Surprise! Republicans Just Screwed You

A new study of the tax bill rushed through the Kentucky General Assembly Monday shows the changes it makes to the tax code are likely to lower taxes for the wealthy while raising taxes for 95 percent of Kentuckians. [H-L]

Bernice King had just turned five when she learned of her father’s assassination. It was 7:01 p.m. in Memphis when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, close to her bedtime, so she didn’t know about the tragedy until the next day. [HuffPo]

When a community cares more about sports than academics, it’s probably diseased. No one should be surprised. Since that community supported con artists like Jim Ramsey and Robert Felner for years and years. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s looking at you, Matt Bevin, Hal Heiner and the rest of the Six Flags Over Jesus charlatans in Louisville. California Democrats want to make ‘conversion’ therapy consumer fraud. “Courts have found that claims that sexual orientation change efforts are effective in changing an individual’s sexual orientation constitute unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices under state consumer protection laws.” [Rewire & SPLC]

Bruised by their fight over pensions, Kentucky teachers are mobilizing like never before to support legislative candidates who pass a key political test: support for public education. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump does not like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “It’s a horrible law,” Trump has said. The FCPA makes it a crime for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials, or to partner with others who are clearly doing so. [ProPublica]

The Kentucky Army National Guard has installed a new solar panel array at its field maintenance shop on Summit Road in Boyd County. [The Morehead News]

On Thursday night, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s point person for the EPA’s Superfund program failed to show up at a scheduled meeting with residents of a West Virginia town contaminated by toxic chemicals. [ThinkProgress]

More than 30 crafters and vendors from across the region will participate in the fourth annual Morehead Kentucky Proud Expo next weekend at the Morehead Conference Center. [The Morehead News]

This is what Republicans want. Inside a private prison: blood, suicide and poorly paid guards. On the witness stand and under pressure, Frank Shaw, the warden of the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, could not guarantee that the prison was capable of performing its most basic function. [NY Times]

Western Kentucky University announced in February that it would return its regional campuses in Glasgow, Owensboro and Elizabethtown to the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) due to the university facing a $15 million budget shortfall. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King. [WaPo]

On the same day thousands of teachers descended on the Capitol to protest a surprise pension bill passed late last week, the legislature presented them with another surprise Monday: the most significant change to Kentucky’s tax code in more than a decade. [H-L]

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent more than 40 Cambodians, many of whom were refugees, back to Cambodia this week. [HuffPo]

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Bevin: Always On The Wrong Side

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Matt Bevin’s decision to defend Scott Pruitt’s ridiculous waste, fraud and abuse should paint a clearer picture of who Bevin really is. He’s trash. A garbage human. He has no business serving in an elected capacity in Kentucky. He has no business being in charge of a company. Someone excusing Pruitt’s corruption really has no business being around flipping children. What a disgrace. [H-L]

Donald Trump signaled his support for Scott Pruitt on Friday, resisting mounting pressure week to fire the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville’s next president will be Neeli Bendapudi, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas school of business. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration on Friday unveiled new actions against various Russian officials, oligarchs, businesses and agencies – freezing assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction One of the oligarchs named is Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with links to former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort, who has been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. [CNBC]

As Matt Bevin and his administration works to establish Kentucky as an engineering and manufacturing hub, the state ranks among the least innovative in a recent report. [Richmond Register]

For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages. [AP]

The financially struggling Fairview School District continues to pay its suspended superintendent while a temporary replacement works to pull the district out of its fiscal hole. [Ashland Independent]

Racist bigots are gonna be racist bigots. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ramped up calls on Friday to criminally prosecute immigrants who cross illegally into the United States, adding to a barrage of statements on immigration by the administration of Donald Trump this week. [Reuters]

Surprise! The paper in Morehead is shilling for a for-profit college that only exists because Republicans wouldn’t allow it to be held accountable. [The Morehead News]

With his son newly installed as a top aide to the president, Mr. Kushner even expressed hope, one close family friend said, that he might receive a pardon. Absolution, however, is not what the White House has conferred on the Kushners. For the patriarch and his family, the pinnacle of American political power has turned out to be a wellspring of trouble. [NY Times]

Residents who are not registered to vote have roughly two weeks to do so if they aim to vote in Kentucky’s May 22 primary election. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The study from researchers at Ohio State University finds that fake news likely played a significant role in depressing Hillary Clinton’s support on Election Day 2016. [WaPo]

On the 58th day of the 60 day legislative session, the Republican majority unveiled the most significant change to the state’s tax code in more than a decade and the Senate passed it before the bill was even made public. The reform package includes cutting some typical tax deductions, including medical expenses and medical insurance. [H-L]

Two of Martin Luther King Jr.’s surviving children gave powerful sermons Tuesday from the pulpit their father stood at when he gave his final speech on April 3, 1968. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Teachers Are Still Fired Up

Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may. [H-L]

Andrew Bailey had toyed with the idea of running for public office in Kentucky for years. A teacher at Fairdale High School in Louisville, Bailey figured he’d start small: maybe a seat on the Board of Education for Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, or perhaps a spot on Louisville’s Metro Council. [HuffPo]

Hold on to your corrupt wigs, Republicans. Guessing there’s a reason Jeff Hoover has been MIA for weeks and weeks. Tuesday was fun and you know there’s more fun to come. Even though the Legislative Ethics Commission is a load of horseshit that’s never held anyone accountable. That’s why Schaaf was installed there – to make sure nothing ever occurs. [C-J/AKN]

Jason Foster, chief investigative counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, fits a classic Washington profile: A powerful, mostly unknown force at the center of some of the most consequential battles on Capitol Hill. [ProPublica]

Just over a month after the Richmond City Commission voted to commit more than $1 million to connect with Kentucky Wired, the state project, that would build more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable across the state to provide high-speed Internet service, has hit a major roadblock. [Richmond Register]

In July, David J. Pecker, the chairman of the company that owns The National Enquirer, visited his old friend Donald Trump at the White House. [NY Times]

If Republican lawmakers thought some additional funding for education in the new state budget might soften the anger of teachers over pension changes passed last week, they may be rethinking that idea after Monday. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump is a paranoid racist and has been poisoned by Fox News. But you already knew that and none of this will come as a surprise. [WaPo]

The Morehead Utility Plant Board has begun moving forward on an initiative to help pay employees closer to the market value of their position to help decrease turnover. [The Morehead News]

Top intelligence chiefs issue a dire warning about the Kremlin’s ongoing efforts to influence the US, defend against Trump’s attacks on the FBI, and explain what happened with a shady Russian offering dirt on Trump. [BI]

The Barren County Economic Authority has set up the process for a local industry that is leasing a facility to pay it off and take over ownership if it decides to move forward with that decision. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ken Ham won’t like this… Researchers have uncovered more than 50 dinosaur tracks along a Scottish beach, some of which have retained their original shape and even the outline of claws. The discovery is shedding light on the kinds of dinosaurs that lived in this region some 170 million years ago. [Gizmodo]

An investment firm pushing Kentucky lawmakers to approve a $60 million tax break aimed at creating jobs in rural parts of the state has a history of persuading lawmakers in other states and then making millions from tax breaks that often don’t create the promised jobs. [H-L]

Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, his status as a civil rights icon isn’t really in question. In recent polls, 85 percent of Americans say he made things better for black Americans, and nearly 70 percent say that his legacy remains relevant today. [HuffPo]

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Told Ya They Were Cheating The KRS Years Ago But Mainstream Media Tried To Discredit It

Several major investment firms that are being sued for allegedly cheating Kentucky Retirement Systems over $1.5 billion in controversial hedge funds want to take the lawsuit behind closed doors. [John Cheves]

Special counsel Robert Mueller is drafting a report about Donald Trump’s actions in office as part of his ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. [HuffPo]

A bill that establishes a flat income tax rate of 5 percent, applies the sales tax to 17 services, and increases the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack was approved by a legislative conference committee Monday morning. [C-J/AKN]

In a broad expansion of the information gathered from applicants for U.S. visas, the federal government is proposing to collect social media identities from nearly everyone who seeks entry into the United States, according to a State Department filing on Friday. [Reuters]

A Berea City Council member is again questioning a contract the city signed in 2016 with Kentucky Municipal Energy Association (KyMEA) and asking for reports from the other company the city has contracted with, American Municipal Power of Ohio (AMP), about a discrepancy in costs. [Richmond Register]

Five expert committees advised the federal government on ways to improve workplace safety and enhance whistleblower protections. Under Donald Trump, their work has stopped and their recommendations are now stalled. [ProPublica]

The Legislative Ethics Commission Tuesday dismissed complaints against three of four lawmakers who signed a confidential settlement with a former legislative aide who alleged she was victim of sexual harassment. But the commission will continue to investigate charges against former Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover. [Ronnie Ellis]

The guy Trump fired at the VA is speaking out – and loudly. If that doesn’t (it won’t) wake you loyalists up, nothing will. [NY Times]

Board elections, preliminary enrollment numbers, and voluntary separation reports were all on the agenda at last Thursday’s Morehead State University Board of Regents meeting. [The Morehead News]

The carefully maintained secrecy around Donald Trump’s finances is under unprecedented assault a year into his presidency, with three different legal teams with different agendas trying to pry open the Trump Organization’s books. [WaPo]

Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in eastern Kentucky’s Elliott County 10-1 and voted twice for Barack Obama. But in 2016, Elliott County voted 2-1 for Republican Donald J. Trump. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate whether former Donald Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort colluded with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election, according to a newly released classified memo. [NBC News]

House and Senate Republicans unveiled the most significant changes to Kentucky’s tax code in more than a decade Monday in attempts to provide funding in a tight budget year. [H-L]

Donald Trump has made his promise of aggressive immigration enforcement the centerpiece of his domestic agenda. But two agencies tasked with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — have long attracted criticism for failing to release documents and data in a timely manner, if at all. That makes it hard for journalists, advocates, lawyers and the public to keep tabs on what the administration is doing. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Are Kickin That Can, Honey

The controversial pension plan rushed through the Kentucky legislature Thursday night would do at least one thing Republican lawmakers vowed to stop this year: It would kick the can down the road. [John Cheves]

Shanna Diederichs crouches in a shallow, circular depression in the floor of a Puebloan ruin, a clear and all-too-familiar sign that looters were here, scouring for pottery and other valuable Native American artifacts. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on Friday announced that it had issued its highest ever penalty in a natural gas safety case – a $395,000 fine of Louisville Gas and Electric for a 2014 pipeline break that injured two contract workers. [C-J/AKN]

The widow of the Pulse nightclub gunman walked free on Friday after a jury cleared her of charges related to the 2016 massacre that killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida. [Reuters]

Republican lawmakers Monday morning unveiled a compromise budget which funds public schools at higher levels and paired the budget with a tax overhaul that will lower income taxes, apply sales taxes to some services and raise $479 million in new tax dollars over two years. [Ronnie Ellis]

Former colleagues say the next national security adviser — whose job is to marshal information and present it to the president fairly — resists input that doesn’t fit his biases and retaliates against people he disagrees with. [ProPublica]

River Cities Harvest’s shelves are now 40,169 pounds heavier with food thanks to the annual Food Feud competition between local hospitals. [Ashland Independent]

America needs teachers committed to working with children who have the fewest advantages in life. So for a decade the federal government has offered grants — worth up to $4,000 a year — to standout college students who agree to teach subjects like math or science at lower-income schools. But a new government study, obtained by NPR and later posted by the Department of Education, suggests that thousands of teachers had their grants taken away and converted to loans, sometimes for minor errors in paperwork. That’s despite the fact they were meeting the program’s teaching requirements. [NPR]

Kentucky teachers say they feel betrayed by Republican lawmakers who slipped changes to future pension benefits into an unrelated bill, then hastily passed it in the House and Senate on a party-line vote. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration is attempting to scale back federal efforts to enforce fair housing laws, freezing enforcement actions against local governments and businesses, including Facebook, while sidelining officials who have aggressively pursued civil rights cases. [NY Times]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia and Maryland may proceed with an unprecedented lawsuit against Donald Trump alleging that Trump’s business dealings have violated the Constitution’s ban on receiving improper “emoluments,” or payments, from individual states and foreign governments. [WaPo]

It was after supper, and Bill Turner was studying for senior finals when his friend Jim Embry ran into the library to tell him the news: “Bill, they killed Dr. King!” [Tom Eblen]

A leading figure in America’s largest Protestant denomination has resigned from his job over a “morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.” Frank Page, who served as the president and chief executive of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee, announced his retirement on Monday. A day later, he followed up with a statement explaining that he was stepping away from active ministry because of a “personal failing” that has “embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom.” [HuffPo]

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Will April Be Just As Crazy As March?

The General Assembly introduced a tax bill today that is a shift in taxes away from corporations and high-income people and over to low- and middle-income Kentuckians. Although the official estimate is that it would bring $248 million more in net revenue by the second year, the plan relies heavily on a fading source in a cigarette tax increase and very uncertain new revenues from conformity to the federal tax code. By moving away from more productive income taxes to slower-growing consumption taxes, it will worsen Kentucky’s budget problems in the future. [Republicans Are Screwing You]

It was fitting that Republicans rammed their newest secret pension plan through the General Assembly in a matter of hours Thursday as an amendment to a bill about sewer system regulations. The whole process stank. [Tom Eblen]

Trump touted second chances for former prisoners the day before he blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown for giving ex-convicts a … second chance. [HuffPo]

Teachers from across Kentucky stormed Frankfort on Friday morning, furious over a controversial pension bill that lawmakers passed the night before in a matter of hours. [C-J/AKN]

Thousands of Kentucky teachers descended on Frankfort on Monday morning to rally against a surprise pension reform bill that passed through the legislature late last week. [More C-J/AKN]

Investigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to two sources familiar with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiries. [Reuters]

An action packed Thursday night ended in a passed pension bill, however, for many Kentucky educators the fight, they say, is far from over. [Richmond Register]

Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show. [ProPublica]

Northeastern Kentucky lawmakers discussed their votes Friday on a controversial pension reform bill that surged through the state Legislature. [Ashland Independent]

Get. Off. Facebook. A Facebook executive’s memo that claimed the “ugly truth” was that anything it did to grow was justified has been made public, embarrassing the company. [BBC]

Kentucky educators expressed their concern Friday for a bill that passed the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday. While the 291-page bill originally addressed wastewater services, it now includes pension reform. [Glasgow Daily Times]

One was Photoshopped tearing up the Constitution — a falsehood — and criticized for wearing a flag that represented her Cuban heritage. A conservative blog said that another wasn’t even at the school during the killings — then had to backtrack on Monday when that also proved false. The attacks on the teenage survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., have been fierce from the beginning, and have only continued since the students helped spearhead hundreds of protests this weekend. [NY Times]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says he’ll go to court to challenge the pension overhaul bill passed by lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly Thursday night. [WFPL]

The death of an icon in America’s civil rights history is a reminder of how recently school segregation existed in the United States — and how little has changed since that time. [WaPo]

A former employee of Eric C. Conn pleaded guilty Friday to helping the one-time disability attorney escape the country last year to avoid sentencing in a federal fraud case. Curtis Wyatt, 48, faces up to five years in prison for helping Conn. [H-L]

Far-right white men are dangerous. Jurors in a federal courthouse Thursday were played recording after recording of three militia members spewing genocidal hatred of Muslims. [HuffPo]

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Shoo, What A Year March Was

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How many years did I report on this while the mainstream media blew it off? The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees is debating whether to join a lawsuit that says the state’s pension agency was cheated on up to $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments by several wealthy corporations, with blame to be shared by some of its own current and former trustees and officials. [John Cheves]

Modern Republicans are so severely gay-panicked they can’t breath. So of course they’re pulling crap like this with trans kids. At least three school districts around the country are continuing to enforce potentially hostile restroom policies for transgender students after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights refused to investigate student complaints. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Andy Beshear says the surprise new pension bill is illegal, and he will file suit to block its implementation. [C-J/AKN]

Paul Manafort, the former chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had a long professional relationship with a man connected to Russian intelligence. And special counsel Robert Mueller says that man, Konstantin Kilimnik, was still working with Russian intelligence in 2016, when Trump was running for president. [Vox]

Matt Bevin probably had no need Friday to worry about teachers hoarding sick days. Enough called in sick to close more than 20 school districts across the state. [Ronnie Ellis]

For the past 20 years, Hope Workman has hustled up a dirt path on the side of a mountain in Lovely, Kentucky, just to get drinking water. She doesn’t trust what comes out of her tap. [CNN]

Teachers in Northeast Kentucky were furious Friday after the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday unexpectedly passed pension legislation they say insults them and will cripple the state’s ability to attract new educators. [Ashland Independent]

Cambridge Analytica’s US campaign data, which was harvested from Facebook, is still circulating – despite assurances it has been deleted. [Channel 4]

Their anger is palpable. So is their hurt. Kentucky teachers feel betrayed by a party line vote Thursday night in the Republican controlled General Assembly to make changes in their pension benefits. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain in a Cold War-style escalation that again highlighted the disparity between the president’s words and actions. [NY Times]

Teachers from around Kentucky descended on Frankfort Friday morning to protest a surprise pension bill that was rushed through the state legislature the day before. [WFPL]

Six months ago, the conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, inspiringly titled “How to Find Common Ground.” “We owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation,” he wrote, noting that social media has put us all in polarized bubbles. [WaPo]

Hundreds of angry teachers gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Friday outside Gov. Matt Bevin’s office to protest a surprise public pension bill that legislators rushed through Thursday. [H-L]

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs. [HuffPo]

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