Poll Shows McConnell Leading McGrath In Senate Race By Double Digits Tuesday, Aug 4 2020 


A new poll shows Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leading Democratic challenger Amy McGrath by 17 points in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race this year.

The survey of 793 likely voters in Kentucky by Washington D.C. based firm Morning Consult shows McConnell leading McGrath 53% to 36%. The poll was conducted between July 24 and Aug 2.

McConnell is running for his seventh term in the Senate, though this is the first year he is running while also serving as the majority leader, the high-profile position that allows him to set the agenda of the chamber and wield influence on which bills come up for votes.


Courts To Determine Whether Kentuckians Can Be Evicted During Pandemic Monday, Aug 3 2020 


There’s a lot of confusion over whether landlords can kick out renters in Kentucky for not paying rent despite Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order banning evictions during the pandemic, but it appears that for now, it can’t happen.

A lawsuit brought by several Northern Kentucky landlords is challenging Beshear’s authority to stop evictions during the state of emergency.

Beshear and the landlords met during a mediation session last week in an effort to settle the case. Christopher Wiest, an attorney from Covington representing the landlords, said that as of Monday, no agreement has been made.


Kentucky Restauranteurs Ask McConnell For Lifeline In Coronavirus Bill Friday, Jul 31 2020 


Two prominent Kentucky restaurant owners say that without direct support from the federal government, they will have to shut down their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ouita Michel, owner of eight restaurants in central Kentucky, and Ed Lee, owner of 610 Magnolia and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, say that coronavirus-related restrictions on restaurants have made it nearly impossible to stay open, and that federal support has been deficient.

Michel says that her restaurants can’t rely on takeout orders to stay open as Kentucky now only allows restaurants to have 25% of their occupational capacity.


Kentucky Critics Say McConnell Coronavirus Plan Falls Short Thursday, Jul 30 2020 


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his latest take on how the federal government should provide relief to people, businesses and communities during the coronavirus pandemic earlier this week, but critics in Kentucky say it falls short of what is needed.

The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act — or the HEALS Act — is the new coronavirus relief package unveiled by McConnell and Republican leaders of the Senate on Monday.

It includes another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for people who make up to $75,000 and an additional $500 for each dependent.


Fired Unemployment Director Testifies About Chaotic Pandemic Response Thursday, Jul 30 2020 


The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance told legislators Thursday the agency’s chaotic rush to deliver benefits in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic led to months-long delays — and may have violated federal unemployment regulations. 

Muncie McNamara testified before the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Workforce Investment. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting first reported the details of McNamara’s time at the Office of Unemployment Insurance earlier this month; he was hired personally by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman in January and fired in May, amid the chaos of the pandemic. 

McNamara spoke for almost half an hour about the issues he saw at the agency. After his testimony, Republican lawmakers questioned him about Gov. Andy Beshear’s response, the months-long delays and data security. Only one Democratic lawmaker was called on to ask questions. 


Republicans Rally Around Opposition To Beshear Coronavirus Response Thursday, Jul 23 2020 


Republican leaders of Kentucky’s legislature say they want to curb Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to issue mandates during states of emergency, like the coronavirus pandemic currently gripping the state and nation.

Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron has asked a court to void all Beshear’s coronavirus-related orders, including the mandate that Kentuckians wear masks in most public places. The Kentucky Supreme Court is currently considering the issue.

House Speaker David Osborne said on Tuesday that many Republican members of the legislature believe the governor has misused his emergency powers.


Kentucky Supreme Court Maintains Beshear’s Coronavirus Restrictions For Now Friday, Jul 17 2020 

Kentucky’s coronavirus restrictions will remain in place at least until the state Supreme Court hears a case over the constitutional authority of the governor to issue executive orders.

The Kentucky Supreme Court pre-empted a lower court ruling Friday to ensure Governor Andy Beshear’s executive orders remain in effect.

Beshear said Friday afternoon the Supreme Court’s actions protected the lives and safety of Kentuckians while allowing the governor’s detractors to have their day in court.

“These are emergency powers that are provided by the legislature to the governor to respond in a time like this,” Beshear said. “But if we want to argue in front of a court let’s do it… but let’s make sure along the way we don’t risk the lives of Kentuckians.”

Late Thursday Boone Circuit Judge Rick Brueggemann signaled his intention to block all of the executive orders Gov. Andy Beshear signed to protect the health of Kentuckians amid surging coronavirus infections.

The impacts of that ruling would have ended the governor’s mask mandate, eviction protections, coronavirus-related business protocols and other executive orders Gov. Andy Beshear has signed since his March 6th declaration of a state of emergency.

Beshear said the ruling could have also endangered hundreds of millions of dollars meant for schools, which have budgets based on the number of days that kids are in schools.

“We faced a horribly uncertain future where a request had been made to have zero rules, the wild west,” Beshear said.

Instead, Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton wrote the court would keep the governor’s executive orders in place until the Supreme Court hears the case.

“Given the need for a clear and consistent statewide public health policy and recognizing that the Kentucky legislature has expressly given the Governor broad executive powers in a public health emergency, the Court orders a stay of all orders of injunctive relief until such time as the various orders are properly before the Court with a full record of any evidence and pleadings considered by the lower courts,” Minton wrote.

Brueggeman ruled against the administration in early July, overturning coronavirus-related requirements for crowd and class sizes at the Florence Speedway racetrack and Little Links to Learning Childcare center.

In that case, Brueggemann ordered that Kentuckians ought to have a choice in how they participate with health and safety requirements, and that “value judgment” is best left to individuals.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his involvement in the lawsuit stemmed from his desire to protect the rights of Kentuckians and ensure the governor’s executive orders comply with the law.

In a 31-page motion, Cameron built on Brueggemann’s July 2 ruling for a temporary restraining order, expanding the argument to include all of Beshear’s executive orders related to the coronavirus.

Cameron claimed in the suit that removing the orders would not harm defendants in the case — or by extension, Kentucky residents. That’s despite scientific evidence showing that measures Beshear’s administration put in place — like mask wearing, social distancing and more intense cleaning protocols — have helped to flatten the curve of increasing infections.

On Friday, Cameron tweeted that he respects the Supreme Court’s decision to keep the orders in place.

“Our goal in joining these cases is that the law is followed and the rights of Kentuckians are protected. We look forward to having the Supreme Court take up these important issues in the coming days,” Cameron wrote on Twitter Thursday.

The Beshear administration separately filed a complaint in the Franklin Circuit Court to uphold the authority of the governor to enforce his executive order requiring Kentuckians to wear masks in most circumstances.

In that case, Beshear’s counsel also asked the court to declare that all claims about the governor’s official authority must be heard in the Franklin Circuit Court — the jurisdiction where the State Capitol is seated.

More than 21,000 people have contracted coronavirus in Kentucky and the number of positive cases are increasing. On Friday, 10 children under the age of five tested positive for the virus including two infants. A total of 653 Kentuckians have died.

As of Friday, Kentucky’s rate of positive tests was 4.19 percent, Beshear said that he would consider additional restrictions if the positivity rate exceeded 5%.

This story has been updated.

Beshear Accuses AG Of Playing Politics With Attempt To Cancel Coronavirus Orders Thursday, Jul 16 2020 

Governor Andy Beshear described Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s court motion to overturn all executive orders related to coronavirus “truly frightening,” during a news conference Thursday.

Cameron, a Republican, requested the Boone County Circuit Court to temporarily stop the government from issuing new executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, and enforcing current ones. He claimed Democrat Beshear had exceeded his powers as governor. Beshear’s counsel has moved to dismiss Cameron’s motion.

Beshear said his orders range from mandating masks to requiring businesses to sanitize their facilities.

“That’s terrifying, in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said of Cameron’s effort. “And it would mean we would fail. And it means people would die.”

As attorney general, Beshear clashed with the Republican governor he served under, Matt Bevin. He said Thursday that’s not the kind of relationship he wanted with his attorney general. But he said he would “fight every day for the lives of Kentuckians.”

He criticized Cameron’s move as “irresponsible.”

“Don’t play politics with the lives of people,” he said.

Earlier, Cameron said his action was not about policy, but about making sure the governor follows the law.

Beshear said that without rules, he could not see sending kids back to in-person school. From there, he said, they would go home and elsewhere and further spread coronavirus.

Among the 413 new confirmed cases announced Thursday, there were 13 under the age of five, including two infants, Beshear said. That’s the highest that figure has been in a single day so far.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kentucky to date is 21,083. With more than 507,197 tested so far, that puts the state’s positivity rate — a measure of how many results are positive, compared to the total number of tests — at 4.38%. He said that was up from around 2% three weeks ago. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the positivity rate under 5%.

He also reported an additional five deaths, for a total of 650. He warned that as cases rise, deaths would follow.

Beshear also said nearly every testing site in Jefferson County is at capacity. He said the state is working to expand capacity by sending more testing kits to major localities.

Jerry Lundergan Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Illegal Campaign Contributions Thursday, Jul 16 2020 

Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined $150,000 for orchestrating a scheme to funnel illegal contributions to his daughter’s failed 2014 U.S. Senate campaign against Republican Mitch McConnell.

Lundergan and former consultant Dale Emmons were convicted last year by a federal jury in Frankfort of directing more than $200,000 in illegal corporate contributions to benefit Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign.

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that Emmons was sentenced to three years’ probation, but will have to serve nine months in a community facility such as a halfway house.

Lundergan’s attorneys had sought probation for their client.

AG Cameron Asks Court To Nullify Kentucky Coronavirus Restrictions Thursday, Jul 16 2020 


Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a motion to suspend executive orders designed to protect the public from the global pandemic currently ravaging the country, and on the rise in the Commonwealth.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Cameron asked the Boone County Circuit Court to issue a temporary injunction nullifying the governor’s orders. Cameron makes numerous claims in the filing, arguing Gov. Andy Beshear’s orders exceed his authority as governor, violate the state Constitution and are unequally applied among Kentucky residents.

Beshear responded in a tweet, saying: With no rules, there is no chance of getting kids back to school, we will lose over $10 billion in our economy and many Kentuckians will die. I hope everyone understands how scary and reckless this is.


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