Budget Reduction Order = Bevin Is Bad For Kentucky’s Economy Despite All Contrary Claims

A judge did not attend a Friday hearing to answer charges that he violated ethics rules when he objected to handling adoption cases involving gay parents. Neither W. Mitchell Nance, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, nor his attorneys attended a hearing of the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington. [H-L]

Dan Johnson’s closed silver casket was at the front of the sanctuary next to his favorite Harley on Saturday, and scores of mourners lined up to wish him a final farewell, many of them sporting tattoos, black leather vests and silver skull rings. [WaPo]

Republicans say they want to reform the tax code for the greater good of corporate America, the broader economy and the middle class. Their tax legislation would also directly benefit a constituency usually omitted from GOP talking points: members of Congress themselves. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled a lawsuit by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration that had claimed Planned Parenthood illegally provided abortions at its clinic in downtown Louisville was wrongly dismissed. The ruling on Friday sent the case back to the lower court. [C-J/AKN]

Let’s quit acting like the modern Republican Party gives a flip about the people of this country. The expected repeal of the ObamaCare mandate to buy insurance means that states will soon have to step in and decide whether to create their own mandates. [The Hill]

State Budget Director John Chilton said Gov. Matt Bevin is likely to issue a budget reduction order within the next week or so in the wake of an official revenue forecast that state receipts will fall $156.1 million short of projections this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

The American Civil Liberties Union said it filed in federal court on Friday to stop the administration of Donald Trump from preventing two more young immigrant women in federal custody from obtaining an abortion. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new deer, elk and small game hunting regulations at its quarterly meeting Dec 8. [Ashland Independent]

In this era of so-called “school choice,” a pattern has emerged: Students don’t choose their alternative schools. They’re sentenced to them. [ProPublica]

It may look like a video game, but it’s anything but that. Law enforcement never knows what they’ll encounter when in the line of duty, but it’s simulations like what the sheriff’s office participated in earlier this week in the Rowan County Fiscal Court room that helps them prepare for the unexpected. [The Morehead News]

With eight planets whirling around its sun, our solar system has held the galactic title for having the most known planets of any star system in the Milky Way. But on Thursday NASA announced the discovery of a new exoplanet orbiting a distant star some 2,500 light years away from here called Kepler 90, bringing that system’s total to eight planets as well. The new planet, known as Kepler-90i, is rocky and hot. It orbits its star about once every 14 days. [NY Times]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty has informed the city council that he intends to nominate D.T. Froedge as the next appointee to the Glasgow Electric Plant Board. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real. [WaPo]

In the last 30 days, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a several calls for service regarding vehicles being broken into. During the Christmas season, there is usually a slight increase in the number of reported thefts. However, the growing concern for the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office is the frequency in which these thefts are occurring and the number of firearms being stolen. [H-L]

Florida authorities released an elderly woman from jail on Thursday after police arrested her for allegedly not paying rent at the senior housing community where she had lived since 2011. Juanita Fitzgerald spent her 94th birthday on Friday in a motel room. [HuffPo]

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Bevin Harms Progress On Opioid Front

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Grant the Republican Party leaders one thing: their tactics in passing their hugely unpopular tax bill have been consistent—consistently evasive. [New Yorker]

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general says his efforts to sue companies that make powerfully addictive opioid-based painkillers have been stymied by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration. [H-L]

They were obtained lawfully. An organization established for Donald Trump’s transition to the White House a year ago said on Saturday that the special counsel investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election had obtained tens of thousands of emails unlawfully. [HuffPo]

This backward-ass person thinks the media attacked her husband because he wasn’t liberal. This is how lunatics like Danny Ray Johnson and his now-candidate wife operate. They lie, cheat, con their way into the public eye. They excuse alleged child rape. They blame others for alleged arson. They blame everyone but themselves. Can’t wait until she, as a candidate, faces scrutiny. The hate these people have pushed is unbelievable. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump has insisted that he will be tougher on terrorism than his predecessor, but a new report indicates that the White House may be planning to reduce funding for key U.S. counterterrorism programs and to eliminate one program altogether. [Foreign Policy]

Three years ago, a then 8-year-old autistic girl spent 17 days in the hospital. She suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, bruises and pressure sores. Her body temperature was 10 degrees below normal. She came close to dying, prosecutors have said. [Richmond Register]

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says he is worried that President Trump has not issued an “outright condemnation” of Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. [The Hill]

Getting children into good preschool programs is a key to making them ready to learn in kindergarten, according to some local educators. [Ashland Independent]

The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. [Reuters]

Two eastern Kentuckians are in jail after police arrested them during a controlled buy in downtown Morehead on Tuesday. [The Morehead News]

As another fevered push to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration collapsed on the Senate floor in December 2005, Ted Stevens, then the powerful and wily Republican senator from Alaska, declared it “the saddest day of my life.” [NY Times]

Barren Metcalfe County Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance should know by the end of next week whether he’ll face a public reprimand from Kentucky’s Judicial Conduct Commission. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Trump administration will suspend a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal land, but its true aim may be to kill the Obama-era requirement. A notice slated to be published Friday in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Land Management said the agency “has concerns regarding the statutory authority, cost, complexity, feasibility, and other implications” of the 2016 rule, which is set to go fully into effect next month. [WaPo]

That ought to end miserably. The widow of state Rep. Dan Johnson, who committed suicide Wednesday night, said she will seek to replace him in the legislature. [H-L]

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee may be looking to prematurely shutter the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a ranking Democrat warned Friday. [HuffPo]

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Bevin’s Standing Up While The Rest Of Frankfort Twiddles Its Thumbs

No, Jim Gray is not going to congress. No Democrat in that district will get to congress until they learn to abandon the Kentucky Democratic Party and the good old boy system. They’ve gotta learn how to eat Republicans alive and we all know that isn’t going to happen. None of them have the guts to get nasty and dirty. [WKYT]

Nearly 25 years after strangling the life out of her stepson, Stephanie Spitser faced a chance at parole. Spitser, 46, had received a degree in divinity and a diploma in Bible studies from Christian schools while in prison, and she had taken a class that prepares inmates to re-enter society. [H-L]

A senior official on Donald Trump’s transition team suggested that Russia had “thrown” the U.S. presidential election in Trump’s favor in a December 2016 email thread leaked to the New York Times and published Saturday. [HuffPo]

A state social worker who said she suffered retaliation by supervisors after she refused to change her findings in a report on a horrific child abuse case has received a $43,000 settlement from the state. [C-J/AKN]

Poverty is normally seen as a deep, complex, social problem. But to the Dutch historian Rutger Bregman it comes down to something simple: a lack of cash. [Fast Company]

Republican House leaders will turn over their investigation of sexual harassment claims against four of their colleagues to the Legislative Ethics Commission which has the power to subpoena witnesses and evidence. [Ronnie Ellis]

When Donald Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions. But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia. [NY Times]

Maybe now it’d be a good time to remember that ignorance of the law isn’t a valid excuse in government. A few issues were found during the audit of the 2016-17 fiscal year financial statements of Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services, but the auditors mostly chalked them up to office staff turnover and inexperience with government accounting standards as opposed to those used for private businesses. [Glasgow Daily Times]

These people are just insane, hate-filled bigots. There’s no other way to describe them. [WaPo]

Local officials told state lawmakers they want more control over the way they raise money to fund their governments and they are willing to take responsibility for the “inviolable contract” guaranteeing their employees pension benefits if lawmakers allow them to split off from the state employee pension system. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI on Sunday, issuing a fresh denial that he asked former director James Comey to drop an investigation into the conduct of one of his top aides, Michael Flynn. [BBC]

Kentucky’s Republican governor asked his party on Saturday to call for the resignation of four GOP lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement, but party leaders rejected it in a move the governor said “speaks to the fact that we’ve got real problems.” Bam Carney, the backward Republican “teacher” who fought to gut education and educator accountability, is now attacking Matt Bevin for standing up for what’s right. Absurd. [WFPL]

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to rescind its delay of a rule that allows some foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States to grow their companies, court documents show. [Reuters]

A former employee in Gov. Matt Bevin’s office, who is also the daughter of an outspoken Republican lawmaker, said Thursday that a member of the State House of Representatives sent her “highly inappropriate” messages. [H-L]

Donald Trump gloated in a tweet Saturday that he fired Michael Flynn because he knew he lied to the FBI. If that was the case, Trump’s attempt to stop former FBI head James Comey’s investigation of Flynn could constitute obstruction of justice, legal experts warned. [HuffPo]

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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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There’s A Hepatitis Outbreak In Kentucky

A supervisor at a Western Kentucky coal mine has been fined $2,000 for falsifying a safety-inspection record. Daniel Couch Jr. also was placed on probation for two years, according to a court record. [H-L]

A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to internal government documents reviewed by Reuters. [HuffPo]

William McKee lunged between two men who were fighting. “Don’t do this here; there are children,” he said, standing within eyesight of families gathered at Shawnee Park last Thanksgiving. [C-J/AKN]

Jacksonville’s enforcement of pedestrian violations raises concerns that it’s another example of racial profiling. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issues hundreds of pedestrian citations a year, drawing on an array of 28 separate statutes governing how people get around on foot in Florida’s most populous city. [ProPublica]

It was a busy Monday night in Berea as teachers, students, parents and administrators welcomed the newest “pirate” to captain Berea Community Schools. [Richmond Register]

After wrangling through the night, the 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up early Saturday with modest accomplishments, paving the way to complete by next year the rules that will set the Paris agreement in motion. [NY Times]

The Boyd County Sheriff’s Department will increase its presence in north Boyd by creating a substation in Westwood. [Ashland Independent]

Now some nations are finding that even if they are frustrated by Donald Trump’s Washington, they can still prosper from robust relations with the California Republic and a constellation of like-minded U.S. cities, some of which are bigger than European countries. [WaPo]

Republican House leaders Wednesday announced that “procedural hurdles and a lack of cooperation by at least two people have hindered progress” of an investigation into charges of sexual harassment against former Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers. [Ronnie Ellis]

The United States in July 2019 will end a special status given to about 59,000 Haitian immigrants that protects them from deportation after a devastating 2010 earthquake, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday. [Reuters]

Kentucky health officials say they are seeing a dramatic rise in hepatitis A cases compared to recent years. The Kentucky Department for Public Health has identified hepatitis A with cases in multiple counties in Kentucky. [WFPL]

The entire world is laughing at Alabama and the United States. [BBC]

This will end poorly. Sam Gaskins is official in his bid to be a U.S. congressman, having filed to run for 1st District representative Wednesday in Frankfort. [H-L]

A former Justice Department official says that one of Donald Trump’s picks for a federal judgeship, Thomas Farr, did not tell the Senate Judiciary Committee the truth about his role in a notorious Senate campaign that tried to confuse and intimidate minority voters. [HuffPo]

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Frankfort Proves It Doesn’t Care About You

“Something don’t seem fair.” That’s what Mark Lunsford told reporter Bill Estep when he learned the property tax rate on his 21-foot bass boat is 30 times that levied on luxury houseboats that can cost upwards of $250,000. [H-L]

In a major win for the telecom industry, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans Tuesday to scrap net neutrality regulations that require internet providers to treat all content equally. [HuffPo]

The Trump administration is questioning whether Louisville is out of step with federal law after approving a measure that prohibits police and other city employees from enforcing immigration statutes — and implying the city could lose more than half a million dollars as a result. [C-J/AKN]

It was just before 9 a.m. one day last July, and Noemi Martinez was on her way from one job interview to the next, running to catch a bus on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville, Fla. [ProPublica]

After years of investigating, Louisville police and federal agents captured eight people suspected of skimming credit card information from gas stations in the city. The arrests were made after the individuals stole more than $3.5 million through skimmed card information. [WFPL]

No sitting justice on the Supreme Court has indicated plans to leave any time soon. But tell that to Trump, who announced on Friday his latest slate of judicial candidates to fill a vacancy that — as far as anyone knows — does not exist. [NY Times]

Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton and several board of education members support allowing teachers to take time off work to attend a rally in Frankfort during an as-yet-unannounced special legislative session to reform the state’s ailing pension system. [BGDN]

Since 1997, Congress’ Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million for 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules including, The Washington Post reported last month, sexual harassment. [WaPo]

Kentucky’s attorney general is unable to determine if Braidy Industries, the beneficiary of a $15 million investment from the state, is a public agency because it hasn’t completed a fiscal year yet. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Department of Homeland Security violated two court orders in the days after Donald Trump issued a temporary travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, according to the department’s watchdog. [Reuters]

They’re not there. Matt Bevin said earlier this week he believes the votes are there in the General Assembly to pass pension reform legislation. [More Ronnie Ellis]

A US judge has permanently blocked a presidential order that would have cut funding from US cities refusing to co-operate with immigration officials. [BBC]

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is planning to quickly replace Provost Tim Tracy, who announced Nov. 1 that he’s leaving to become the CEO of the Cincinnati-based Aprecia Pharmaceuticals. The search will be internal, not national, and he intends to choose someone by mid-December. [Linda Blackford]

Nineteen Asian-Americans protesting outside Speaker Paul Ryan’s office on Capitol Hill were arrested Wednesday while calling for him to move the Dream Act to a vote. [HuffPo]

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Legislative Ethics Are Not A Real Thing

Such a shame Legislative Ethics don’t exist in Kentucky. A Democratic lawmaker filed a complaint Wednesday with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, asking for an investigation into a sexual harassment settlement between four Republican lawmakers and a legislative employee who worked for them. [H-L]

On Oct. 14, 2016, then-GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence vehemently denied that the Trump campaign had any contact with WikiLeaks. It was shortly after that organization had released more emails from the Clinton campaign and other Democrats. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville Foundation’s former chief financial officer claims in a new lawsuit that he was made the “fall guy” for “a wide variety of political, private and public interests” when he was fired in July. [C-J/AKN]

Six House Democrats on Wednesday launched the latest official effort to oust President Trump, introducing five new articles of impeachment revolving around the central theme that the president is a danger to the country. [The Hill]

A Richmond city commissioner is calling for action against hotels and motels in the city that are hotspots for criminal activity. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday told 29 states, cities or counties it believes they are violating a law prohibiting them from limiting information sharing with U.S. immigration officials, and it asked them for details on their compliance. [Reuters]

The forced removal of state prisoners from the Boyd County Detention Center could cause the county to lose as much as $700,000 in revenue this fiscal year, and the fiscal court is weighing budget cuts as a result. [Ashland Independent]

A senior official in charge of a federal loan guarantee program resigned after ProPublica reported his prior role in obtaining a guarantee under the same program as part of a deal that failed. [ProPublica]

The governing board for emergency communications in Barren and Metcalfe counties approved an agreement from South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative for additional security technology at the dispatch center in Glasgow on Tuesday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Republican and Democratic senators clashed on Wednesday over changes the Republicans made to their sweeping tax legislation late Tuesday night, as the momentum behind the tax overhaul showed no signs of slowing with votes expected in both chambers of Congress later this week. [NY Times]

A vote may come as soon as this week on Senate confirmation for Dingus Trump’s nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and safety advocates. [WFPL]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton has alarmed current and former Justice Department officials who fear he will further politicize the embattled agency. [WaPo]

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s communications manbaby, Tres Watson, has been whining about this on social media. He’s taken every opportunity to spew homophobic bullshit since getting his new RPK job. So I’m taking every opportunity to identify him a bigot. You know how I know? Because I know him. And when these Republicans like Watson and Scott Jennings decide it’s cool to all of a sudden turn into bigots? I’m going to call their asses out. [H-L]

The American delegation to the United Nations climate talks has not held any press conferences, though White House energy and environment adviser George Banks will occasionally venture out to the snack bar beneath the U.S. delegate’s office. [HuffPo]

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