A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keven Moore: Inclusion of fire sprinkler provisions in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will save many lives

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The top individual tax rate dropped to 37 percent as a result of the bill. It also cut income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction and eliminated personal exemptions. For corporate, the tax rate went from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in 2018. Like with any other bill passed in Washington, addendums are always added that...

Bill Straub: Following Tuesday’s primary election, the Republican Party now the party of Trump

WASHINGTON – There can no longer be any doubt that the Republican Party, once known as the party of Lincoln and, later, the party of Reagan, is now the party of Trump. The proof comes in Tuesday night’s primary election results. In South Carolina, state Rep. Katie Arrington toppled incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford to capture the GOP nomination for that state’s 1st Congressional District seat centered...

Mitch McConnell: Senate’s confirmation of federal judicial nominees puts country on right path

The Senate is working with President Trump to secure significant accomplishments for the American people, from combating the opioid epidemic to providing the largest year-on-year increase in defense funding in 15 years. However, there’s one key issue I want to especially highlight because it can set our nation on the right path for generations to come. It’s the Senate’s successes in confirming...

Bill Straub: White House turned into ATM machine and other ugly stuff; McConnell’s getting fleas

Any attempt to pinpoint President Trump’s most grievous sin against the body politic is rather like picking out one particular star in a moonless night sky – the process could continue forever. A simple recitation of the known violence the president has perpetrated upon the nation he was chosen to serve would sate an entire column even without the usual smart-aleck asides. There is, of course,...

Kentucky Justice Secretary Tilley talks criminal justice reform at White House on Friday

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley traveled to Washington, D.C., on Friday as part of a Prison Reform Summit hosted by the White House, where he spoke as one of several leading experts on reentry programs for inmates. President Donald Trump organized the summit in support of efforts to lower the nation’s prison population, improve prison conditions and strengthen programs that help inmates successfully...

Bill Straub: The ‘lone wolf’ joins the pack, as Rand Paul hands committee green light to Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON – Back a little more than five years ago, Sen. Rand Paul marched onto the floor of the upper chamber and launched a filibuster that lasted nearly 13 hours, a move that earned the Bowling Green Republican a lot of attention, established him as an iconoclastic spirit and proved beyond any doubt that the man could talk. Now the public, including the voters of Kentucky, are beginning to understand...

Gov. Bevin receives notification of Federal assistance for Eastern KY counties impacted by flooding

Governor Matt Bevin today received notification that President Donald Trump has authorized assistance for certain Kentucky counties that suffered significant damage as a result of the severe flooding event from Feb. 9 through Feb. 14. Gov. Bevin “We are grateful for this official declaration by the President, which will allow Eastern Kentucky counties to access federal assistance to repair local...

Bill Straub: Worst member of a historically rotten cabinet — drum roll, please — Yes, it’s Scott Pruitt

Identifying the worst member of President Trump’s historically rotten cabinet is akin to picking out the most malodorous skunk at a polecat farm. The senses reel. Literally. Amazingly, despite the presence of jaw-dropping incompetents like Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one contender is lapping the field and, to borrow the renowned phrase...

Constance Alexander: How do you tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys?

In Nancy Willard’s poem, “Questions My Son Asked Me, Answers I Never Gave Him,” the first unanswerable is, “Do gorillas have birthdays?” Adults are used to responding to such complicated queries from kids. The best answers demand a leap of faith, mixing the mundane with the magical, in a show of clever deception. Why is the sky blue? Because blue is God’s favorite color. Where do babies...

Mitch McConnell: Budget act ensures Berea College can continue mission for Kentucky’s students

Last December, Bernie Sanders, a liberal Senator from Vermont, led every single Senate Democrat to impose an endowment tax of around $1 million per year on Berea College. This was a particularly outrageous act of partisan hypocrisy from a Senator who claims to want free college for all. But when it came to this particular college – which already provides tuition-free education for students whose...

Bill Straub: The Napoleon of coal (good, beautiful, clean) coal is just playing along and enjoying the joke

There are many good things that can be said about coal. For decades, even centuries, in the United States it helped keep homes warm in the winter. Coal brought electricity to even the most remote regions of the country and, it should be noted, helped spur the economic revolution that truly made America great. But beautiful? Coal is a substance that ravages regions where it’s uncovered, dirties...

Mitch McConnell: Senate tax bill helps small business and families while promoting energy independence

For many Americans, the legacy of the Obama economy is sluggish growth, stagnant paychecks, and missed opportunities. A lost generation of workers still struggle with the consequences of the Great Recession and find it nearly impossible to get ahead. One of the biggest obstacles to their success has been our nation’s complex and outdated tax code. For too long it has dragged down our economy and...

Two more Kentuckians, Steven Gardner and Mike Duncan, nominated to Trump Administration posts

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two more Kentuckians have been nominated for posts in the administration of President Donald J. Trump.   
Steven Gardner, president and CEO of Lexington-based ECSI, LLC, has been named to be director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and Robert M. “Mike” Duncan has been named to the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. Robert...

Rural Blog: Deep budget cuts for health care ads could hurt rural enrollment in Affordable Care Act

The Trump administration has announced deep cuts to programs that help people learn about and sign up for health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Department of Health and Human Services officials told reporters that “advertising will be cut to $10 million for the 2018 open enrollment season. That’s down from $100 million for the 2017 sign-up season. Funding...

Rural Blog: All counties in the U.S. now have at least one option for private health insurance for 2018

Dozens of counties, mostly in rural areas, were at risk of having no individual private insurance options in 2018 after companies like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield pulled out of the markets. But a few insurance companies have filled gaps in coverage, and now there are no areas in the U.S. without coverage. Paulding County, Ohio, was the last “bare” county until CareSource committed...

Bill Straub: Fear of change culminated in events in Charlottesville — where is the accountability?

WASHINGTON – So, how did we get here? It’s now apparent that the United States of America, the most powerful nation the world has ever seen, has as its president a man who is incompetent and, more importantly, has no moral core. During the 1950s it was said that certain politicians were “soft on communism’’ because they were insufficiently zealous in their abhorrence of the Russian bear....

Commentary: Tweeting is no way to communicate policy; discussion needed about gender issues

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward President Trump’s tweet barring transgendered persons from serving in the military caught everyone off guard, including policy makers who are still trying to figure out exactly what it means. As we navigate the minefields of this highly charged issue there’s middle ground that nearly everyone can agree on: policy by tweet is no way to run a government....

Blocked again, Republicans divided about whether to keep trying to pass a health insurance bill

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News After his last-ditch attempt to pass a health-insurance bill failed early Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s time to move on,” and scheduled other business. President Donald Trump, hungry for a legislative victory, did not agree. “Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead!...

Rand Paul: Association health plans could be a way to provide good, inexpensive insurance

Obamacare left 27 million people without health insurance and created a situation where insurance premiums have risen over 100 percent. Of the 27 million people that Obamacare left behind, about half of them don’t buy insurance because it is too expensive. So any debate to repeal and replace Obamacare must acknowledge the failures of Obamacare and try to insure more people at a lower price. There...

McConnell delays vote on GOP health bill until after break; measure may need support of Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on Republican senators’ health bill Tuesday, saying it needed redrafting to get the votes it needs to pass. Republicans have 52 of the 100 Senate seats, so McConnell can afford only two defections, and six GOP senators had rejected the bill when he pulled it. Three more did later. After Senate Republicans met with President Trump, McConnell...