Friday News & Notes

Forward Kentucky
Forward Kentucky

TGIF! It’s almost the weekend – but the news just keeps coming. Here are some snippets and excerpts for today.

Republicans surpass Democrats for the first time in Kentucky history

Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats for the first time in Kentucky history, according to the latest tally from the State Board of Elections. The development comes after years of Republican electoral victories in Kentucky and dwindling returns for Democrats. Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, celebrated the news in a statement, saying “the birthplace of Lincoln has finally aligned with the party of Lincoln.” Republicans still don’t account for a majority of registered voters in the state – just about 45%. Democrats, Independents and members of other political parties make up the other 55%. There are now 1,612,060 registered Republicans in Kentucky compared to 1,609,569 Democrats, giving the GOP an advantage of 2,491 voters. (WFPL)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appeared on Fox News to accuse the Indiana doctor who provided abortion care to the ten year-old-rape victim from Ohio of “failure to report” the procedure. This morning, The Washington Post reports that the doctor in question in fact followed all reporting procedures required by Indiana law, and a statement by her attorney indicates that she and her client are considering legal action against Rokita. (Politizoom)

Judge allows 15-week abortion ban to go into effect in Kentucky

A Kentucky law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy may now be enforced while a legal challenge continues to a state law banning all abortions in the state. For now, abortions remain legal in Kentucky for patients with pregnancies under 15 weeks, under a different court ruling.

On Thursday U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings lifted her injunction against a part of House Bill 3, the "omnibus" abortion bill the legislature enacted this year, that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Jennings found there was no reason to block enforcement of that provision of the law following the Supreme Court's June 24 decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, its 1973 decision that established abortion as a constitutional right. That ruling returned power to states to regulate abortion, and in Kentucky, a "trigger" law automatically eliminated access to almost all abortions upon the Supreme Court ruling. (Courier-Journal)

Jennifer Moore considering run for attorney general

Louisville personal injury attorney Jennifer Moore is seriously considering a bid for Kentucky Attorney General next year on the Democratic ticket. As Gov. Andy Beshear seeks re-election, Democrats will need a slate of qualified candidates to aid in his election and to compete for statewide constitutional offices currently held by Republicans. Moore tells Kentucky Fried Politics she is being encouraged to run for Attorney General next year. The Paducah native previously served as the chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, and she is also the founder of Emerge Kentucky, an organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women who want to run for office. Former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman is the only candidate currently in the race for Republicans, and no Democrats have yet filed for the seat. (KY Fried Politics)

Kentuckians demand utility regulators consider climate change in long-term planning

More than two dozen Kentuckians called on Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities to do more to address climate change in its 15-year plan during a public hearing Tuesday. Students, retirees, mothers, educators, conservationists and even a member of a climate-conscious convent spoke during public comments at the Public Service Commission meeting in Frankfort. “This plan is of extreme importance in shaping the behavior of all the ratepayers, businesses, residents and I strongly believe that this plan is not adequate to meet the challenges we are facing in years 2022 and beyond,” Jackie Cobb, of Louisville, said. Even with planned coal plant retirements coal would still represent more than half of LG&E and KU’s energy mix in 2036. That doesn’t include natural gas, which LG&E says it will rely on, at least in part, to replace the retiring coal plants. LG&E’s attorneys have argued that addressing climate change falls outside their obligations under state law – but Cobb told the Public Service Commission that the opposite is true.  “My understanding is that the mission of the PSC is to ‘foster the provision of safe and reliable service at a reasonable price’ and knowing what we know about the certainty of human-caused climate change and the contribution of fossil fuels to this crisis, I believe it requires that the PSC also define ‘safe and reliable’ as low carbon,” Cobb said. (WFPL)

Russell Coleman hits $320k in first fundraising quarter of race

Former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman is crossing a significant fundraising milestone in the race for Kentucky Attorney General. Coleman announced he raised $320,000 in his first fundraising quarter in the race, a historic single quarter sum from a Republican, according to his campaign. Current Attorney General Daniel Cameron was the first Republican to hold the post in 70 years. “This is a team effort and we are incredibly humbled by the support from every grassroots Republican, donor and endorser,” Coleman said in a statement. “We have learned over the past four years how vital it is to have a strong conservative in the AG’s office, and we are proud to build on that legacy.” No other Republican or Democratic candidates are currently in the open seat race. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has close ties to Coleman and has been appearing at some of his fundraisers. (KY Fried Politics)

Nearly half of GOP congressional PACs’ 2022 funding comes from 27 billionaires

Over a decade after Citizens United and as the rich grow ever richer, billionaires are rapidly taking over Capitol Hill with political donations — and, as a new report shows, the Republican Party is a major beneficiary of this supposed generosity. This election cycle, nearly half of the funding (47 percent) raised by the two major Republican congressional super PACs came from just 27 billionaires, a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness revealed on Wednesday. That’s $89.4 million, straight from the pockets of two dozen of America’s richest people. The report says that these figures still don’t capture the full extent to which billionaires influence politics, as the rich are also able to donate through corporations and organizations without the donations bearing their names. “The nation’s roughly 750 billionaires are increasingly using their personal fortunes and the profits of connected corporations to drown out regular voters’ voices and elect hand-picked candidates who further rig the nation’s economy,” the report says. (Truthout)

Republicans will appeal judge’s decision to uphold Beshear’s appointment power over ethics panel

Republican officials will appeal a Kentucky judge’s decision that struck down a new law that curbs Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s appointment authority over the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. (In other news, dog bites man.) (NKY Tribune)

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