A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sen. McConnell aims to sponsor legislation making 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products in all states

By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would sponsor legislation to make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products in every state – a change that 12 states have recently adopted, but one that failed to pass the Kentucky legislature this year. McConnell said at a Louisville news conference that his move was prompted by the epidemic...

Bill Straub: Since it’s baseball season, let’s bat some things around – oops, out of strikes already

It’s baseball season once again — thank the lord — so let’s toss it around-the-horn political style: First. Give Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, credit – he’s not afraid to make a fool out of himself. And this time Wonder Boy, as the old saying goes, did it in front of God and everybody. Massie serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,...

Mitch McConnell: Kentucky on the frontline of opioid and addiction response; prevention will save lives

Coordinated efforts at the federal, state and local levels are making considerable progress in the fight against opioid and substance abuse. Unfortunately, Kentucky still ranks among the hardest-hit states in the nation. Reports continue to show record-breaking overdose deaths in our Commonwealth, and families are struggling as they watch their loved ones battle addiction. Our prevention, treatment...

Bill Straub: What an incredible week it was for Mitch McConnell, setting a record for bollixing things up

So what has Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell done over the space of a single week in March to further bollix this long-suffering republic? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let me count the ways. 1. The Louisville lawmaker has joined his fellow Republicans in a massive home run trot over what may – or may not – be the results of Special Counsel Robert...

Bill Straub: Hail, hail Fredonia; America is mired in Duck Soup under President Donald J. Trump

Perhaps the time has come to consider changing the name of the United States of America to Freedonia. For the uninitiated, Freedonia, land of the free and brave, is the country ruled by Rufus T. Firefly, as played by Groucho Marx, in the classic 1933 film, Duck Soup. Groucho Marx (courtesy of Wikipedia) The manner in which Firefly operated, it seems, serves as a precursor to the administration of President...

Bill Straub: Unavoidable to broach this subject again but to clarify — it’s not voter fraud, it’s election fraud

In a week where President Trump (Egads!) traveled to Vietnam — a country he assiduously sought to avoid some 50 years ago — to play footsie with a half-mad dictator who has killed thousands of his subjects, and where the president’s former lawyer served him up on a silver platter before a congressional committee, we are here once again visiting Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’...

Mitch McConnell: Bill to protect abortion survivors should not be a partisan issue

Caring for innocent children and their mothers is a moral imperative. To put these principles into action, I announced, as Senate Majority Leader, that we would vote on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” offered by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) in the coming days. His bill, on which I’m proud to be an original cosponsor with nearly forty of my colleagues, would direct any physician...

Al Cross: At 77, McConnell faces big decision about his legacy — a Trump enabler or a Senate leader?

Mitch McConnell turned 77 Wednesday. He’s at the point in life where you reflect, sometimes at length, on how you will be remembered. If the Senate majority leader had any such ruminations in the last week or so, they should have troubled him. He risks going down in history as the main enabler of an autocratic president’s challenge to our constitutional system of government. Mitch McConnell The...

Bill Straub: McConnell has abdicated his leadership of the U.S. Senate to President Donald Trump

Well, the good news is Addison Mitchell McConnell has at long last abdicated his position as Republican leader of the U.S. Senate. The bad news is he has turned the reins of the erstwhile world’s greatest deliberative body over to President Trump (yecch!), further enhancing the perception that ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is the worst majority leader since the position was created 94 years ago. McConnell,...

Bill Straub: McConnell will pass on serious climate change discussion, go right to Green New Deal vote

WASHINGTON – Oh, that Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, such a clever boy. Progressive lawmakers, growing increasingly concerned over the impact of global climate change and the inability to address the catastrophe because of no-nothing legislators who refuse to acknowledge its looming impact, have offered up what has come to be called the Green New Deal. The package, offered by Sen. Ed...

Rural Blog: Trump, McConnell urge TVA not to close two of its oldest coal-fired plants, one in Paradise

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The town of Paradise, which no longer exists, was made famous in 1971 by John Prine’s eponymous anti-strip mining song. (Photo by Kathleen Cole) President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are trying to convince to the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority not to close two of its...

Mitch McConnell: Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky and our nation

In his State of the Union address, President Trump presented his vision for our country’s future. He articulated our national values, our economic potential, and the needs of families throughout the county. I was proud to once again welcome President Trump to the U.S. Capitol for this important speech, and I applaud his leadership. Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky...

Bill Straub: Comity, progress gone, we must protect voting rights to hold on to democratic process

If you’re black or brown or poor, it’s obvious now that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell couldn’t care less about your sacred right to vote. House Bill 1 in the 116th Congress is titled the For the People Act, and is intended to address many of the glaring deficiencies in the nation’s electoral system. It strengthens campaign finance laws, establishes new...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Largest federal employee union brings shutdown conversation to Kentucky with billboard campaign

KyForward staff The American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals is set to launch a billboard campaign in an effort to bring an end to the partial government shutdown. The campaign will specifically target U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, calling for him to bring House Resolution 21 to the Senate floor for a vote. Young The billboards are expected to contain...

Senator Mitch McConnell speaks out against House campaign finance reform package

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Monday is the ninth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has resulted in a flood of anonymous dark money into political campaigns. And while some see hope for change in a new package of reforms passed by the U.S. House this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is on the attack. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell...

Mitch McConnell: Democrats refusal to address southern border crisis another example of absurdity

There is a humanitarian and security crisis at our nation’s southern border. Our country is threatened by the inflow of drugs and criminal aliens. Career border security experts continue to express strong support for physical barriers. The simple truth is these walls and fences work. In fact, the Trump administration reports that in four border sectors where physical barriers were recently built...

Bill Straub: Character is indispensable, character matters, character first; did someone say ‘character’?

Apparently a person’s character doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Bowling Green Republican, who once referred to President Trump (YIKES!) as “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,’’ has somehow emerged as the most intense defender of said orange-faced windbag in the upper chamber, going so far as to wage attacks on those who might suggest that...

Mitch McConnell: Kentuckians benefitting from clout in Washington; here are some examples from 2018

Throughout 2018, I worked with my colleagues and President Trump to accomplish a great deal across Kentucky – from Paducah to Pikeville. We legalized industrial hemp, opening new doors of opportunity for farmers. We bolstered funding for our military and our veterans. And we helped protect families from the scourge of the opioid epidemic and the terrors of human trafficking. My most important responsibility...

Bill Straub: Even the ‘best bad idea’ won’t get the Republicans out the hole Trump has dug for them

Some years ago, Steve Martin (yeah, the guy with the banjo), then an up-and-coming standup comic, introduced a routine and produced an album he titled “Let’s Get Small.” “I like to get small,’’ Martin would tell his always enthusiastic audience. “It’s a wild, wild drug.” Well, apparently Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has uncovered Martin’s...