New Congress Is The Same As The Old Congress

The Senate approved a bill Thursday to overhaul Kentucky’s pension system but did not address how to fund the changes. On a vote of 33-5, the Senate sent Senate Bill 2 to the House for its consideration. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said the bill needs to specify how it would raise money for the ailing pension system. [H-L]

Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that they had supported a recommendation to arm Syrian rebels promoted by the State Department and CIA but which President Barack Obama ultimately decided against. [Reuters]

A bill to promote coal by blocking certain automatic utility rate increases for power plants that use natural gas is dead, its sponsor said Thursday. [C-J/AKN]

Get your popcorn ready. Karl Rove said Thursday he’s planning much more than a sequel to the attack ad his super PAC premiered earlier this week against actress Ashley Judd, a Democrat, considering a run against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). [Politico]

Adam Edelen on the passage of House Bill 1: “I’m pleased House Bill 1 passed with broad bipartisan support today. That it has moved through the House so swiftly speaks to the overwhelming need to bring transparency and accountability to a $2.7 billion layer of government. I encourage the Senate to give similar treatment to this important legislation and deliver to taxpayers the reform that they deserve.” [Press Release]

For the past four decades, federal officials and civil rights lawyers have wielded a potent legal weapon in the fight against housing discrimination. Even when they couldn’t prove that practices of landlords, lenders or governments were racially motivated, they could win cases by showing minorities had suffered disproportionate harm. [ProPublica]

A former Wayne County clerk was indicted Thursday on forgery charges after authorities said she forged the signature of the Pulaski County clerk. [H-L]

A Mexican teenager shot dead last year was hit from behind by several bullets when US Border Patrol agents opened fired, a post-mortem report shows. [BBC]

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday sent a bill to the Senate floor which would make post-conviction DNA testing available to felons — at least those who didn’t plead guilty or accept an Alford Plea (declining to admit guilt but conceding enough evidence exists for a conviction). [Ronnie Ellis]

Congress likes to say it no longer does earmarks, the provisions that direct federal dollars to serve local interests or campaign supporters. And though that may be true, it’s also a fact that targeted provisions are still useful in moving legislation — even critical legislation like the bill that pulled Washington back from the fiscal cliff last month. [NPR]

In Louisville, a councilwoman’s public concern spurred quick change at a museum. While insignificant, it’s evidence that change can happen when regular citizens get involved in government, as Attica Scott has done, and then amplify the voices of their constituents. It works much better than shilling for a corporate interest or merely lining one’s pockets with a sweet pension. [The ‘Ville Voice]