Committee Investigating Bevin Coercion Allegations Nears Collapse Thursday, Dec 8 2016 

A committee launched to investigate Gov. Matt Bevin is on its last legs after the panel’s chair resigned in protest because he wasn’t given subpoena power to compel an accuser to testify.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo launched the committee in September to look into allegations that Bevin froze a road project in Rep. Russ Meyer’s district in Jessamine County as payback for not switching political parties.

But on Thursday, Louisville Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne stepped down from his chairmanship of the committee because he said Stumbo refused to allow Meyer to be subpoenaed.

“I undertook this assignment with the understanding the inquiry was to be independent, thorough, objective and fair,” Wayne said in a statement. “It now appears the Speaker’s granting of the committee’s power to subpoena witnesses was conditional, making our efforts to arrive at the truth regarding charges against the governor impossible. In short, we are asked to do a job without all the tools necessary to do it.”

Wayne resigned from the committee during a scheduled meeting on Thursday. Covington Democratic Rep. Arnold Simpson moved to dissolve the committee but the group didn’t have enough members present to form a quorum.

First reported by CNHI, in August, Meyer released a voicemail that Bevin left on his phone in which the governor said he was “disappointed” by Meyer’s refusal to switch parties and that he wanted Meyer to understand how “you, your seat, your district” would be impacted.

Meyer claimed that Bevin froze the $11 million East Brannon Road project in Jessamine County as payback for not becoming a Republican late last year, a move that would have helped Republicans take control of the state House of Representatives ahead of last year’s legislative session.

Bevin maintains that the project was frozen because it was rushed at the end of the Beshear administration before the proper right-of-way had been obtained by the state. The state had to pay the company awarded the contract a $625,000 penalty for delaying project.

On Thursday, via Twitter, the governor applauded the dissolution of the investigatory committee.

“Kangaroo court assembled by @SpeakerStumbo too incompetent to even disband themselves but sure love the extra $$ they take from taxpayers,” Bevin Tweeted.

Stumbo said he would have approved subpoenas levied at state transportation officials who might know more about why the project was frozen.

“I do expect a report from them from the limited amount of testimony that they took and I’m sorry that they went off on the tangent that they did,” Stumbo said on Thursday.

Bevin’s office argued that the committee didn’t have the authority to issue subpoenas while the legislature isn’t in session.

Republicans won a majority of seats in the state House for the first time in 95 years, unseating 17 Democratic incumbents, including Stumbo.

Incoming House Speaker Jeff Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown, would have the opportunity to continue the investigation but it’s unlikely.

Stumbo encouraged his successor to do so.

“It’s unheard of that a legislative committee can’t get state employees to come and testify about state business,” Stumbo said. “It’s a violation in my judgement of legislative oversight and authority and it impedes, I think, the independence of the legislature.”

The next legislative session starts Jan. 3, 2017.

Kentucky Board Of Education Approves Charter School Guidelines Wednesday, Dec 7 2016 

The Kentucky Board of Education has approved a list of principles to guide state policymakers if the legislature passes a bill clearing the way for charter schools in the state.

Kentucky is one of seven states that don’t allow charters — schools that use public dollars but are operated by organizations besides the state like nonprofits, for-profit companies, or groups of parents.

The state board recommended that if a charter school bill is approved, the organizations should be run by nonprofit groups that aren’t governed by religious organizations.

The 12-member board also said that the state board or local school boards should be in charge of reviewing the charter applications and that the organizations shouldn’t “detrimentally impact” the funding to “common” schools in public school districts.

The legislature will have the final say on what a charter school system would look like in Kentucky and how to fund it.

Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said that the principles approved Wednesday would guide officials’ conversations with lawmakers during the General Assembly.

“We are to be the education experts in the room,” said Pruitt.

He said that if a charter bill passes, the Department of Education would likely create a charter division to review applications and oversee the organizations.

Gov. Matt Bevin is in favor of allowing charter schools to open up in Kentucky; he campaigned on the issue in 2015.

For years, charter school legislation has passed the Republican-led Senate and died in the Democratic-led House. Now that the GOP has control of the governor’s mansion and supermajorities in both legislative chambers, charters will have a much easier chance of passing into law.

The board of education recommended:

  • Local boards of education should be the primary authorizers of charter schools and the Kentucky Board of Education should have final say.
  • Funding for charter schools shouldn’t hurt funding provided to other public schools.
  • Charter schools need to enter into performance-based contracts with the state. The state board or local boards would be in charge of establishing evaluation criteria to measure academic performance and the organizations’ finances.
  • Charters bust be “nonprofit, nonsectarian, and cannot be wholly or partially governed by a group that is a religious denomination or affiliation.”
  • Charter school teachers should be certified by Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board.
  • Whoever authorizes charter schools should focus on approving the schools in at-risk or under-served populations.
  • If there are too many student applicants to a charter school, a lottery should determine enrollment. Preference could still be given to under-served students.
  • “High expectations for parental involvement should be outlined and required.”
  • The state and local school district or board shouldn’t be held legally liable for the charter school’s actions.
  • Charter schools should have access to state funding for facilities.

House Republicans Announce New Committee Chairs For General Assembly Wednesday, Dec 7 2016 

A new crop of committee chairs will wield gavels in the state House of Representatives starting Jan. 3, when Republicans assume control of the chamber for the first time in 95 years.

Standing committees are the first line of review for bills being considered by the General Assembly; legislation must pass out of a committee before going to a floor vote.

Chairs of standing committees are appointed by the House Speaker and have wide discretion in deciding which bills get heard by committees. They also moderate discussions between lawmakers and advocates who testify for or against legislation.

Incoming House Speaker Jeff Hoover said the new group is made up of experienced policymakers, even if they haven’t led the charge before.

“We picked those that we thought were ready, were capable and ready to go to work and spend the time and make the commitment necessary and we’re excited about the team we have in place,” Hoover said.

Only one newly appointed chair has held the position before — Rep. Jim Gooch, who presided over the Democratic-led House’s Natural Resources committee until he switched his party affiliation to Republican last year. Gooch will chair the committee again.

Rep. Jerry Miller of Louisville is the only of the 17 new chairs of standing committees to hail from Kentucky’s largest cities. Urban and Tea Party-leaning Northern Kentucky is well represented in the new class as well as rural Western and South Central Kentucky.

Miller will chair the State Government committee, which would hear legislation dealing with the state’s ailing pension systems.

Rep. Steven Rudy of Paducah will chair the Appropriations and Revenue committee, which writes the House’s version of the budget bill every two years.

Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence will head up the Health and Family Services committee, which will likely hear anti-abortion legislation.

Rep.-elect Jason Nemes of Louisville will be the only freshman lawmaker to head up one of the panels, leading the budget review subcommittee for Justice, Public Safety and Judiciary. Nemes previously directed the Administrative Office of the Courts and was chief of staff for the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The House will also feature a new committee on Small Business and Information Technology that Hoover said will focus on economic development issues.

“We don’t think in recent years that’s always been the case, we really want to do that for small business owners around the state,” Hoover said.

Here’s the full list of 2017-2018 committee chairs.

Standing Committees:

  • Agriculture: Richard Heath, Mayfield
  • Appropriations & Revenue: Steven Rudy, Paducah
  • Banking & Insurance: Bart Rowland, Tompkinsville
  • Economic Development & Workforce Investment: Jim DeCesare, Bowling Green
  • Education: John Carney, Campbellsville
  • Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs: Kenny Imes, Murray
  • Enrollment: Donna Mayfield, Winchester
  • Heath & Family Services: Addia Wuchner, Florence
  • Judiciary: Joe Fischer, Ft. Thomas
  • Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations: Adam Koenig, Erlanger
  • Local Government: Michael Lee Meredith, Brownsville
  • Natural Resources & Energy: Jim Gooch, Providence
  • Small Business & Information Technology: Diane St. Onge, Lakeside Park
  • State Government: Jerry T. Miller, Eastwood
  • Tourism & Outdoor Recreation: Tommy Turner, Somerset
  • Transportation: Marie Rader, Mckee
  • Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection: Tim Moore, Elizabethtown

Budget Review Sub Committees:

  • Economy, Public Protection, Tourism & Energy: Jill York, Grayson
  • Personnel, Public Retirement & Finance: Brian Linder, Dry Ridge
  • General Government (Including Coal Severance): Suzanne Miles, Owensboro
  • Justice, Public Safety & Judiciary: Jason Nemes, Louisville
  • Primary/Secondary Education & Workforce Development: Regina Bunch, Williamsburg
  • PostSecondary Education: James Tipton, Taylorsville
  • Transportation: Sal Santoro, Florence
  • Health & Family Services: Russell Webber, Shepherdsville

Statutory Committees:

  • Administrative Regulation Review: Ken Upchurch, Monticello
  • Government Contract Review: Stan Lee, Lexington
  • Program Review & Investigations: Lynn Bechler, Marion
  • Capital Planning Advisory Board: Daniel Elliott, Danville
  • Capital Projects & Bond Oversight: Phil Moffett, Louisville
  • Public Pension Oversight: Brian Linder, Dry Ridge
  • Tobacco Settlement Oversight: Myron Dossett, Pembroke
  • Education Assessment & Accountability Review: Daniel Elliott, Danville
  • Medicaid Oversight & Advisory: Kim Moser, Taylor Mill

Special Committees & Task Forces

  • LRC Committee on Tourism & Development: Ken Upchurch, Monticello
  • Special Subcommittee on Energy: Tim Couch, Hyden
  • Federal Environment Regulation Impact Assessment Task Force: Tim Couch, Hyden
  • Free-Roaming Horse Task Force: John Blanton, Salyersville
  • Government Nonprofit Contracting Task Force: Brandon Reed, Hodgenville
  • Heroin Task Force: Danny Bentley, Russell
  • Workers’ Compensation Task Force: Matt Castlen, Maceo

Rand Paul Checks Trump On Secretary Of State Picks Wednesday, Dec 7 2016 

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has become an outspoken assessor of President-elect Donald Trump’s potential nominees for secretary of state, going out of his way to criticize several candidates for their hawkish foreign policy views.

Paul, a non-interventionist who has clashed with his party on foreign policy issues during his first term in office, is in a rare position to influence who Trump taps to be the next secretary of state.

A nominee would have to be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, with 10 Republicans and 9 Democrats on the panel, Paul represents a key swing vote.

So far, Paul has publicly stated that he would not support the nomination of former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, citing his support of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He’s also cast doubts on the prospects of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, questioning the candidates’ views on foreign intervention.

Kentucky’s junior senator and the president-elect were bitter rivals when the two were vying for the Republican nomination for president. Dropping out of the race in February, Paul was slow to support Trump’s nomination but eventually gave a quiet endorsement of the New York businessman.

Now Paul says he’s trying to make sure Trump picks “someone who agrees with Donald Trump.”

“Donald Trump said nation building was a problem, regime change was a problem, the Iraq War was a mistake,” Paul said on CNN last week.

Over the years, Paul has criticized the U.S. role in the Middle East, arguing that the country needs to be more selective about foreign involvement.

Paul has criticized the GOP for being “too eager to go to war” and also slammed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for being a “war hawk.”

In a 2014 speech, Paul said the country shouldn’t be “sentimental” about its foreign enemies, but “we also can’t be blind to the fact that drone strikes that inadvertently kill civilians may create more jihadists than we eliminate.”

Paul has also cast doubt on Trump’s consideration of retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus for secretary of state, questioning how Republicans could confirm him “with a straight face.”

In 2015, Petraeus pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information; during the presidential race this year, Republicans skewered Democratic nominee Clinton for using a private server to handle classified emails.

Health Care For Miners Tied To Spending Bill Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

Congressional leaders say legislation to support health care benefits for retired miners could be attached to a must-pass spending bill this week.

The United Mine Workers of America has accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of blocking action on the Miners Protection Act, a bill to fund pensions and health benefits.  But at a weekend event in Louisville McConnell denied preventing a vote.

“I haven’t been preventing one at any point,” McConnell told Ryland Barton of Kentucky Public Radio. “The issue is miners’ health care, and I’ve advocated that the House add miners’ health care to the C.R. — the continuing resolution — that we’ll be voting on.”

McConnell indicated the health care will be attached to the spending bill Congress must pass in order to avoid a government shutdown. However, it’s unclear if that will include money for miners’ pension benefits.

A group of Democratic senators including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have pledged to block Senate proceedings until action is taken on the miners’ bill.

“We promised them they would have their health care benefits and their pensions,” Manchin said from the Senate floor. “And if we don’t stand for the people that made this country as great as it is then we stand for nothing.”

If Congress doesn’t act during this lame duck session, more than 16,000 retired miners could lose their health benefits by the end of the year. Many of those are in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

mining-without-benefits-v5Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

An Old Pledge

The retired union miners want the cradle-to-grave health and retirement benefits promised to them when Congress intervened in 1947 to settle a national coal strike. The agreement used royalties on coal production to create a retirement fund for miners and their dependents in cases of sickness, disability, death and retirement.

That legislation has been renewed at various times over the years. Now with companies going under and coal production in sharp decline, it’s feared that there will not be enough money to fulfill pledges to retirees.

The Miner’s Protection Act seeks to address the potential shortages by tapping the Abandoned Mine Lands fund. The AML reclamation fund was created to address abandoned mine land from before 1977 and is funded by a fee placed on each ton of coal mined.

The interest from the AML fund is currently being absorbed into the U.S. Treasury, and the new legislation would redirect some of that interest to safeguard pensions and benefits.

Here’s What’s Been Filed So Far For The 2017 Kentucky General Assembly Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

Lawmakers have already pre-filed scores of bills ahead of the 2017 legislative session, though likely priorities like anti-abortion legislation, permission for charter schools and tort reform have not yet been filed.

Instead, a mix of familiar proposals, like transparency measures for the state’s pension systems, and a handful of new ones, like removing the $500 filing fee to clear a criminal record, have been suggested for the next session, which begins Jan. 3.

Republicans will have supermajorities — more than 60 percent of the seats — in both legislative chambers as well as control of the governor’s mansion for the first time in state history.

Senate President Robert Stivers said last week that the legislature might not have time for “broad-based social issues” during the session and would instead focus on economic initiatives.

According to the AP, incoming House Speaker Jeff Hoover expressed similar feelings, but said the legislature would also swiftly pass anti-abortion legislation.

There aren’t any anti-abortion bills on the list of already-proposed legislation, though last year the state Senate passed a bill requiring abortion seekers to view or hear a description of a sonogram image of their own fetus.

Here’s what’s already been proposed:

Right-to-Work:” This bill would forbid employers from requiring workers to become a member of a union or pay union dues in order to get a job. Supporters of the proposal say it would make the state more attractive to manufacturing employers looking to locate here. Opponents say it would drive down wages.

The policy has long been thwarted by Democrats in Frankfort, but now that Republicans are in control, it will have an easier time passing. Right-to-work was a major plank of Gov. Matt Bevin’s campaign last year.

REAL ID: Kentucky is out of compliance with stricter driver’s license rules passed by the federal government more than 10 years ago. This measure would bring the state into compliance, requiring driver’s licenses to be issued by the state Transportation Cabinet instead of county clerk’s offices, and verified through a federal immigration database.

The bill passed during this year’s legislative session but Bevin vetoed it, citing “tremendous opposition and misunderstanding” of the issue. The measure is opposed by both libertarian-leaning groups like the Tea Party as well as the ACLU of Kentucky, who argue that the policy would make citizens’ identities vulnerable.

Pension Transparency: This bill would require the state pension systems to disclose more information about fees and commissions received by those who manage the state’s investments. It would also require the retirement systems to operate under the same purchasing guidelines as the rest of state government.

A handful of other pension bills have been proposed, including one that would reveal how much lawmakers make from their public pensions and another that would require lawmakers to participate in the pension system for most state workers — Kentucky Retirement Systems. The pension fund for lawmakers has 79 percent of the money it needs to make future payouts; the state workers’ fund has 16 percent.

Criminal Justice Reform: A handful of bills have been proposed to try and help people with criminal records assimilate with society. One bill would reclassify three crimes that are currently Class D felonies as “gross misdemeanors.” The new category would include flagrant non-support (not paying child support), second degree forgery and second degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Another bill would “ban the box,” forbidding employers from requiring job applicants to disclose prior criminal history and another seeks to reduce the $500 fee for expunging a felony conviction to $200.

Blue Lives Matter:” This bill would make it a hate crime to target police, firefighters or emergency personnel in Kentucky. Proposed over the summer in the wake of several officer-involved shootings of African-Americans, the bill has garnered 10 Republican sponsors.

Allow Local Gun Laws: This bill would allow Lexington and Louisville to pass their own gun control laws. State law currently preempts local governments from regulating firearms and ammunition.

Elections In Even Years: This measure would move elections for statewide offices like governor, state auditor and attorney general to the same years as presidential elections.

Supporters say the bill would save state and local government money on election costs and would reduce election fatigue. Opponents say state elections would get drowned out by national campaigns.

Boost Police, Firefighter Bonuses: This bill would increase the amount police officers and professional firefighters receive in annual bonuses from $3,000 per year to $4,000 per year. Volunteer fire departments would also receive $11,000 per year instead of $8,250.

The bonuses come out of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program, which was criticized in a state audit last year for unnecessary and excessive spending.

Unclaimed Life Insurance: Would require life insurance companies to regularly check death records to find out if beneficiaries have died. A similar bill passed in 2012, but the new version would apply retroactively.

The issue was at the center of a lawsuit between life insurance companies and the state Department of Insurance, which dropped a lawsuit over the matter when Bevin took office.

No-Jail Jailers: There are 41 Kentucky counties that don’t have a jail but still have a jailer — a constitutionally required office in Kentucky. Many of those jailers don’t do much, according to a 2015 investigation from WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

This bill would require local fiscal courts to clarify jailer duties and require jailers to submit quarterly reports on their activities.

West Louisvilleky launches effort to get Wal-Mart to reconsider building at 18th and Broadway Monday, Dec 5 2016 

 

 
Louisville – Council members Jessica Green (D-1), Mary C. Woolridge (D-3) and Kelly Downard (R-16) are supporting a petition started by the Reverend Kirk M. Bush of Harrods Creek Baptist Church, asking Wal-Mart to reconsider their recent decision to cancel plans for the new supercenter development that was planned for 18th and Broadway.
“We need Wal-Mart, We want Wal-Mart, we are encouraging them to rethink their decision and come back to the table,” said Green.  “We are desperate for the same goods, services and conveniences available in other parts of our community and implore Wal-Mart to give the 18th and Broadway development another chance.”
A petition of nearly 5000 signatures in support of Wal-Mart at 18th and Broadway was collected in less than three weeks early in 2016, in an effort to keep Wal-Mart at the table during litigation.  The hope is that this new petition will far exceed those numbers and inspire Wal-Mart to revisit the 18th and Broadway development in west Louisville. 
metro council logo
“With the loss of the Food Port, the announcement of the closing of the Shively Kroger, it is vital to the residents of West Louisville that we have GOT to have this Wal-Mart at 18th and Broadway,” said Woolridge. 
A press conference will be held at the 18th and Broadway site where the Wal-Mart Supercenter was planned on Monday, December 5th at 3:00pm, to encourage the community to support the petition and in an effort to get Wal-Mart to reconsider their decision. 
“We need Wal-Mart, the BEST operator in the United States, to bring their wide array of quality products to people who want them and need them but, don’t have access to them now,”  said Councilman Kelly Downard.  “We need EVERYONE to sign the petition in hopes  that Walmart they are to an area in need of qyakity retail.”
The online petition asking Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Greg Foran, President and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S.  to reconsider the decision regarding the 18th and Broadway location and reconsider building the supercenter to provide West Louisville with quality goods, services and jobs.  The petition can be found at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/654/659/716/#
walmart
“We believe in Wal-Mart and what they will bring to the people of the west end who feel marginalized and forgotten,” said the Reverend Kirk M. Bush.  “Wal-Mart will bring much needed economic development, opportunities, jobs and will serve as a symbol that the residents of West Louisville have not been forgotten.”

The post West Louisvilleky launches effort to get Wal-Mart to reconsider building at 18th and Broadway appeared first on Louisville KY.

Trump Taps Ben Carson For Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development Monday, Dec 5 2016 

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Dr. Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development in his incoming administration.

“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement released Monday. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”

The famed retired neurosurgeon is an unorthodox pick to lead the agency which oversees affordable housing programs and enforces fair housing legislation.

In fact, a top Carson aide, Armstrong Williams, told The Hill last month that the former GOP presidential hopeful wasn’t interested in a Cabinet position because, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

At the time, Carson’s name was being floated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. And Trump himself confirmed he was considering Carson to lead HUD.

Carson teased later that he was going to accept the appointment, writing on Facebook that he could “make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone” and that an announcement was “forthcoming.”

Carson said he was honored to accept the opportunity to serve in Trump’s administration. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” he said.

Carson was one of Trump’s many rivals for the Republican nomination for president, which was the retired African-American doctor’s first foray into politics. Carson surged briefly in the polls last fall, which prodded Trump to question Carson’s religion (he’s a Seventh-day Adventist).

Trump also brought up Carson’s childhood temperament and anger, issues Carson had written about in his autobiography. Trump said Carson’s temperament was an incurable sickness that he compared to “child molesting.”

Nonetheless, Carson endorsed Trump less than a week after he ended his own White House bid just after Super Tuesday and said the two had “buried the hatchet.”

Carson grew up in Detroit, Mich., in a home headed by a single mother. Carson told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto last month his upbringing made him well-suited for this particular role.

“I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities,” Carson said.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

During Louisville Visit, McConnell Thanks Rural Voters For Republican Victories Sunday, Dec 4 2016 

At a Kentucky Farm Bureau event on Saturday, Sen. Mitch McConnell thanked rural voters for helping Republicans take control of the state House of Representatives and White House during elections last month.

McConnell said he was “proud to be the leader of a party that cares about rural America” and that Democrats have neglected rural interests.

“All across rural America, there’s a sea of red. Because our friends on the other side have become an urban-oriented party,” McConnell said.

Trump won 66 percent of the vote in Kentucky while Clinton got 29 percent, winning a majority of votes in only the two most populous Kentucky counties.

In state house races, Republicans turned a 53-47 Democratic majority in the chamber into a 64-36 GOP advantage on Election Day.

The contests were a sea change in Kentucky politics, toppling the last legislative chamber in the South controlled by Democrats. The GOP now has control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s mansion for the first time in state history.

McConnell facetiously thanked President Obama for the Republican victories.

“Thanks to president Obama, there are more Republicans in elected office in America at all levels — local, state, Congress and now the White House — than at any time in 100 years,” McConnell said.

McConnell said the Senate would move to repeal the Affordable Care Act at the beginning of 2017 and a replacement would be developed while the old version is “phased out.” He said current enrollees would not lose healthcare coverage.

McConnell also said he hoped “America will still be in the trading business” after both parties bashed free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership during this year’s presidential campaigns.

“Every trade agreement is not necessarily a loser, but it’s a complicated subject and it was a huge issue in the campaign and as a practical matter, we will not be doing any trade agreements any time soon,” he said. “I think it requires explaining to the American people that there are actually a lot of winners in these trade agreements too and of course American agriculture is an example of that.”

The Kentucky Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau Federation are in favor of the TPP agreement, which would create a free trade area spanning 12 countries from China to Chile.

Trump campaigned on scrapping and renegotiating U.S. trade agreements like TPP and NAFTA, which includes Canada and Mexico.

Bevin Asks Kentucky Supreme Court To Not Expedite U of L Case Saturday, Dec 3 2016 

Gov. Matt Bevin has asked the state Supreme Court to not expedite an appeal of a ruling that blocked his overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Attorney General Andy Beshear requested that the case be fast-tracked to the high court in order for a quick resolution.

In a motion filed with the Kentucky Supreme Court, Bevin’s office said that there is no “good cause for advancement.”

“[W]hen the General Assembly convenes next month, it will either ratify the Governor’s temporary interim reorganization of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, or it will not. Either way, this case will be rendered moot…” Bevin’s motion read.

In September, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shepherd ruled that Bevin didn’t have the authority to abolish U of L’s board and then reinstate it with all new members.

Bevin appealed the decision, sending the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He has repeatedly questioned Shepherd’s motives and reasoning in the ruling, calling him a “political hack” on a radio show last month.

Beshear, who sued Bevin for overhauling the U of L board, asked that the case go straight to the Kentucky Supreme Court. He argued that the case needs to be resolved because Bevin has refused to fill vacancies on the board while the case is on appeal.

Beshear also cited concerns that U of L could lose its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for “undue political influence.”

Bevin’s office accused Beshear of sensationalizing the case in an attempt to score political points.

“The Attorney General […] has myopically advocated that the University should lose its accreditation due to the reorganization of its Board, but the evidence in the record overwhelmingly shows that its accreditation is not in jeopardy,” Bevin said.

The General Assembly will have the opportunity to ratify Bevin’s executive order that overhauled the U of L board when the legislature reconvenes in January.

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