Frankfort Democrats In Lock-Step w/Republicans On All Fronts

Kentucky lawmakers have proposed two marriage license forms, one designed for gay couples and another for straight couples. [H-L]

Donald Trump won New Hampshire with 35 percent of the vote on Tuesday, solidifying his place as the front-runner for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination when the party meets for its national convention in Ohio this summer. [HuffPo]

Meanwhile, in Louisville… Officials with the already financially strapped Waterfront Development Corp. fear they may not get the pledged $350,000 contribution from the third Gallopalooza program to help pay for putting special lighting on the Big Four Bridge. At the same time, they are trying to convince the General Assembly to restore more than $800,000 in state funding for the waterfront agency that was not included in the new budget that Gov. Matt Bevin recently announced. [C-J/AKN]

Attacks by “homegrown” Islamist extremists are among the most imminent security threats facing the United States in 2016, along with dangers posed overseas by Islamic State and cyber security concerns, the top U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Acceptance of an $83,400 bid to create a conference room, four offices and an enlarged break room on the upper floor of Richmond City Hall failed in a 2-2 vote Tuesday night. [Richmond Register]

Congressional Republicans are re-evaluating Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. [The Hill]

The Ashland mayoral candidates showed voters at their first joint-speaking engagement they are running three highly different campaigns. [Ashland Independent]

The US Justice Department is suing Ferguson, Missouri to force the city to adopt police reforms negotiated with the federal government. [BBC]

Visitors to Cave Run Lake could see some big changes in recreation opportunities in the next few years. [The Morehead News]

Donors to the nonprofit group Crossroads GPS, founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, no longer have to worry about their identities being disclosed. After a five-year wait, the IRS has approved the organization’s application for tax-exempt status. [ProPublica]

Metcalfe County magistrates have received word the county will receive enough state grant funds to cover the cost to clean two illegal dumps, and voted during their meeting Tuesday night to advertise for bids to clean the dumps, according to Vickie Stephens, county treasurer. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the run-up to their big presidential campaign moments, the big media players in Iowa and New Hampshire gave voters a useful online feature, an interactive calendar that let them track where candidates were appearing in person. [Politico]

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says he is starting an advocacy group to oppose Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s plans to dismantle kynect and scale back the state’s Medicaid expansion. [H-L]

In a memorable scene in “The Big Short,” the Oscar-nominated 2015 movie about the financial crisis, a real estate agent shows the main characters around a desolate Florida subdivision. [HuffPo]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

Louisville Supe Opposes Accountability

Let us begin with the obvious: C.J. Labianca is a really smart guy — an alpha, Type A intellect. The Dunbar High School junior’s entry in the 2016 Kentucky American Water Science Fair was titled “Optimization of Beta in a Measure of Political Power in Social Networks.” [H-L]

Compassionate conservatism is back. Running on a message of civility, empathy and moral purpose in a race dominated by fear and race-baiting, Ohio Gov. John Kasich surged to a second-place finish Tuesday night in New Hampshire, becoming the latest in a long line of long-shot presidential candidates to use the Granite State’s famously unpredictable and independent-minded electorate to stake out a place in the primary contest. [HuffPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The favorite charity of former Gov. Steve Beshear may be getting a big donation soon because of a recent opinion of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. [C-J/AKN]

Allies to Hillary Clinton say her presidential campaign’s problems boil down to a fundamental problem: messaging. [The Hill]

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendet Donna Hargens wants authority to hire principals without Site-Based Decision-Making council input. But we discovered Hargens has a terrible track record of hiring the worst of the worst when there’s no SBDM accountability. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Seven years after the United States banned waterboarding as an interrogation tactic, two Republican presidential candidates said on Saturday they would revive its use and one of them, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, would go even further. [Reuters]

Registered republicans in Harlan County may cast their vote via absentee ballot if unable to travel to the Republican Caucus in Hyden on March 5. [Harlan Dailiy Enterprise]

When Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs executives and technology titans at a summit in Arizona in October of 2013, she spoke glowingly of the work the bank was doing raising capital and helping create jobs, according to people who saw her remarks. [Politico]

University presidents weren’t prepared for Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to higher education, announced in his address to a joint session of the General Assembly two weeks ago — especially the 4.5 percent cuts he’s asking universities to enact in the current year. [Ronnie Ellis]

Over 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have experienced some form of genital mutilation, according to a new UNICEF report. And if current trends continue, the number of girls cut annually will continue to rise year over year, the U.N. says, since population growth is outstripping efforts to reduce the practice. [NPR]

The Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission is showing a 25 percent increase in its gross profit when comparing numbers for January 2015 with those reported for last month. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A former federal judge in Utah asked President Obama Tuesday to “swiftly” give clemency to Weldon Angelos, a man he sentenced to 55 years in prison in connection with selling marijuana. [WaPo]

Matt Bevin’s new insurance commissioner this week dropped Kentucky’s legal defense of a 2012 consumer-protection law intended to help life insurance beneficiaries. [John Cheves]

New Hampshire’s Democratic primary voters confirmed Tuesday that they do, in fact, want a self-described democratic socialist as their party’s presidential nominee. [HuffPo]

Comer Is Slipping In The 1st District

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Jamie Comer had his rear end served to him on a silver platter in last year’s gubernatorial race against fellow Republicans Hal Heiner and now-Governor Matt Bevin. In part because his candidacy was plagued by allegations of domestic violence, abortion, slut-shaming and general good old boy politicking. You’re assumed, since you’re reading this, to already be familiar enough with the scandals not to need a refresher.

After what can only be described as an epic defeat, Comer did as many delusional politicians do and announced his candidacy for the United States Congress in Kentucky’s First District. But it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the former state legislator-turned commissioner-turned perpetual candidate and self-promotional robot. Comer has been dogged the past few weeks by news of a potential good old boy mess with the industrial hemp program he started. (January 29 & February 4)

And according to our sources, both current and former employees of the Department of Agriculture, Comer faces inevitable drama because the new commissioner (Republican Ryan Quarles) is allegedly (update: okay, it’s not just alleged, his people now confirm this to me off-the-record) spending every waking moment cleaning up Comer mess after Comer mess. We’ll have more on that at some point in the future. Spoiler alert: law enforcement is sniffing around the defunct Hemp Commission and the secretive hemp review committee.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Comer is having a bit of difficulty on the campaign finance front. Let’s get a sense of that by looking at the latest Federal Election Commissioner reports filed by Comer and his Republican opponents so far.

Total reported raised:

  • Michael Pape $229,445
  • Jamie Comer $214,525
  • Jason Batts $112,291

Cash On-Hand:

  • Pape $214,630
  • Comer $205,741
  • Batts $92,603

When you examine individual contributions to each candidate, in-district contributions are eye-opening:

  • Pape $146,700
  • Comer $96,450
  • Batts $47,837

Combined, Comer and Batts have raised just $144,287 within the district. That’s less than Pape.

Can you believe it? Comer’s being out-raised by a relatively unknown guy (Pape) and another unknown is nipping at his heels.

While we’re discussing the First District race: Batts popped off a press release shortly after the most recent fundraising deadline about the state of his campaign. He announced that he’d reached his $100,000 year end goal, he’s amazing, back patting, you know the drill. Batts neglected to mention that he’d made a $25,000 personal loan on December 31 to nudge himself over the line. He also failed to bring up the more than $10,000 he’s made in candidate contributions. Which means roughly a third of his financial support comes from his own pocket.

View contribution highlights for these three candidates after the jump…

Read more…

Your Eyes Are Rolling At Little Rand

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation’s highly polarized debate over guns. [H-L]

U.S. employment gains slowed more than expected in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but surging wages and an unemployment rate at an eight-year low suggested the labor market recovery remains firm. [HuffPo]

He fidgeted, chewed a fingernail and glanced at five pairs of children’s shoes piled by the door. The smell of Turkish coffee wafted from a tiny kitchen. The line kept ringing. [C-J/AKN]

There are so many things wrong with this story about Rand Paul’s demise that it’s almost hilarious. [Roll Call]

There are some subtle indications Republicans may be rethinking the wisdom of trying to make right-to work-an issue in this year’s legislative elections. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget will propose a $1 billion boost in spending on advanced training for the U.S. Air Force over the next five years, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Noting their excitement about “the energy that exists across campus,” Maribeth and Louis Berman, of Louisville, have pledged $1 million to Eastern Kentucky University to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives. [Richmond Register]

Just a reminder if you haven’t yet read this. How do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better. [ProPublica]

A miniature satellite developed by Morehead State University’s Space Science Center could play a key role in sending a manned flight to Mars. [The Morehead News]

NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with Matt Kibbe, senior advisor for Concerned American Voters, a superPAC supporting Rand Paul. He joins us to speak about the state of libertarians and where they will throw their support now that Rand Paul has suspended his presidential campaign. [NPR]

The coal industry is bracing for tougher rules in the next few months that are expected to slow production, cost thousands of mining jobs, and drain millions of dollars a year from the coffers of coal-dependent states including Kentucky and West Virginia. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… The mystery of a deep-sea creature that resembles a discarded purple sock has been solved, scientists report. [BBC]

Just eight years ago, most of the domestic violence deaths in Louisville were from strangulation. Today, more than 71 percent are from guns. [H-L]

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, both received classified information a handful of times via personal email accounts, the top Democrat on a congressional oversight panel said on Thursday. [HuffPo]

Jerry Lundergan’s Good Old Boy Mess Is Once Again Center Stage

During her three political campaigns, including an $18 million run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reported paying $111,831 to Lexington companies owned by her father, former state Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan, and $41,745 more in direct payments to him and other family members, for various services. [John Cheves]

As Sen. Turd Cruz (R-Tex.) campaigns across the Granite State ahead of next Tuesday’s first-in-the nation primary, he’s changing rhetoric in an attempt to expand his base and attract libertarian-leaning supporters following Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Cookie Tree) exit from the race this week. [HuffPo]

Conservationists have pounced on a bill that sought to allow motorized all-terrain vehicles on the Pine Mountain State ScenicTrail that’s being developed for backpacking and primitive camping along 120 miles of scenic Eastern Kentucky. [C-J/AKN]

The State Department Inspector General has found that classified emails were received on the personal accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice. [The Hill]

The new head of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet doesn’t expect any short-term rebound in the state’s struggling coal industry. In his first appearance before the state Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Secretary Charles Snavely told senators the outlook wasn’t good over the next five years. [WFPL]

U.S. President Barack Obama will launch a long-shot bid next week to impose a $10-a-barrel tax on crude oil that would fund the overhaul of the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure, the White House said on Thursday. [Reuters]

House Democrats proved willing to compromise on one abortion-related bill in a critical election year, but there were signs Friday they aren’t prepared to do it a second time. [Ronnie Ellis]

US presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has seen a surge in high-profile endorsements, after a surprisingly strong finish in the Iowa caucuses. [BBC]

A group of students from Clark-Moores Middle School will be traveling to Frankfort Tuesday where they will meet with legislators and advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 33, which will make training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) a requirement for graduation in Kentucky schools. [Richmond Register]

If U.S. and British negotiators have their way, MI5, the British domestic security service, could one day go directly to American companies like Facebook or Google with a wiretap order for the on-line chats of British suspects in a counterterrorism investigation. [WaPo]

It’s been no secret that Morehead City Council has been mulling the thoughts of building a joined police and fire station in the near future. [The Morehead News]

Really? It takes “insiders” to know that Marco Rubio crashed and burned? [Politico]

An ongoing cultural battle between coal mining and environmental groups played out in a Senate hearing Wednesday over an Obama administration proposal to mitigate the impacts of coal mining activity on streams. [H-L]

The United States has to reduce greenhouse emissions to less than a quarter of what they were in 2005 to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul’s Jalopy Putters Along

More Republican dollars are flowing into Kentucky to help GOP candidates in the four special House elections on March 8. [H-L]

President Barack Obama has said that a college degree “has never been more valuable.” But if you borrow to finance your degree, the immediate returns are the lowest they’ve been in at least a generation, new data show. [HuffPo]

Local governments in Kentucky can increase the minimum wage, but a federal judge ruled Wednesday that they can’t ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them. [C-J/AKN]

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has reportedly raised $3 million since Monday night’s Iowa caucuses. [The Hill]

Marlow Cook may forever be remembered by Louisvillians as the Jefferson County Executive who purchased the Belle of Louisville, but I remember him not only as my first boss, but also as someone who directly and significantly shaped my life and the lives of so many in public life [John Yarmuth]

Global equity markets rose on Thursday as diminished expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes this year pushed the dollar lower, which in turned boosted the prices of commodities. [Reuters]

The more we learn about Jamie Comer’s hemp-related shenanigans, the more disappointed we all become. Here’s hoping his nonsense doesn’t impact the overall industry. [Page One]

In internal memos, groups opposing tighter state campaign finance rules coach their local supporters on how to battle disclosure of political donors. [ProPublica]

A new study shows that Kentucky and Arkansas had the sharpest decline in the percentage of adult residents without health insurance from 2013 to 2015. [Business First]

Rand Paul was hustling to a TV hit on Fox News when security officials on hand stopped him. You’ll love the delusional reaction from Doug Stafford. [Politico]

Efforts by the Harlan County School District to replace Wallins elementary with a new facility received a boost when the board of education submitted plans that put that project at the top of its list of needs. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

There’s still a long way to go until November’s US presidential election. But it’s not too early to look at the possible presidential administrations of some of the leading candidates. [BBC]

Cheers, Kentucky: Bourbon and American whiskey sales in the United States were up 7.8 percent to $2.9 billion in 2015, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Looking at exports, sales of American whiskey were up 4 percent by volume, although the value fell 2.7 percent to about $1 billion, putting total sales of American whiskey at just less than $4 billion for 2015. [H-L]

Not all polluters are created equal. Just five percent of industrial polluters account for 90 percent of toxic emissions in the United States, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last week. [HuffPo]

Ashland Leads The Way On EKY Health

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt says that if Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is approved by the General Assembly, the Department of Education will face $72 million in reductions over the next two years. [H-L]

More than a few curiosities, oddities and abnormalities arose when presidential campaigns and super PACs filed their 2015 end-of-year campaign finance disclosures Sunday night. [HuffPo]

As Planned Parenthood turns 100, officials with the regional branch met with reporters Monday to reaffirm their commitment to serving Kentucky and Indiana amid a controversy over its proposed abortion services. [C-J/AKN]

The chairman of Iowa’s Democratic party is declaring Hillary Clinton the caucus winner, despite the razor-slim margin separating her from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). [The Hill]

Ruh ro, there’s a whole buncha drama in Morehead these days! Tensions were high for a portion of Friday’s special called work session of Morehead City Council. [The Morehead News]

Attorneys for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are trying to stop Elizabeth Mae Davidson, the woman accusing the Trump campaign of gender discrimination, from speaking publicly about her allegations. [ThinkProgress]

Legislation that would prohibit the General Assembly from diverting state lottery funds away from Kentucky’s need- and merit-based scholarship programs has cleared a House committee. [Press Release]

Bernie Sanders’ campaign plane departed from Des Moines amid uncertainty over who exactly won the Iowa caucuses, but it didn’t matter to the candidate or his staff. [Politico]

Cave Country Trails Initiative board of directors discussed at their meeting Thursday night upcoming workshops that will take place in surrounding communities. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star. [BBC]

Ashland is once again leading on the health care front in Eastern Kentucky. The Ashland-Boyd County Health Department is planning a needle-exchange program to prevent the further spread of Hepatitis C in the area, epidemiologist Kristy Bolen said. [Ashland Independent]

Companies and scientists are racing to create a Zika vaccine as concern grows over the mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to severe birth defects and is spreading quickly through the Americas. [Reuters]

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wants state colleges and universities to produce more electrical engineers and less French literature scholars. [H-L]

The FBI is joining a U.S. investigation into Flint, Michigan’s water contamination crisis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said on Tuesday. [HuffPo]