. Hoover said Saturday that $60,000 “absolutely was not” the amount he paid, but he refused to say how much he did pay to settle the claim, citing a confidentiality clause in the settlement. [H-L]

The nearly 500-page overhaul of the tax code that Republicans rammed through the Senate early Saturday morning gave lawmakers and experts little more than a moment’s notice to pore over the law’s myriad changes. But one thing is clear: The bill is filled with perks for America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations, many of them paid for by closing loopholes that benefit middle-class people. [HuffPo]

A Jefferson District Court judge is considering whether to hold the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in contempt of court for delaying urgently needed surgery for a severely disabled woman in its care. [C-J/AKN]

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a colleague linked to Russian intelligence ghostwrote an op-ed about Mr Manafort’s work around the Ukraine even as Mr Manafort faced federal charges for concealing the proceeds from that work, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office said. [The Independent]

A Kentucky House Republican employee alleges that she was retaliated against for reporting an “inappropriate sexual relationship” between then-House Speaker Jeff Hoover and a woman in his office and that GOP leaders used money from “prominent campaign donors” to secretly settle the woman’s harassment claim. [More C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration said Friday it will not issue a regulation to ensure that hard-rock mining companies can pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they’re finished. [The Hill]

Ashland City Attorney John Vincent, State Rep. and Assistant Ashland City Attorney Kevin Sinnette and Boyd County Master Commissioner Roger Hall are the nominees to replace retired Boyd Circuit Judge David Hagerman. [Ashland Independent]

A key aide in the Trump transition appeared to write in an email that Trump should seek to ease sanctions on Russia because that country had helped Trump win the election.[ThinkProgress]

While Republicans in the House, reeling from a sexual harassment scandal, wrestle with pension reform, House Democrats smell opportunity. Pro-tip: Mary Nishimuta is the reason the Kentucky Democratic Party is still circling the drain instead of gaining ground on these corrupt jackasses in Kentucky. She’ll be the reason Democrats get their asses handed to them. KDP’s Executive Committee needs to fire her and replace her with someone competent. At a time like this, Dems need someone like Crit Luallen (not her but LIKE her) – with that kind of experience – to survive. [Ronnie Ellis]

Red states ravaged by the opioid crisis are pushing for Medicaid work requirements that could push people out of treatment as they try to get off drugs. Kentucky, New Hampshire, Maine and Indiana are among at least eight GOP-led states seeking federal approval to require Medicaid enrollees to work as a precondition of their health coverage. All four states have been hard hit by drug addiction, which claims 140 lives a day nationally. [Politico]

As the number of days left in this year’s calendar dwindle and state House Republicans continue working on ways to “tweak” pension reform legislation, the question increasingly heard in Frankfort is: will there be a special session in 2017. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump has single-handedly done more to undermine the basic tenets of American democracy than any foreign agent or foreign propaganda campaign could. [NY Times]

A project through which energy efficiency in numerous Glasgow homes was upgraded and they were provided with smart energy technology has concluded, as Glasgow Electric Plant Board Superintendent Billy Ray reported to the city council earlier this week. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump’s campaign plane that staffers can’t hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump’s pants — while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their “face ripped off.” [WaPo]

The Republican leaders now running Kentucky have a message for taxpayers: We will tell you what we want you to know, when we want you to know it, because we’re in charge. [Tom Eblen]

Continuing his “America First” approach to foreign policy, Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of a United Nations compact seeking global cooperation to protect the safety and rights of refugees and migrants. [HuffPo]

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