Kentucky Republicans Are Screwing Workers

Jim DeCesare, Phillip Pratt, Jim DuPlessis (the guy who publicly & proudly defends child sex predators), Richard Heath and Robby Mills are the kind of people you stick in a bad Bowling Green nursing home and forget about. They’re that awful. A proposal in the Kentucky legislature would eliminate or reduce unemployment benefits for tens of thousands of out-of-work Kentuckians each year, boosting the bottom lines of businesses by forcing the unemployed to live on less. [H-L]

Patrick McCarthy relies on tips to support his family. When a diner leaves one on his table, the career server takes comfort in knowing the tip belongs to him ― not the cook in the kitchen and not the manager in the back office. [HuffPo]

Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard, a lawyer who was sent to prison for three years for corruption in office, is in trouble again — this time for allegedly calling another attorney and her spouse “pitifull (sic) fat, ugly lesbians.” [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration is considering making it harder for foreigners living in the United States to get permanent residency if they or their American-born children use public benefits such as food assistance, in a move that could sharply restrict legal immigration. [Reuters]

Y’all keeping an eye on this? The Special Barren County Ambulance Service Taxing District has received its first bills for the financial commitments of Glasgow and Barren County governments for the Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This is damning and embarrassing for Kentucky because Thomas Massie is a literal disgrace. This climate science denier powers his house with a solar battery. [ThinkProgress]

The state House approved a proposed constitutional amendment which would allow the legislature to overturn regulations by the executive branch — even when the General Assembly is not in session. [Ronnie Ellis]

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago. [NPR]

The 2018 race for Boyd County jailer will be hotly contested following a series of troubling incidents at the detention center, and a decision by incumbent Jailer Joe Burchett to not seek re-election. [Ashland Independent]

With approval from the Trump administration fresh in hand, Kentucky is rushing to roll out its first-in-the-nation plan to require many Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or train for a job — even as critics mount a legal challenge to stop it on the grounds that it violates the basic tenets of the program. [NY Times]

Surprise! The folks running the Bowling Green Daily News are still racist. [BGDN]

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma said on Saturday that it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways drugmakers market addictive painkillers. [WaPo]

The new Republican Party of Kentucky is focused on gutting education and educational accountability on all fronts. A proposal to significantly loosen oversight of for-profit colleges and schools in Kentucky has passed its first hurdle in the General Assembly, but some worried lawmakers say they hope to improve the final version of the proposal. [Linda Blackford]

Almost 390 days since Donald Trump’s inauguration, a critical White House role remains conspicuously vacant. Despite repeated calls from lawmakers and top scientists to nominate a science adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Trump has yet to appoint one. [HuffPo]

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Frankfort Is Proving Its Awfulness 24/7

You’ll never guess which bloated conman filed this legislation. A House committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would limit the Kentucky attorney general’s authority to hire outside lawyers to pursue expensive and complex lawsuits against corporations. [John Cheves]

U.S. stocks plunged in highly volatile trading on Monday, with the Dow industrials falling nearly 1,600 points during the session, its biggest intraday decline in history, as investors grappled with rising bond yields and potentially firming inflation. [HuffPo]

A committee in Frankfort that has so far failed to take any votes on a controversial bill to curb solar power in Kentucky will be getting three new members — two Republicans and a coal-country Democrat. Questions of vote packing immediately surfaced. [C-J/AKN]

Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein has said that America is living through its darkest days since Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist “witch hunts.” [Yahoo]

Mark Jurich, the son of fired University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich, has been let go from his position in the school’s athletics department along with two other employees. [WFPL]

Indiana said on Friday it will require its Medicaid recipients work or do some other form of community engagement, becoming the second state to make this fundamental change to the 50-year-old health insurance program for the poor. [Reuters]

Two deputy clerks in the Warren County Clerk’s Office changed Social Security numbers that resulted in uncollected taxes. [BGDN]

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced legislation last week requiring federal authorities to examine racial disparities in auto insurance premiums, citing a story co-published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports last April. [ProPublica]

When Matt Bevin and Republican legislative leaders announced a draft proposal to reform the state’s badly underfunded public pension systems in October, they said without significant changes, the coming two-year budget would face draconian cuts. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In one sign of the pressures that companies face to understand the business risks of stricter climate-change policies, one of the world’s biggest energy companies on Friday offered its thoughts on how it would fare in a low-carbon world. [NY Times]

Fun fact: he has zero public work history, nothing to show for what he was paid. Kentucky’s Republican governor said he terminated a $240,000 no-bid contract for a state “adoption czar” because it was not worth it to keep him on the job even though he praised his performance. [Richmond Register]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) dwindling pot of money aimed at fighting infectious-disease epidemics like Ebola will run out this year, and the agency doesn’t anticipate new dedicated funds. So the CDC is scaling back epidemic prevention work in 39 countries, and this has experts, including a United Nations Dispatch on Friday, saying “you should be freaking out.” [ThinkProgress]

Matt Bevin’s plan to slash education funding and eliminate 70 entire programs rather than face up to long-overdue tax reform has attracted a lot of attention. It also has distracted from deep cuts he wants to make in state support for the arts. [H-L]

Donald Trump accused Democrats on Monday of being “un-American” and “treasonous” in a campaign-style speech in Cincinnati that was actually meant to tout the recent GOP tax bill and the economy. “Can we call that treason?” Trump said, referring to Democrats who did not clap for him during his State of the Union address last week. “Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.” [HuffPo]

It’s called grift, millennials. The wife of the appraiser whose work led to Matt Bevin winning the appeal of the property tax value of his Anchorage house last summer has landed a state job that pays $90,000 a year. In an appointment approved by Bevin, Shellie A. May began work on Jan. 8 as executive director of the Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs. [More C-J/AKN]

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Kentucky Needs A New Ed Commish

Maybe crap like this wouldn’t happen in the commissioner would stop trying to promote himself as some sort of celebrity. And if people like Valarie Honeycutt Spears didn’t intentionally ignore corruption in education. [H-L]

The nutrition children receive during their first 1,000 days ― from conception until their second birthday ― has a profound impact on how they develop. Without the proper nutrition during that window of time, young brains will not grow to their fullest potential, diminishing the kids’ opportunities for the rest of their lives, according to public health and medical organizations. [HuffPo]

A national “consumer” group is working with Frankfort lawmakers, making phone calls to their constituents and urging Kentuckians to support a bill that would roll back incentives for solar power. But who are they? [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. flu outbreak worsened over the past week as more people headed to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, with hospitalizations at the highest in nearly 10 years, U.S. health officials said on Friday. [Reuters]

The 2018 General Assembly is now one-third of the way toward its constitutionally-limited 60 days to pass legislation — and still there is no pension bill in sight. [Ronnie Ellis]

Since the election, Donald Trump has made 31 specific claims about companies adding or saving American jobs thanks to his intervention. We went back to see what’s become of those announcements. [ProPublica]

The Coalition for the Homeless has received the needed funds to launch a pilot program to house homeless young adults in Louisville, officials said this week. [WFPL]

This mess is part of the reason Modern Republicans are so painfully dumb and dangerous. [ThinkProgress]

For the first time in recent memory, all but one local races for the state legislature and Congress are contested as 31 candidates have signed up to run for seven local seats. The last time those seats were up for election, 15 candidates filed to run. Democrats fielded 16 of the 2018 candidates, with 15 Republicans filing for the seats. [BGDN]

Former FBI Director James Comey lobbed criticism at Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, asking his Twitter followers, “That’s it?” after the release of a disputed and much-hyped memo about alleged bias at the FBI and Department of Justice. [Politico]

Basically, Republicans are about to choke the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s economy. [WKYT]

K.T. McFarland, Trump’s onetime deputy national security adviser, has withdrawn from consideration to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, the White House confirmed Friday. McFarland has been under scrutiny in the special-counsel probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. [WaPo]

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray raised more money than his Democratic opponents in his first month as a candidate in the primary election to challenge Republican Andy Barr for his Central Kentucky congressional seat. [H-L]

Donald Trump on Friday declassified a Republican-authored memo that claims to show the Justice Department and FBI inappropriately conducted surveillance on a member of the Trump presidential campaign. FBI Director Chris Wray isn’t having any of it. [HuffPo]

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The RPK Is Beginning To Freak Out

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A former Eastern Kentucky lawmaker pleaded guilty to identity theft Thursday under a plea deal that calls for a two-year prison sentence. Former state Rep. Keith Hall, a democrat from Pikeville who is already serving a 7-year sentence in another case, was charged last year with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of lying to the FBI. [H-L]

Every single privacy activist I know cares about privacy in significant part to ensure the rule of law and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of justice to focus just on select groups like Muslims or Chinese-Americans, rather than those who pose the greatest risk to society, like people allegedly doing Russia’s secret bidding. Yet the actions of Ryan and Nunes reverse that, using a sham concern for civil liberties as a way to prevent themselves, their associates, and the president from being subject to the rule of law like the rest of us would be.[HuffPo]

Dan Dumas is a far-right nutso homophobe and your tax dollars paid him a $60,000 golden parachute. People like that have no business being around children. And why no mention of the $60K “mortgage” he received just a few days ago from the Southern Baptists? [C-J/AKN]

Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.” [CNN]

A Jamie Comer-Scott Jennings lackey is trying to run for Secretary of State. Which means hot garbage is running for Secretary of State. [Republican Stenographers]

The Republican Party isn’t just officially homophobic. Now it’s officially transphobic. Republicans are bigots. If that’s a tough pill for you to swallow, you need to deal with the fact that your political party of choice is one of hate. The Republican National Committee is siding with President Donald Trump on his order to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. [AP]

The 2018 General Assembly is now one-third of the way toward its constitutionally-limited 60 days to pass legislation — and still there is no pension bill in sight. [Ronnie Ellis]

The U.S. Congress made no notable progress this week toward a deal on the status of 700,000 “Dreamer” immigrants, with Donald Trump saying on Friday that one “could very well not happen” by a deadline next month. [Reuters]

The filing deadline for Kentucky candidates closed Tuesday, and some northeastern Kentucky lawmakers will face challengers in this year’s election cycle. [Ashland Independent]

For Republicans in the states, the political warning signs keep mounting: In Virginia, it was an electoral shellacking that nearly snapped their 20-year grip on the State House. In Wisconsin, it was a midwinter rout in a special election for the State Senate, fought in a conservative district. [NY Times]

In a year when women candidates are expected to play an important role, 89 women filed to run for the Kentucky General Assembly. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Gene Ransom’s day was ruined within minutes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s announcement that he was giving federal prosecutors more freedom to go after marijuana transactions in states that have legalized medical cannabis. [WaPo]

Yes, Matt Bevin’s new Medicaid rules are all about putting up roadblocks for poor people. That’s how modern Republicanism functions. [John Cheves]

For weeks, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and their allies have been promising that they have a memo with damning evidence undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Russian ties to Donald Trump’s inner circle. [HuffPo]

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Teresa Isaac. Just… No. No. No. No. No.

Just… no. A former Lexington mayor and a former police chief filed Tuesday to run for the city’s top job, turning the contest for mayor of Kentucky’s second-largest city into a seven-way race. Former Mayor Teresa Isaac, who was mayor from 2003 to 2007, filed to run for the office Tuesday just 10 minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline. [H-L]

One speech does not erase Donald Trump’s record. This is the president, recall, who rose to political power on the racist lie that his predecessor was born in Kenya, and he ran for president while calling to ban all Muslims from the country and deriding Mexican immigrants as rapists. [HuffPo]

Jan Taylor strolled into a classroom in Trimble County in her mid-20s and discovered she’d found her calling. Working with young children to get them ready to start school challenged and inspired her, and she loved every minute. [C-J/AKN]

The firing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has long been a red line for most Republicans in Congress who are trying to work with their president. But it’s a red line they’d rather not act on — and now, with news that [Donald] Trump actually made moves to do it, they may be forced to. [WaPo]

In a year when women candidates are expected to play an important role, 89 women filed to run for the Kentucky General Assembly.[Ronnie Ellis]

The kickback scheme was allegedly hashed out over weeknight drinks at a steakhouse in a border county in south Texas. Amid surf and turf and expensive scotch, a Hidalgo County official said he would meet with contractors in the clubby confines of the restaurant in a strip mall in McAllen. [ProPublica]

State Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland, will not seek a sixth term in the state House of Representatives, and is instead running for a spot on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. [Ashland Independent]

That’s modern Republicanism for you – racist as can be. Standing outside in the freezing cold, dressed in a new navy blue suit and red tie, Leonardo Reyes was feeling a little overwhelmed Tuesday afternoon as he headed to Capitol Hill for Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. He was the guest of his home-state senator, Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon. [NY Times]

Maysville Community and Technical College held a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new Rowan campus in the John Will Stacy MMRC Regional Business Park on Friday. [The Morehead News]

The ailing U.S. coal industry is ramping up its political and legal offensive to win approval for West Coast export terminals that could provide a lifeline to lucrative Asia markets. [Reuters]

Last Wednesday, a bill was introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives that would consolidate independent and county school districts. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At his 2018 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Donald Trump declared that he has “ended the war on energy” and “ended the war on clean coal.” He referred to clean coal as “beautiful.” It’s not clear what exactly Trump is taking credit for here, as neither war is rooted in reality. [ThinkProgress]

Three hundred Kentuckians filed to run for a seat in the Republican-dominated Kentucky General Assembly this year, with Democrats slightly outpacing their GOP counterparts in an election year that promises dozens of intense political battles. [H-L]

A mix of raw sewage and mud pools under the rusting mobile home perched on a wooded hillside. The trailer, like so many in this small neighborhood on the outskirts of town, has no septic tank and is too remote to connect to a municipal sewage network. The owner has hooked PVC tubing up to the bathroom pipes and flushes her waste out onto the topsoil. [HuffPo]

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Don’t Worry, Frankfort Won’t Do Anything

We might as well admit it: too many Americans love their guns more than their children, or at least more than other people’s children. No matter how many kids are murdered and maimed in schools such as Marshall County High, politicians will never have the courage to stand up to the National Rifle Association and enact common-sense gun-control laws. [Tom Eblen]

Donald Trump said he would be willing to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller under oath regarding the ongoing Justice Department investigation into his presidential campaign’s ties with the Russian government. Trump’s White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, told the Times the president’s comments were made off-the-cuff and tried to downplay the gravity of the statements. [HuffPo]

Many retired teachers would pay thousands of dollars per year more for health insurance under Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed 2018-20 state budget, say advocates for retired teachers. [C-J/AKN]

In a class action federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, 15 low-income Kentucky residents enrolled in Medicaid sued the Trump administration for giving the state’s Republican governor a green light to impose work requirements and other eligibility restrictions on the health program. [TPM]

A county prosecutor sought to head off criticism from his traumatized community on Wednesday as he explained why a 15-year-old charged with murder in the shootings of two classmates doesn’t yet face attempted murder charges as well, even though more than a dozen other students have bullet wounds. [Richmond Register]

What was that, again, about Trump doing everything he can for the working man? Oh, right, that’s not remotely based in reality. In the latest sign that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pulling back from aggressive enforcement, it dropped an investigation triggered by a 2013 ProPublica story about a lender that charges triple-digit interest rates. [ProPublica]

The time-honored tradition of naming state buildings and roads after living politicians in Kentucky would be curtailed under a bill approved by a state Senate committee. [The Morehead News]

Kentucky’s new Medicaid waiver will ask low-income people to jump over hurdles to keep their coverage. Evidence suggests that many will fail. [NY Times]

One of the main topics of discussion for members of the Smiths Grove City Commission Monday night was how the city will be affected by increases to the County Employee Retirement System during the 2018 fiscal year for hazardous duty and non-hazardous duty retirement benefits. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump’s voting commission asked every state and the District for detailed voter registration data, but in Texas’s case it took an additional step: It asked to see Texas records that identify all voters with Hispanic surnames, newly released documents show. [WaPo]

Heather Adams sat in a line of cars along Kentucky Route 95, cars filled with parents who had just received the call no parent wants to get: A shooting at her child’s school, Marshall County High in Benton, Kentucky. Two 15-year-old students were killed and another 18 injured. [WFPL]

Illegal shipments of the powerful and addictive opioid fentanyl are pouring into the United States by mail from China and the U.S. Postal Service must step up the use of high-tech detection methods to fight the problem, according to a congressional report unveiled on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Who knows if state Rep. C. Wesley Morgan’s resolution to expel fellow Republican Jeff Hoover will go anywhere, especially now that Hoover, who admitted to sexting a staffer, has resigned as House Speaker? Expulsions are rare in the Kentucky General Assembly, but early in the Civil War, 10 lawmakers were expelled, not because of a sex-related allegation, but because they were considered traitors. [H-L]

Remember when Mitch McConnell spent months helping install that corrupt leadership? Veteran U.S. diplomat and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson abruptly resigned on Wednesday from an international panel established to advise Myanmar on its explosive Rohingya crisis, decrying the country’s lack of “moral leadership” in a scornful letter. [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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