No, The Presidency Is Not Some Crown

“I’m going to move on my casino bill and ask for hearings on it during the interim. It’s part of my personal agenda,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said after the 2015 session ended. [H-L]

A U.S. district judge in Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the rights of states that ban gay marriage. [HuffPo]

The most fascinating vote of the entire 2015 legislature happened a few minutes after 3 a.m. on the final morning of the session when a wide-ranging group of Democrats and Republicans banded together in the House to beat back a leadership bill. [C-J/AKN]

The state of the U.S. labor market in March will consume economists and investors in the week leading up to Easter, adding to the seesaw debate over when the Federal Reserve will spring its first interest rate hike. [Reuters]

Democrats are apparently seething over this one. A Louisville woman has been appointed to serve on the newly created National Women’s History Museum Commission. Bridget Bush, a lawyer, was appointed by Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. [WLEX18]

Senators approved a budget amendment Thursday that would give married same-sex couples access to Social Security and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. [The Hill]

Everybody is freaking out… President Barack Obama will be coming to Louisville April 2. [WHAS11]

The House Ethics Committee is launching a full-scale investigation into whether Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield improperly aided his wife’s lobbying work for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. [Politico]

W. Keith Hall is apparently doing everything he can to stall the inevitable. A former Kentucky lawmaker facing a bribery charge has asked that his trial be postponed following a guilty plea by a co-defendant. [WLKY]

A man who won an auction to shoot an endangered black rhino in Namibia has been given a US permit to import the trophy if he kills one. [BBC]

The frustration of one-lane paths along U.S. 60 in Summit won’t last much beyond next weekend, although the overall project will continue for months to come. [Ashland Independent]

New rules put forward by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have a major impact on the high-cost loan industry. But if history is any guide, lenders will quickly find some loopholes. [ProPublica]

The Cave-In-Rock Ferry is resuming operation in western Kentucky between Crittenden County, Kentucky, and Hardin County, Illinois. [H-L]

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley spoke about his potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday, seeming to take a shot at the idea of another Clinton in the White House. “Let’s be honest here, the presidency is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people,” O’Malley said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” [HuffPo]

Let’s Talk About Ed Whitfield’s Corruption Again

Lawyers for the state of Kentucky are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Christian ministry that wants to be considered for a sales tax rebate program. [H-L]

Vermont’s governor told Mitch McConnell that climate change is real and we should deal with it. Mitch McConnell ignored him, counting his mountain of coal cash. You know — the thing that comes into being after mountaintop removal demolishes actual mountains — cash. [HuffPo]

Are you excited for the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Festival? Get ready. It’s almost here. If you’re not a Louisville local, you ought to take part. [C-J/AKN]

Legislators in two states are trying to repeal laws that let authorities revoke driver’s licenses or professional licenses when people fall severely behind on their student loan payments. Yep, Kentucky is one of those states. [Bloomberg]

Wondering why Andy Beshear has been trying to insert himself into the heroin fight? Because Whitney Sweaterfield has been all over it. It’s called political jealousy. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Supreme Court appeared split Wednesday over a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever limits on mercury, arsenic and acid gases emitted by power plants, slated to take effect next month for some plants. [The Hill]

The Madison County Animal Shelter is located at 1386 Richmond Road in Berea. Go there and adopt. [Richmond Register]

A special investigative panel will probe allegations that a Kentucky lawmaker helped his wife lobby on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee said on Friday. [Reuters]

The finalization of a real estate deal involving Guntown Mountain, a Western-themed roadside attraction alongside Interstate 65 in Cave City, has been pushed back a few weeks. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer. [ProPublica]

In November 2014 the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department arrested three persons after a traffic stop for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. [The Morehead News]

A breakthrough in the development of temperature-resilient beans could help sustain a vital source of protein for millions of people around the globe. [BBC]

Will artists move in droves to Covington’s west side? Nope. Lipstick on a pig. [H-L]

“Lacee Scott?” the judge called. The 23-year-old rose from a hard black plastic chair, walked past the fireplace and stood before the table at the front of the living room. [HuffPo]

It’s All About Floridian Ed Whitfield, Of Course

For the first time in the history of this tobacco state, the House voted on — and passed — a bill to ban indoor smoking statewide in workplaces and other public spaces, such as bars and restaurants. And then the Senate assigned House Bill 145 to its Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, where it saw no further action. [H-L]

There is significant evidence that cop cams cut down on most civilian complaints. But a close examination of violent encounters with the police caught on tape suggests that even with seemingly incontrovertible video evidence, questions will often linger. The kind of sea change that police reform activists desire will still likely escape them. [HuffPo]

Told ya the big money was running away from Jamie Comer. A new political action committee with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers has formed in Kentucky with plans to get involved in Kentucky’s Republican gubernatorial primary on behalf of Hal Heiner. [C-J/AKN]

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) regarding allegations that he improperly used his office to help his wife lobby Congress on behalf of the Humane Society. [The Hill]

Want your mind to be blown by state government? Check out this KEDFA Board Book from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Rather than save a file as a PDF, they printed it out and scanned it. Remember, it’s 2015, not 1992. [External PDF Link]

Remember when Kentucky enacted this legislation in 2013 and no one batted an eyelash? Thousands of people marched in Indiana’s largest city on Saturday to protest a state law that supporters contend promotes religious freedom but detractors see as a covert move to support discrimination against gay people. [Reuters]

Ten awesome Kentucky State Parks for you to visit! [University Press]

Gonna boycott Kentucky, too? Activists are encouraging a boycott of Indiana after the US state enacted a “religious freedom” law which they say discriminates against gay people. [BBC]

Now Paul Chitwood and his merry band of closet case circle jerkers are health experts. Especially when it comes to marijuana, something they’ve obviously all been smoking by the pound. [Mythical Nonsense]

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has taken over defense of his state’s ban after Attorney General Jack Conway declined to do so, is the sole state defending at the Supreme Court against both marriage and marriage recognition challenges. [BuzzFeed]

Greg Stumbo, Kentucky’s Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, is a former attorney general, the chief prosecutor in Kentucky. [Ronnie Ellis]

Apparently, some kind of big sports thing is happening and everybody is freaking out. [NPR]

Kentucky lawmakers are being criticized by leaders of public employee groups for a last-minute decision to transfer tens of millions of dollar from the public employee health insurance fund to government’s “rainy day” fund. [H-L]

A report released last week holds troubling findings about lasting inequality across the African-American community. [HuffPo]

KCTCS Has Found Its New Overpaid Chancellor

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board of Regents did a national search for a new president, but found their only finalist close to home: Current KCTCS Chancellor Jay Box. [H-L]

More than 7 million people have signed up for private health insurance under the system introduced last year for those who were uninsured or had policies considered substandard. [HuffPo]

Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. announced Wednesday that it is buying Seattle-based Big Fish Games, which bills itself as the world’s largest producer and distributor of online games, in a deal worth up to $885 million. [C-J/AKN]

Catholic bishops vote to revise rules for health care partnerships. With Catholic health systems expanding, stricter rules could have implications for reproductive and maternity care across the country. [ProPublica]

Glasgow Water Co. is getting a $3 million low-interest loan to fund most of the construction of a basin to better manage periods of overflow at the wastewater treatment plant. [Glasgow Daily Times]

How a penalty system designed to discourage unsafe mine practices is failing American miners. Jack Blankenship was pinned facedown in the dirt, his neck, shoulder and back throbbing with pain. [NPR]

The Greenup County School District will be getting some expert help in budgeting, hiring, planning and tracking resources thanks to a grant from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. [Ashland Independent]

Thanks for embarrassing Kentucky, Ed Whitfield. It’s a shame the Kentucky Democratic Party barely exists or it could have fielded a candidate to beat you. [WaPo]

With only one magistrate winning re-election, the Perry County Fiscal Court will have a brand new look next year. [Hazard Herald]

A judge gave final approval to Detroit’s plan for emerging from bankruptcy on Friday, closing the courtroom chapter of the insolvent city’s recovery after 16 months of formal bankruptcy proceedings. [Think Progress]

Moving forward with hopes for progress in the county, the Tri-Cities Heritage Development Corporation (TCHDC) has applied for a $1 million TAP (Transportation Alternative Program) Grant. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

The Obama administration told a United Nations panel in Geneva on Wednesday that the United States had tortured terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks but that it had since taken steps to prevent any future use of unlawful, coercive interrogation techniques. [NY Times]

A 48-star American Flag was lowered Tuesday to reveal the restored “Spirit of the American Doughboy” during a rededication ceremony at Morehead’s Freedom Park. [H-L]

New Mexico is the only state where the average college student has less than $20,000 of debt when she graduates, a report released Thursday shows. [HuffPo]

KY Baptists In Another Fapfest Of Homophobia

In 1994, Harlen Wheatley had just graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering when he got a phone call: would he be interested in leaving the chemical company where he was working and come work for Buffalo Trace? [H-L]

The parents of Michael Brown addressed members of the United Nations on Tuesday on a mission to bring further international awareness to the shooting death of their unarmed 18-year-old son by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson. [HuffPo]

The politics of energy and the environment could be louder than ever next year, with Sen. Mitch McConnell promising to aim squarely at President Barack Obama’s coal and climate plans from the Louisville politician’s likely new perch atop the Senate. [C-J/AKN]

Republicans like Brett Guthrie pocket mountains of telecom cash and are fighting against an open, honest internet. [Gizmodo]

A Congressional ethics probe released Monday has determined there is “substantial reason to believe” that U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield violated “House rules and standards of conduct” by having lobbying contacts with his wife and permitting his wife to have lobbying contacts with his staff. [WFPL]

Bill and Hillary Clinton were the most sought after surrogates in the Democratic Party this year. He campaigned for more than 47 candidates. She for more than 26. Supporters estimate that, together, the Clintons headlined 75 rallies and fundraisers — and logged roughly 50,000 miles jetting from state to state. [BuzzFeed]

Jerry Abramson is abandoning the insignificant and obscure office to which he was elected — lieutenant governor of Kentucky – for an even more insignificant and obscure office in the White House — deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs. [WDRB]

If you’re some kind of jackass like Ted Cruz, you probably need help understanding net neutrality. [The Oatmeal]

Dr. Michael B. McCall “was the right man in the right job at the right time,” said former Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton during a reception Tuesday for the retiring president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. [Ashland Independent]

Three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi in 1964 will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. [Reuters & Press Release]

Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Michael B. McCall has announced the appointment of Dr. Stephen Vacik as the next president of Maysville Community and Technical College. [The Morehead News]

A grand jury is expected to deliver its decision in the Michael Brown case as soon as this weekend, and the community of Ferguson, Mo., is worried that reactions could be violent. [NPR]

A former state mine inspector indicted for taking bribes from a state lawmaker is now facing charges from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. [H-L]

Kentucky Baptists on Tuesday chose to sever ties with a Louisville church that is open to performing same-sex marriages. [HuffPo]

JCPS Teacher Suing Over KTRS Shenanigans

In a downtown Lexington church on Sunday, Mildred Bailey, 72, spoke of her mother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, which took her life 10 years ago. [H-L]

More from the Department of Things Ken Ham Won’t Understand… When paleontologists discovered the 47-million-year fossil of a prehistoric horse in 2000, they didn’t yet realize a rare treasure was hidden inside. [HuffPo]

An independent ethics investigation concluded there is “substantial reason to believe” that Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield had improper lobbying contacts with his wife in connection with legislation he sponsored and co-sponsored in the House. [C-J/AKN]

The House Ethics Committee has declined to open a full-scale investigation into whether Rep. Ed Whitfield improperly aided his wife’s lobbying work even though congressional investigators found that Whitifield’s office helped set up “as many as 100 meetings” for his wife’s organization. [Politico]

Eastern Kentuckians seeking remote-work jobs they can perform using a computer and the Internet now have more chances to train for and enter the fast-growing digital economy thanks to a partnership between two telework and technology innovators. [Hazard Herald]

Republicans say they will use their new powers to undermine regulations aimed at curbing carbon pollution, and also now have greater leverage in pushing President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. [NY Times]

Rowan County Fiscal Court will have two new members when recently elected county officials take office on Jan. 5. [The Morehead News]

Veterans who served after 9/11 and those who are between the ages of 18 and 25 have fared worse in recent years, according to federal data. [WaPo]

A Jefferson County Public Schools teacher filed a lawsuit Monday against the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, which has been called one of the worst-funded pension systems for educators in the U.S. [WFPL]

Spoiler alert — House Republicans weren’t going to help the Miniature Texan run for two federal offices at the same time no matter what he says. [Mother Jones]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Buffalo Trace captured international attention last fall when 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon disappeared without a trace. Now, 13 months later, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton, who once promised to “bring Pappy home” says “Pappy” is gone. [WLKY]

US judge Steven Rhodes has approved of Detroit’s plan to exit from bankruptcy, 16 months after the city became the largest ever in the US to go broke. [BBC]

In the seven years since Sha’an Mouliert’s son was sent to a privately run prison a thousand miles away, the Vermont woman hasn’t laid eyes on him. [H-L]

Republican leaders have warned President Barack Obama that pursuing more executive actions after last week’s midterm drubbing would be like playing with fire. But Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on Monday that unilateral action by the president on economic issues is more necessary than ever. [HuffPo]