Next Up: Big Gay Divorce Settlements

CHERRY ON TOP OF THE DAY: W. Keith Hall was convicted of bribing that mine inspector. He’ll be sentenced September 17. Faces a decade in prison. [Damn]

Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, took the witness stand Thursday in his bribery trial to acknowledge that he paid tens of thousands of dollars to the state inspector assigned to his Pike County coal mines. [H-L]

Love wins. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. [HuffPo]

In a historic ruling reshaping the definition of the American family, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and other states, holding that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. [C-J/AKN]

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you’re burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation’s electric grid is changing. [NPR]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court voted last week to file the audit for the previous fiscal year, which suggested problems with the body’s efforts to be transparent and organized. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential contenders face a dilemma when talking about racial issues after last week’s racially motivated murders at a South Carolina church, as a new poll shows many Republican primary voters are less likely to see the topic as important. [Reuters]

The Industrial Development Economic Authority board approved in a special-called meeting to create a new budget category and more money for park work in the city and the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Racehorses are continuing to get quicker, a study of winning times spanning 165 years of racing indicates. [BBC]

The Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce recognized Dr. Ewell Scott with this year’s Ora L. Cline Award, its highest honor. [The Morehead News]

The Federal Election Commission should just do its job already. [Mother Jones]

After struggling for years with a billing system that was created in the 1980s, the City of Hazard is finally moving toward a 21st Century way of billing its utility customers. [Hazard Herald]

In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants. But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. [NY Times]

Federal authorities are investigating controversial Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn, according to an attorney familiar with the situation. [H-L]

Searches for “gun shop” are usually more popular than “gun control,” according to data Google Trends averaged from the past year. But in the 72 hours following the Charleston shooting, “gun control” was the more popular search term in 45 states. Only South Dakota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and North Carolina saw more queries for “gun shop.” [HuffPo]

Fun thing: Attorneys can finally focus on making this thing happen again. Give us all your money so I can stop working 18 hours per day sometime in the future. [Just Do It]

Don’t Forget Who Wrote Rand’s Book

Fayette County Public Schools superintendent candidate Emmanuel “Manny” Caulk said he would bring the skill set of a CEO to the district. [H-L]

Millions of people gained health insurance last year as Affordable Care Act benefits took effect, according to the first official accounting by the federal government. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul called for removal of the confederate flag but he still had a racist, confederate flag-wearing wingnut write one of his books. [C-J/AKN]

Ban gifts and pay trustees? From May 3 to May 7 of this year, hundreds of pension trustees from around the nation gathered at the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems’ annual conference in New Orleans. The gathering, billed as educational, also featured representatives of dozens of financial firms eager to expand their business. [International Business Times]

Trial has begun for a former state lawmaker accused of secretly paying tens of thousands of dollars to a mine inspector in 2009 and 2010 “so he could have that inspector in his back pocket if he needed it,” according to a federal prosecutor. [Ashland Independent]

More Americans are renting — and paying more — as homeownership falls. [NY Times]

The Glasgow Police Department was recently awarded a $3,000 matching grant through the Kentucky League of Cities and purchased several pieces of equipment with it. [Glasgow Daily Times]

An overwhelming majority of Americans say they believe protests against unfair government treatment make the United States a better country. Unless, that is, the protesters are black. [WaPo]

Supporters of a new law that will expand the use of ignition interlocks say it will save lives. [WAVE3]

The Ebola epidemic in Guinea that began early last year has set back the country’s fight against malaria, say experts. [BBC]

Kentucky State Police Post 8 Morehead is conducting a felony investigation in the Clearfield area of Rowan County and is requesting the public’s assistance. [The Morehead News]

Global equity markets and the dollar slipped on Wednesday as skittish investors sought the safety of less risky assets as the possibility of a Greek debt default loomed a little bit larger. [Reuters]

The Urban County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the purchase of body cameras for Lexington police officers. A final vote on the $600,000 allocation is expect in a couple of weeks. [H-L]

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi waved the white flag on Wednesday, telling her caucus she would support passage of a key measure tethered to President Barack Obama’s broader trade agenda. Her support all but guarantees that the measure will succeed, thereby handing Obama a major victory on trade. [HuffPo]

Frankfort Repubs Harm Public Health

W. Keith Hall, then a powerful state lawmaker who owned coal mines in Pike County, secretly paid tens of thousands of dollars to a state mine inspector in 2009 and 2010 “so he could have that inspector in his back pocket if he needed it,” a federal prosecutor told a jury Monday. [John Cheves]

Those who believe slavery was not a central point of conflict in the Civil War may wish to peruse the South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas declarations of secession. Those documents all explicitly cite threats to slavery as reasons for secession. Mississippi’s declaration goes so far as to say that “a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.” [HuffPo]

One week into the opening of Louisville’s syringe exchange, health officials doled out 1,352 clean syringes to drug users and collected just 189. So get with the program, small town Kentucky! [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Los Angeles ordinance that lets police view hotel guest registries without a warrant violates the privacy rights of business owners, taking away what the city called a vital tool to fight prostitution and other crimes. [Reuters]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved, with modifications, a settlement agreement granting a rate increase to Kentucky Power Co. [Ashland Independent]

Racist wingnuts are the worst. The absolute worst. This country can do better than this hatred. [ThinkProgress]

After hearing additional information from Mayor Dick Doty and comments from the city’s fire chief, Glasgow City Council decided to abandon the idea of placing a third fire station at a site donated by a local manufacturing company. [Glasgow Daily Times]

On the eve of what could be a landmark US Supreme Court decision enshrining gay marriage as a constitutional right across the country, evangelical conservatives converged on Washington DC to talk politics and size up Republican presidential hopefuls. [BBC]

“Freedom Fest: Thunder Over Triplett,” is not only a fireworks show but a community event that has brought together several organizations to create an evening of fun and fellowship. [The Morehead News]

Police across the country have collected an enormous amount of data with license plate readers over the past few years. But what does that data actually tell us and who can see it? [NPR]

Leave it to backwater Republicans to complain about Louisville’s needle exchange. [WKYT]

GOP-backed legislation pending in Congress would thwart NASA’s push to end U.S. dependence on the Kremlin to send astronauts to the International Space Station, the agency is warning. [The Hill]

For Rand Paul, the rubber is meeting the road. In the wake of last week’s racist shootings in Charleston, S.C., the Republican Party has been torn on the issue of whether the Confederate flag should continue to fly on the grounds of the state Capitol in Columbia. [H-L]

Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (D) said on Sunday that the lack of gun control in the United States was “insane.” [HuffPo]

Mitch McConnell is unpopular in Kentucky and Matt Bevin is leading Jack Conway. [PPP]

Check Your White Privilege. Now.

Fishface, cokehead, dumbo, retarded, coward, and prick – Use of those words has led to the temporary suspension of a Pike County circuit judge. The Judicial Conduct Commission temporarily suspended Steven D. Combs Tuesday until the resolution of 10 charges brought against him, according to documents released by the commission. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gained support in New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary polls and is now within 10 percentage points of front-runner Hillary Clinton. [HuffPo]

Sometimes you just can’t fix stupid. Although he vows to repeal the Common Core education standards if elected governor, Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin owns part of an education technology company that embraces those standards. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Federal Reserve is meeting with the possibility of an interest rate hike squarely on the table, but with a different issue center stage: Is the worst of 2015 over? [Reuters]

Gas prices in the Lexington and Madison County areas rose 10.9 center per gallon in the past week. [Richmond Register]

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Cabinet approved increasing the country’s solar target five times to a goal of reaching 100 gigawatts, up from 20 GW, by 2022. [ThinkProgress]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court took two major steps Tuesday toward limiting trash intake at Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

A global bioenergy assessment has said biofuels could meet up to a third of the world’s transportation fuel needs by the middle of the century. [BBC]

Barren County Fiscal Court passed a revised version of its budget on Tuesday, amended to reduce the amount of funding from prior years’ surplus. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This is not a time for peace and quiet. Only scared white people want peace and quiet. [NY Times]

The Kentucky Arts Council is accepting applications from artists interested in participating in a program that helps them market their creations. [WKYT]

The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access. [Consumerist]

Eleven individuals and one state championship team will comprise the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame’s fourth class of inductees. They will be inducted into the hall at a ceremony Aug. 22 at Woodford County Middle School. They also will be introduced during a halftime ceremony at the Aug. 21 Woodford County High School football game. [H-L]

It appears the baby recession really is over: Preliminary figures show U.S. births were up last year for the first time in seven years. [HuffPo]

Kentucky Kids Always Seem To Lose

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray applauded the work of the Urban County Council in its deliberation of his proposed $323 million budget on Tuesday but declined to say if he would veto any changes council made to the budget. [H-L]

Former Detective Joe Crystal sat at a back table in Martin’s West Ballroom last Thursday, scanning the room filled with police officers for any friends he still had left. [HuffPo]

The number of Kentucky children removed from homes because of abuse or neglect has reached more than 8,000 — the highest in memory for child advocates who find the increase alarming. [C-J/AKN]

Roughly half of deaths from 12 smoking-related cancers may be linked directly to cigarette use, a U.S. study estimates. [Reuters]

Just fewer than 100 new laws take effect in Kentucky next week, laws that loosen regulations on telephone providers, allow hunters to donate game meat to those who feed the hungry and one that restricts who can distribute beer. [Ronnie Ellis]

Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the enhanced interrogation techniques deployed by his brother after Sept. 11 attacks were no longer appropriate, that he hoped the Supreme Court would rule against same-sex marriage, and mocked Hillary Rodham Clinton for passing few laws during her eight years in the Senate. [NY Times]

For four days, 413 teenagers and volunteers have come to Madison County to change the homes — and lives — of at least 28 area residents. [Richmond Register]

A new study from the University of Colorado Denver finds that there has already been scientific consensus on same-sex parenting for decades. [ThinkProgress]

Three months later and still no arrests. Investigators tell us they need your help as they try to figure out who killed a Laurel County couple and set their home on fire. [WKYT]

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appears to be giving Hillary Clinton the best competition among Republican presidential contenders in his home state and in Pennsylvania, in the latest Quinnipiac University poll of swing states released Wednesday. [Politico]

“I need a motion for Fiscal Court to approve a survey of the East Kentucky Tobacco Warehouse to be performed in anticipation of purchase for Rowan County Detention site.” That is what Cecil Watkins, county attorney, said Tuesday in Rowan Fiscal Court’s regular meeting. [The Morehead News]

Federal officials have spent years locked in a secret legal battle with UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s biggest Medicare Advantage insurer, after a government audit detected widespread overbilling at one of the company’s health plans, newly released records show. [NPR]

A southern Kentucky doctor has been arrested in Tennessee after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. [H-L]

Don’t call Chris Christie rich. The Clintons say they still have bills to pay. And Mike Huckabee? Despite his wealth, he was born “blue collar, not blue blood.” [HuffPo]

You Should Follow The Landfill Saga

With a little more than six months before a new state law to address dating violence takes effect, Kentucky officials are trying to determine how best to offer emergency protective orders to victims of abusive dating relationships. [H-L]

Confidence in the police is lower than it’s been in more than 20 years, according to a new Gallup poll measuring the levels of faith in American institutions. [HuffPo]

This is just jacked up. The giant banner across Jackson Street in the heart of Louisville’s medical center offers hope for victims of a dread disease. [C-J/AKN]

As the iconic American gun maker Colt Defense struggled to stay in business after losing a key contract to supply M4 rifles to the U.S. Army, the company was paying a range of political allies, including the National Rife Association, the consulting firm set up by retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, and other trade groups and lobbying outfits. [The Intercept]

Big Run Landfill will no longer accept waste in the form of bales transported in gondola cars due to odor issues connected to this type of rail transportation of trash, according to top landfill company officials. [Ashland Independent]

The White House has pushed foundations, institutional investors and philanthropies to commit more than $4 billion to clean energy projects and help fight climate change, doubling a goal set in February, officials said. [Reuters]

Jack Conway made a stop in Prestonsburg Monday as part of the campaign tour he and his team have dubbed the “Bluegrass Business Listening Tour.” [Floyd County Times]

The European Space Agency says its comet lander, Philae, has woken up and contacted Earth. [BBC]

Representatives from the coal and utility industries as well as environmental and community activists appeared on KET’s Kentucky Tonight to discuss what’s next in energy and environmental issues in the state. [KET]

Political gridlock over climate change has left the US military exposed to Russia’s superior fleets in the Arctic, flooding in its naval bases and a more unstable world, according to high-ranking former military commanders and security advisors. [Mother Jones]

When lawmakers failed to agree on ways to shore up the troubled Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, some – like House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown – called on Gov. Steve Beshear to appoint a task force to study solutions. [Ronnie Ellis]

A couple of miles outside the town of Page, three 775-foot-tall caramel-colored smokestacks tower like sentries on the edge of northern Arizona’s sprawling red sandstone wilderness. At their base, the Navajo Generating Station, the West’s largest power-generating facility, thrums ceaselessly, like a beating heart. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has revealed how a pledged $10 million dollars will be used to tackle the state’s heroin epidemic. [H-L]

Real estate developer Donald Trump’s speech announcing he is running for the Republican nomination for president contained a number of false and misleading statements on the economy, trade, health care and terrorism. [HuffPo]

Legislative Ethics Are Not A Thing In KY

Just in case you were wondering why nothing ever happens when legislators are unethical mountains of awful? John Schaaf, who has been legal counsel for the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission since 2004, will become its news executive director Aug. 1. [H-L]

Tens of thousands of people are deported each year for minor drug offenses, even if they served their time long ago, because of draconian U.S. drug laws, according to a report released Tuesday by the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch. [HuffPo]

When an alleged victim of domestic violence recanted her claims last week, a judge interrogated her in court without counsel and threw her in jail on a $10,000 bond for filing a false report. But the offices of the Jefferson County attorney and public defender agreed that District Judge Sheila Collins’ actions were a miscarriage of justice, and in an extraordinary effort, they cooperated to win the release of Jasmine Stone. [C-J/AKN]

Asset Preservation Advisors says Kentucky could be the next Illinois and you should be highly selective about Kentucky bonds. Mostly because the state’s pension disaster is… a disaster. Despite the b.s. story Frankfort tries to sell you. [External PDF Link]

Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, wrote to top state environmental officials requesting the venue for Big Run Landfill’s permit renewal public hearing be in Boyd County. [Ashland Independent]

Nobody disputes the fact that Deng Manyoun attacked a Louisville police officer with a flag pole on Saturday afternoon. What is up for debate — among police and the public in Kentucky — is whether the officer’s split-second decision to respond by firing two bullets into the 35-year-old was justified. [WaPo]

The Madison County Fiscal Court held a surplus auction on Saturday at the County Road Department #2 Building, at 208 Clarksville Lane. The auction, which brought in $39,798, was the first held by the County in three years. [Richmond Register]

A majority of Americans say Congress should make sure Obamacare subsidies to buy health insurance are available nationwide if the Supreme Court rules that the payments in at least 34 states are illegal, according to a poll released on Tuesday. [Reuters]

Cave City Council members approved on second reading four ordinances during a special-called meeting Friday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Sen. Rand Paul is the only Republican presidential hopeful who would not be better on foreign policy than Democrat Hillary Clinton. [Politico]

The Rowan County Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is hosting a community meeting regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline repurposing project on Tuesday, June 23, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carl D. Perkins Community Center in Morehead. [The Morehead News]

The environmental justice movement has been fighting the hazards and toxins disproportionately affecting poor communities of color for decades. [Mother Jones]

Run on it or run away from it? When it comes to Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, that’s the decidedly complicated question facing Democrats running for statewide office in a state that seems to hate Obamacare and seems to like Kynect. [H-L]

If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs. [HuffPo]