By Beth Musgrave
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged Thursday to overturn a federal health care law less than an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court largely upheld the cornerstone legislation of President Barack Obama’s administration.
McConnell, in a speech on the Senate floor, said Thursday’s 5-4 decision “doesn’t mark the end of the debate. It marks a fresh start on the road to repeal.”
The Kentucky Republican used the court’s argument that the mandate to purchase health insurance is a tax as fodder to overturn the controversial law.
“They knew that it would never have passed if they said it was a tax,” McConnell said of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “The bill was sold to the American people on a deception.”
Other Kentucky Republicans criticized the court’s ruling Thursday and used the decision to rally support and raise money for Republican candidates.
Kentucky’s two Democratic congressmen are at odds.
When the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville play Saturday in the NCAA Final Four, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, will be rooting for the Wildcats and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, will be cheering on the Cardinals.
The two took playful shots at the opposing teams in a news release issued Wednesday. It was accompanied by a photo of Chandler and Yarmuth holding UK and U of L flags while standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Here’s the news released issued by Chandler:
UPDATED AT 5:12 P.M.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law Friday a compromise plan to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts after the plan rocketed through the General Assembly on Friday.
The new map in House Bill 302 moves part of Jessamine County, including Wilmore, and all of Garrard, Mercer and Boyle counties from Central Kentucky’s 6th District to the 2nd District, which extends west to Owensboro. Lincoln County was moved to Eastern Kentucky’s 5th District.
The 6th District gained the remaining portion of Scott County, a southern strip of Harrison County, and all of Robertson, Nicholas, Fleming, Bath, Menifee and Wolfe counties.
Those changes are expected to make it tougher for Republican Andy Barr to successfully challenge U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles.
By Jack Brammer and Janet Patton
FRANKFORT — After weeks of contentious negotiations, the state legislature is expected to produce a map Friday that redraws boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said late Thursday there will be a vote Friday on a congressional redistricting map.
Stivers declined to say what the map will look like, “but we believe it will be a plan that will pass both chambers.”
He said the Senate has made no changes yet in a map the House sent it earlier this week, but “there’s always the possibility. Because of the sensitivity of the issue in discussions that will continue tonight and tomorrow, it probably will be premature to comment on what we have discussed with leaders of both houses.”
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said earlier this week that the latest map proposal basically protects incumbents.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — State lawmakers failed to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts before Tuesday’s candidate filing deadline, which means the issue probably will end up in court.
House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, told House members about 20 minutes after the 4 p.m. filing deadline that a compromise agreement between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate could not be reached.
The House and Senate had delayed the original deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7 to give the two sides more time to reach an agreement.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, had worked with members of congress on a possible compromise that late last week looked promising, House leaders said. But Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers said Tuesday afternoon that the two sides appeared to “agree to disagree.”
Stumbo said congressional candidates will run in the state’s existing districts. That means someone — either a candidate or a national political party — will probably challenge the constitutionality of Kentucky’s districts.
By Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — House and Senate negotiators appear close to an agreement on new boundaries for Kentucky’s six congressional districts.
“We have a map that shows great promise,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said late Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the Senate has had “little time to analyze anything” from the House, but “hope springs eternal.”
Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the staff of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, has been instrumental in helping the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate come to a consensus after weeks of negotiations.
Senate leaders were looking at a proposed map after the chamber adjourned Thursday evening. If the Senate agrees to the new map, it’s possible for the legislature to approve the plan before the Feb. 7 filing deadline for congressional candidates.
FRANKFORT – The state House and Senate still have not reached a compromise on the redrawing of boundaries for Kentucky’s six congressional districts, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo appeared more optimistic Thursday that the two sides could reach an agreement.
“I think there’s at least some movement,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
He said the House has offered another compromise plan to Republican Senate leaders. That plan specifically addressed some concerns of Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Stumbo said. Rogers’ district includes most of Eastern and Central Kentucky.
The filing deadline for candidates is Jan. 31, but lawmakers could extend the deadline to give the two sides more time to hammer out an agreement.
Stumbo said he met and talked with Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers about the congressional map on Thursday morning, although no meeting has been set between leaders of the two chambers to produce a new congressional map.
Stivers, R-Manchester, said negotiations are “going slowly.”
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
UPDATED AT 1:13 P.M.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – The state House and Senate adjourned Friday until Monday without approving a bill to redraw boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts.
The lack of action means the Jan. 31 filing deadline for candidates for U.S. Congress may have to be extended.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he thinks Monday would be the last day for the legislature to act on House Bill 2, the congressional redistricting bill, without changing the filing deadline.
Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the Jan. 31 filing deadline for legislative and state Supreme Court candidates should stay in effect if Gov. Steve Beshear signs into law on Friday a bill already approved by the legislature to redraw those districts.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — The state House sent to Gov. Steve Beshear a controversial legislative redistricting bill Thursday that would move the district of Democratic State Sen. Kathy Stein from Lexington to northeastern Kentucky.
House Bill 1, approved on a 58-39 vote, redraws the boundaries of all 100 House districts and 38 Senate districts. It also redistricts the state’s seven Supreme Court districts.
Beshear is expected to sign it into law, though Stein’s supporters were lobbying for a veto. The Democratic governor had nothing to say about the bill on Thursday.
The House did not agree with the Senate on a plan to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts. A conference committee made up of representatives from both chambers started meeting Thursday afternoon to negotiate a compromise on House Bill 2 but finished about 5 p.m. without any resolution. It is to resume negotiations Friday.
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The Republican-led state Senate approved its plan to redraw the boundaries of Kentucky’s six congressional districts late Wednesday, setting up a fight with the Democratic-led House in coming days over the contentious political issue.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the House will not accept the Senate’s plan, which means leaders from both chambers will have to hash out their differences in a conference committee. Stumbo said he is hopeful the two sides can strike a deal on House Bill 2, which includes the congressional map, by the end of Friday.
Time is running out to reach an agreement. The filing deadline for candidates to seek state and federal offices is Jan. 31. If an agreement is not worked out by the end of this week, the legislature may have to push back the filing deadline.
Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown, chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, said the Senate’s congressional map does not differ greatly from the current congressional map.