We missed doing our Monday News & Notes due to a bunch of other work, so apologies all around. As it turned out, today may be a better day for it. So here is the Monday News & Notes on Tuesday. 😉
Kentucky Supreme Court considers blocking key abortion bans in hearing
Kentucky's highest court met Tuesday morning to hear legal arguments as it weighs whether two state laws that all but outlaw abortion should be suspended again until a case challenging their constitutionality is decided.
The overarching lawsuit, filed by the commonwealth's two remaining abortion providers, claims Kentucky's near-total "trigger" ban on abortion and its prohibition on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, violate the state constitution.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, is defending the laws and has argued the constitution, which doesn't actually mention abortion, does not include abortion rights. (Courier-Journal)
Beshear signs order to partly legalize medical marijuana
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday to legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana by certain eligible individuals in the state, so long as it was purchased legally outside Kentucky and amounts to less than eight ounces.
Noting the many Kentuckians with chronic and terminal illnesses are prohibited from legally buying marijuana in the state, Beshear said those individuals “will soon be able to get the help they need without living in fear of being charged with a misdemeanor.” (Courier-Journal)
Former Kentucky Congressman Carroll Hubbard dies
Former U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard, a once powerful political figure in Western Kentucky whose career as a congressman and as a lawyer ended in ignominy, has died. He was 85.
As a conservative Democrat, Hubbard served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 1st Congressional District, and in 1979 he sought the Democratic nomination for governor.
But his congressional career ended in disgrace after he was caught up in a scandal in which he and other lawmakers in the 1990s helped themselves to overdrafts from a House bank that later was abolished. (Courier-Journal)
Court upholds Kentucky’s Republican-drawn redistricting maps
A court ruled on Tuesday against Democrats’ challenge to new political maps drawn by Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature. Democrats argued that lawmakers unconstitutionally altered districts in the state House of Representatives and U.S. Congress to benefit GOP candidates during the once-per-decade redistricting process earlier this year.
But, in a 72-page order, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate said the Kentucky Constitution doesn’t block lawmakers from taking politics into account when drawing the maps. “Plaintiffs have made an admirable effort to prosecute their claims and successfully established at trial that [the redistricting bills] are partisan gerrymanders,” Wingate wrote. “However […] the Kentucky Constitution does not explicitly prohibit the General Assembly from making partisan considerations during the apportionment process.” (Hoptown Chronicle)
KY Senate GOP leadership stays the same
Republican majority leaders in the state Senate will stay the same as none of the current team was challenged by other members of their party. Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, remains the Senate President; Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, will remain Senate President Pro Tempore; Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, holds his position as Senate Majority Leader; Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, keeps her position as caucus chair, and Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, remains the majority whip. (KY Fried Politics)
Kentucky judge blocks two GOP bills seeking to strip Gov. Andy Beshear's power
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate issued a ruling Thursday to strike down two bills passed by Republicans in the 2022 legislative session that Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear sued to block as unconstitutional.
The first bill Wingate struck down and permanently enjoined was House Bill 388, which would have allowed the state treasurer to be the final arbiter of state contracts, instead of the secretary of the Finance Cabinet within the Beshear administration. In his ruling, Wingate said HB 388 violated five different sections of the Kentucky Constitution, as the General Assembly only has legislative powers and is "prohibited from interfering with the means by which the Governor carries out the law through executive branch contracts and cannot delegate the Governor’s expressly granted constitutional power to the Treasurer."
The second bill struck down by Wingate is House Bill 248, which stipulated that Kentucky's attorney general is the only statewide constitutional officer allowed to expend taxpayer funds on litigation challenging the constitutionality of a bill. (Courier-Journal)
Eastern Kentucky teenager is youngest to ever win election in the state
A budding political career can begin in the garden. Just ask 16-year-old Logan Sizemore — who this week was elected to the Leslie County Soil and Water Conservation District board, making him the youngest-ever person to serve in elected office in state history. “Growing a garden has also grown my interest in wanting to help the community,” Sizemore told the Herald-Leader Friday. (Herald-Leader)
And from the Twitterverse ...