UK Needs A Serious Reality Check

Really, suing poor people because they can’t afford health care?! A group of Kentuckians has asked a Franklin County judge to grant class action status to a lawsuit aimed at stopping the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Revenue from garnishing people’s wages for unpaid medical bills. [H-L]

But they are not the only Kochs. There are, in fact, four Koch brothers and nearly a dozen Koch kids, many of whom have their own billions, their own ideologies and their own political ambitions. [HuffPo]

Democratic candidate for governor Andy Beshear has promised that any money his 2015 campaign for attorney general received that was tainted by the Tim Longmeyer kickback scandal will be donated to the political watchdog group Common Cause. But an analysis of the campaign contributions to Beshear’s 2015 primary and general election committees shows that Beshear may not have enough remaining in his current balance to cover what might be considered “tainted” dollars. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is cutting most of the funds previously provided to groups that help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and will push them to promote plans lacking the law’s benefits and protections, a government agency said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Madison County is seeking a transportation grant in the amount of $25 million to complete the widening of the KY Highway 52 connector road, judge/executive Reagan Taylor said Tuesday during a regular scheduled fiscal court meeting in Berea. [Richmond Register]

It’s unclear what Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, has said to Mr. Trump. But the notion that Mr. Trump single-handedly and drastically reversed military spending by members is inaccurate. [NY Times]

A federal appeals court has reinstated the conviction of a former Ashland cardiologist accused of performing heart procedures on patients who did not need them. [Ashland Independent]

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the Trump administration to stop distributing a government form that offers to reunite detained migrant parents with their children once the parents are ready to be deported from the United States. [WaPo]

After a 3-2 vote by the Morehead Tourism Commission two weeks ago went against backing a quarter of the funds needed to support the Kentucky Folk Art Center, a revote could be in sight. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump has clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Russian influence and defence spending, ahead of a Nato summit. [BBC]

It was hardly a surprise and he won’t be the last, but Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Monday he will run for governor next year. [Ronnie Ellis]

A family of chemicals — known as PFAS and responsible for marvels like Teflon and critical to the safety of American military bases — has now emerged as a far greater menace than previously disclosed. [ProPublica]

Dr. Misty Clark, a dentist who operates her own practice in Prestonsburg, pulled up her schedule Tuesday afternoon and shook her head. Her calendar showed five and a half hours of vacancies — an usual sight for Clark, who normally fills her schedule with as many as three patients an hour. But since last week, when Matt Bevin cut dental and vision coverage for about 460,000 low-income Kentuckians on Medicaid, more than half of Clark’s patients have been turned away. [H-L]

In 2005, a group of workers at a meatpacking plant in Brooklyn voted to join a union. Their employer, a kosher meat wholesaler called Agri Processor, fought the organizing effort as best it could. Once the workers were unionized, the company refused to bargain, arguing that most of them weren’t covered by collective bargaining law because they were undocumented immigrants. [HuffPo]

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More Koch Crap Comes To Kentucky

Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billioanaire(sic) Koch brothers, says it plans ads against Kentucky’s Hal Rogers over ‘wasteful’ spending. [H-L]

The government program meant to place unaccompanied children taken from the U.S.-Mexico border into the care of a parent or sponsor admitted last month it lost nearly 1,500 of them. And it said it isn’t responsible for finding them either. [HuffPo]

Simon Wallace is proud of his barbershop, where he knows the customers by name. Many are from the surrounding blocks and simply walk to his modest shop, just off the corner of 28th Street and Greenwood Avenue in Parkland. [C-J/AKN]

The FBI warned on Friday that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic. [Reuters]

When Amy McGrath stepped behind a microphone Tuesday night in Richmond after her eight-point win over Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the Democratic primary for the Sixth Congressional District, she began her victory speech this way… [Ronnie Ellis]

Seizing on a longtime ambition of many Republicans, Donald Trump on Friday overhauled rules affecting at least two million federal workers, making it easier to fire them and rolling back the workplace role of their unions. [NY Times]

The city of Ashland is aggressively exploring new ways to grow jobs in the city. [Ashland Independent]

In the photo, Gigi Daniel-Zagorites grips the edge of a small bookcase, her tilted head peering over. The bookcase and a cabinet barricade the 13-year-old in one corner of a classroom. Two women sit, backs turned. [WaPo]

In a race decided by less than 200 votes (of 4,447 total) and 4 percent of total voters, Kim Barker-Tabor secured the seat of Rowan County Circuit Court Clerk during the Primary Election Tuesday evening. [The Morehead News]

When Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure form was released last week, we dropped what we were doing and started digging. [ProPublica]

A majority of the board of directors for Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services approved for the fiscal year beginning July 1 a $4.85 million budget – $1.11 million more than the one approved for this year – as it was proposed, with no amendments. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This is the FBI’s standard operating procedure in counterintelligence cases. Although Trump and his defenders have frequently stated that employing informants was illegal and scandalously inappropriate, that’s just one more Trumpian falsehood. [Observer]

A Kentucky school district that has seen four employees charged with child sex offenses in an 18-month span faces new allegations in court, but is trying to reassure parents that student safety is a top priority. [H-L]

It’s literally his policy. Donald Trump has bashed the Democrats for a hugely controversial policy created by his own administration: separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents. [HuffPo]

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Medicinal Marijuana Is A No-Brainer

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The Lexington city council voted Tuesday to support medical marijuana, becoming the largest city in Kentucky to back efforts to allow some patients access to marijuana. Bullitt County, Maysville and Mason County have passed similar resolutions in recent years supporting state-level changes in the law to allow patients to get marijuana for medical conditions. [H-L]

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court looks poised to deliver a historic blow to labor unions after hearing oral arguments in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees case on Monday. [HuffPo]

Con man. The Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet has approved another $400,000 in “angel investments” in a company that is owned partly by Gov. Matt Bevin. [C-J/AKN]

US counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals, according to two sources familiar with the matter. [CNN]

A school safety expert told state lawmakers Thursday there’s “no way” arming teachers would make schools safer in the wake of the mass shooting at Marshall County High School. [WFPL]

Kentucky Republicans are disgusting for defending marriage between children and adults. And it’s a shame that Julie Raque Adams is such a coward that she refused to name the Family Foundation lobbyists working to keep child brides legal. Comes as no surprise, though, as she’s defending Jamie Comer’s alleged domestic violence. [USA Today]

The new members of the board of directors at Ashland Community & Technical College were sworn in Friday morning in a meeting that also detailed the timeline in a search for a new college president. [Ashland Independent]

Former CIA director John Brennan delivered a brutal assessment of Donald Trump on Friday, capping off the most tumultuous week the administration has seen in months. Trump is “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical,” Brennan said in an interview with MSNBC. [Business Insider]

For six years, a pharmaceutical distributor sent more than 50 million doses of prescription opioids to five eastern Kentucky counties, enough for every person there to have 417 pills each. [Richmond Register]

Whatever the special counsel concludes legally about “collusion,” evidence on public display already paints a jarring picture. It shows an American president who has embraced Russian money and illicit favors, while maintaining rhetoric and policies benefiting Russia and undercutting national security officials of his own country. [CNBC]

The Glasgow Electric Plant Board has approved a rate plan that implements a $5 reduction in the flat customer charge portion of residential customers’ bills in order to meet the agreement it made to appease certain council members and fulfill a request made by a customer advisory group. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The European Union will hit back at the heart of the United States, slapping tariffs on products like Harley-Davidsons, Kentucky bourbon and bluejeans, if Very Stable Genius Trump goes ahead with a plan to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the president of the bloc’s executive arm vowed on Friday. [NY Times]

Attorney General Andy Beshear — who has had to spend way too much time reining in Bevin’s illegal overreaching in a number of areas — should find a way to recover profits from this book to repay Kentucky taxpayers some of the more than $225,000 in legal expenses Davis’ actions have cost us. Beshear won’t do it, though, because he won’t even try to recover what’s owed to Montgomery County Schools. [Tom Eblen]

Last year was the deadliest on record for LGBTQ people, but you wouldn’t know that based on news coverage. According to a new report from press watchdog Media Matters, cable and broadcast news spent less than 40 minutes across seven networks covering anti-LGBTQ violence, despite a year of unprecedented attacks. [HuffPo]

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RPK Is Still Killing Your Environment

Some Republicans in the state House of Representatives are pushing anti-solar legislation by playing one of Kentucky’s favorite political blame games: You’re Subsidized, But I’m Not. [H-L]

Donald Trump Jr. used Twitter to launch an unprovoked attack on U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on Tuesday night. [HuffPo]

Ed Hart got his ass handed to him again, it seems. Kentucky Kingdom withdrew its support Friday for a controversial measure that would allow seasonal businesses to avoid paying employees overtime, two days after a union threatened a wider boycott against the Louisville-based amusement park. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure. (Posting this so you can see what folks “expected” to occur.) [NY Times]

When someone wants to purchase a keg of beer from craft brewer Adam Watson, he has to turn them away because Kentucky law limits how much he can sell to a customer. [Richmond Register]

Another day, another attack on Medicaid — and on the poor and working class. In other words, those five states want to time-limit or cap the total period of time an individual could receive Medicaid benefits over his or her lifetime. [WaPo]

This guy is clearly mentally unfit to serve if he thinks budget cuts aren’t worrying and troublesome. Kentucky Sheriff’s Departments are one of many governmental units facing budget cuts from Matt Bevin’s proposed plan, but Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods isn’t worried. [Ashland Independent]

A second U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. [Reuters]

As many as 14 school districts are faced with the inability to pay their bills by the end of the school year and some Kentucky lawmakers say they’re only a harbinger of things to come. [Ronnie Ellis]

More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case. A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations. [ProPublica]

Refundable tax incentives that have been made available to film production companies in the past by the state have been temporarily suspended. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A US spy chief has warned that presidential aides with interim security clearances should have “limited” access to secret information. US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the clearance process was “broken” and needs to be reformed. [BBC]

In the wake of the shooting that claimed the lives of two students and injured 21 others, Marshall County High School is requiring all students to have their bags, backpacks and purses checked before entering school. [H-L]

When Betsy DeVos was named education secretary last February, she become public education’s No. 1 enemy. After all, the billionaire is notorious for her desire to expand private school choice programs (which include many religious private schools that teach Christian fundamentalist doctrine). [HuffPo]

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Sure, People Are A Problem. But So Are Unchecked, Unregulated Firearms That Get Into The Hands Of Children.

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The first warning of trouble many students had during the deadly shooting at a Western Kentucky high school Tuesday was a pop that some mistook for a balloon bursting, but the scene turned to hell in seconds, according to several who were there. [H-L]

A male same-sex couple is suing the U.S. State Department after one of their twins, born in Canada, was denied American citizenship, even though his birth certificate lists one citizen parent. [HuffPo]

It was a normal day. Joseph Morton was in the school library working on a computer. Ariyanne Posey stood in an area called the commons with friends. Keatyn Gamble was about to leave her home, across the street from Marshall County High School. [C-J/AKN]

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians. [The Verge]

It’s not just Republicans with zero desire to do something about the school shooting epidemic that’s been a Kentucky problem for more than 20 years. It’s also Democrats. Both just want to twiddle their thumbs. [WFPL]

A federal judge late on Thursday said President Donald Trump’s administration cannot immediately deport 92 Cambodian citizens from the United States without first allowing them a chance to challenge the action in court. [Reuters]

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, schools in the Bluegrass saw frightening levels of weapons being brought to the schools. [WKYT]

A Trump administration appointee to the National Labor Relations Board benefited the interests and clients of his former law firm when he cast the deciding vote to undo rules protecting workers’ rights in two cases last month. [ProPublica]

The Madison County School Board approved a 2018-19 draft budget at Thursday’s meeting. However, many of the numbers had to be allocated to unknown costs noted in Matt Bevin’s new proposed state budget, which would require the district to contribute hefty amounts to retirements, health insurance, transportation and more. [Richmond Register]

We’re looking at you, Six Flags Over Jesus in Louisville. Several people have died from suicide over the last several years as a result of their conversion therapy program. This person was tortured in gay conversion therapy. It’s still legal in 41 states. [NY Times]

The monthly board of directors meeting for Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service was cut short Wednesday due to the lack of a quorum partway through, but several items of business were conducted in the meantime. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Jeffrey Wertkin had a plot to bring in business and impress his new partners after joining one of Washington’s most influential law firms. As a former high-stakes corporate-fraud prosecutor with the Department of Justice, he had secretly stockpiled sealed lawsuits brought by whistleblowers. Now, he would sell copies of the suits to the very targets of the pending government investigations — and his services to defend them. Wertkin carried out his plan for months, right up until the day an FBI agent arrested him in a California hotel lobby. [WaPo]

The University Press of Kentucky celebrates is 75th birthday Monday as the primary publisher of books about this state. For the past 49 years, it also has been the main publisher for Kentucky’s public and private universities and historical societies. But if Matt Bevin has his way, this birthday will be its last. [Tome Eblen]

A little over a year ago, American commerce quietly passed a techno-dystopian landmark when IBM ― one of the most prestigious and storied computer companies ― undertook a new project: automating the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. [HuffPo]

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Aaaaand We’ve Already Forgotten What Happened In Benton Because People Only Have A Facebook Attention Span

Kentucky is among 21 states, along with the District of Columbia and several public interest groups that filed the first major lawsuits Tuesday to block the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, marking the start of a high-stakes legal battle over the future of the Internet. [H-L]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned last week by the special counsel’s office investigating potential collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday. [HuffPo]

$170,000 wasted in Louisville in an attempt to lure an Amazon facility. [C-J/AKN]

Yes, the shutdown could be forgotten in a flash. Because everything is beyond crazy. [NY Times]

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by labor groups challenging the constitutionality of Kentucky’s right-to-work law, passed in the opening days of the 2017 General Assembly. [Ronnie Ellis]

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has detained or deported several prominent immigrant activists across the country, prompting accusations from advocates that the Trump administration is improperly targeting political opponents. [WaPo]

The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), now describes influenza activity in Kentucky as an epidemic. [The Morehead News]

Dozens of Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria and currently living in Connecticut hotels have been told they will no longer get federal assistance to pay for their lodgings, just days after being promised an extension to their temporary housing assistance. [BuzzFeed]

Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni discussed Matt Bevin’s recently proposed budget in a letter to WKU faculty and staff that he posted via Twitter on Monday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At least the Canadian press is paying attention. Donald Trump has allowed Kentucky to become the first state to impose work requirements as a condition of receiving Medicaid. Medicaid recipients are terrified. [Toronto Star]

Matt Bevin’s proposed budget would eliminate state funding for the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University. [Ashland Independent]

A 15-year-old girl died at the scene at Marshall County High School in the town of Benton and a 15-year-old boy died in hospital, said Kentucky’s governor. [BBC]

Animals are in overcrowded county shelters that don’t have enough money to operate because the state has failed to enforce a 2004 law, according to a new lawsuit filed against Gov. Matt Bevin and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. Aside from Newtz, the plaintiffs who brought the complaint include Angelika Kasey and Christina Tobin of Louisville, and Julia Sharp on behalf of TLC Rescue, a nonprofit corporation that rescues animals in Rowan, Bath, Fleming and Carter counties. [H-L]

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been interviewed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties to Russia. [HuffPo]

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Kentucky Republicans Failed Miserably

Kentucky’s New Republicans are some of the dumbest people you’ll ever meet. I mean it. Straight-up dumb. From victim-blaming Jeff Hoover to racist guy with brown kids Matt Bevin, they’re just garbage people. The worst. All sex education classes in Kentucky’s public schools would have to include abstinence education under a proposal approved by a Senate panel Thursday, despite the dramatic testimony of a high school rape survivor who said such efforts shame people. [H-L]

Two FBI officials texted each other burns about politicians, but their main ideological commitment seems to be to the power and independence of the FBI. [HuffPo]

Union mechanics at UPS have turned to Sen. Mitch McConnell to ratchet up pressure amid contract talks, citing assurances from lawmakers and the shipping giant that tax reform would lead to boosted paychecks for workers — when they’ve gone four years without a salary increase. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge pushing for a quick settlement of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors by U.S. cities and counties is seeking to meet with states that are separately suing and probing the companies, Ohio’s attorney general said on Thursday. [Reuters]

Candidates for the 89th District Representative seat, which will be decided in a Feb. 27 special election, have been chosen. [Richmond Register]

The controversy that swirled around the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity far exceeded its output. The commission made no decisions, issued no reports, and consequently had no impact on election laws. The group’s existence was brief: Its creation was announced in March. It had its first meeting in July, its second in September, and as of yesterday, it is no more. [ProPublica]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court will “take a hard look” at a new, $600,000 request from the county jail for more staffing, but it would likely be impossible this fiscal year according to Judge-Executive Steve Towler. [Ashland Independent]

A Wisconsin school district has agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a transgender student who said he was forbidden from using boys bathrooms at his high school and felt degraded by administrators. [NY Times]

In his second convocation as president of Morehead State University, Dr. Jay Morgan spoke of the positive things happening at the university, despite recent obstacles. [The Morehead News]

Ever since the abortion pill RU-486 began to hit the market in the 1980s, questions have lingered about its safety, especially for women who take it in countries where terminating an unwanted pregnancy is restricted and they cannot openly seek help from a medical professional if something goes wrong. [WaPo]

Administrators of a local school district say they are following the guidelines set by state law to teach a Bible literacy course as a high school elective after being challenged by a watchdog group. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Most people on Medicaid already work, and mandating work for others does not help them escape poverty. In fact studies show it can make things worse. Some myths just won’t die, no matter how odious or untrue. And in the Trump era of outright lies masquerading as “alternative” facts, it is no surprise that we are seeing decades-old canards creep back into, and muddy, policy debates. A new Trump administration policy does just that by encouraging states to place work requirements on people who want to receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. [USA Today]

Berea College has received $30 million in federal grant money to help improve the Perry County schools. [H-L]

Past presidents volunteered on MLK Day. Donald Trump spent it lining his pockets at one of his gaudy golf clubs. [HuffPo]

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