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Frankfort Local News

National Progressive Group Targets Kentucky Lawmakers for ALEC Ties

A national progressive organization that’s pressuring Democrats to drop their memberships in a conservative nonprofit is now operating in Kentucky.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has spearheaded several national campaigns, like the push to recall Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and with Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate bid.

The group is also encouraging lawmakers to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC helps draft and pass state legislation, and the group has come under fire recently for its involvement in Florida’s controversial “Stand your ground” law.

The PCCC has been working for months to encourage lawmakers in other states to drop their ALEC memberships. Now, PCCC state director James Ploeser says the group is focusing on three Kentucky Democrats: Gerald Neal, Walter Blevins and Kathy Stein.

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Frankfort Local News

Beshear Creates Coal Scholarship Program

Governor Steve Beshear has created a program lawmakers could not. The governor has released four million dollars to be given as scholarships to Eastern Kentucky college students.

Lawmakers wrestled with several scholarship proposals during the last legislative session, but an agreement was never passed.

“Kentuckians recognize the importance of completing a college degree, and more and more people are pursuing higher education,” says Beshear in a release. “That’s a good sign. But the cost of attending school can be prohibitive. I’m proud that we’ve found a way to make sure more students can continue their studies. These coal severance fund scholarships will surely help more of our students to achieve their goal of a college degree.”

To qualify for the scholarships, students must be from any of the following counties: Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin or Pike. They must also be juniors, seniors or nontraditional students in schools in those counties, including: the University of Pikeville, Alice Lloyd College or satellite campuses of Morehead State University, Lindsey Wilson, UPIKE or Lincoln Memorial.

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Frankfort Local News

State Will Open Louisville Area to Medicaid Competition, Burch Pushes for Delay

A Kentucky lawmaker says implementation of a federal mandate to allow private companies to compete for Medicaid contracts in Louisville could be delayed.

Currently, Medicaid in Louisville and the surrounding area is managed by the private company Passport Health Plan. But the federal government has ordered Kentucky to open the area to competition. And the company United Healthcare is already attempting to muscle into the region.

It’s also widely believed that the state’s other three managed care operators–CoventryCares, Kentucky Spirit and WellCare–would also want to bid for the Louisville region contracts

But today, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced they would extend Passport’s contract to the end of this year and start accepting other bids for services in 2013 and beyond.

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Frankfort Local News

Edelen Says He’ll Audit Private Medicaid Operators This Year

After months of mounting problems, State Auditor Adam Edelen says he will launch a full investigation intoKentucky’s statewide Medicaid Managed Care system.

Edelen created a Medicaid task force in February after taking a first look at the managed care system. He also gave recommendations to managed care companies, health care providers and the state on how to make the system run better in the future.

But with clashes between private Medicaid companies and healthcare providers ongoiong, Edelen wants to take a stronger look into the system.

“We will launch a full blown audit of the managed care companies based on the information that’s being gathered right now, we’re going to launch that investigation by the end of the year,” he says.

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Frankfort Local News

Activist Says Voters Could Have Chosen “Uncommitted” Over Obama for Many Reasons

Kentucky has become the latest in a growing number of states where Democratic voters have chosen not to vote for President Obama in primary elections.

More than 40 percent of Democratic voters who went to the polls yesterday selected someone other than Mr. Obama.

Kentucky’s primary results have mirrored that of other southern, conservative states like Arkansas and West Virginia. In both of those states, other candidates have attracted a significant amount of the primary votes away from Mr. Obama. But in Kentucky, there was no other candidate on the ballot, and voters instead chose “uncommitted.”

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Frankfort Local News

Pundits Say Paul Deserves Some Credit for Massie’s Victory

Many political pundits are ready to crown U.S. Senator Rand Paul as another Kentucky kingmaker following the Congressional primary victory of Thomas Massie.

Paul endorsed tea party candidate Massie, who won the Fourth Congressional GOP primary yesterday. The endorsement was Paul’s first in his home state since becoming Kentucky’s junior senator in 2010.

And while Massie’s campaign benefited from a Super PAC that spent more than a half million dollars in the primary race, former GOP consultant Les Fugate says Paul deserves some credit too.

“To be able to help someone navigate through a seven person primary and win, when frankly across the state tea party candidates didn’t win, to be able to do that says a lot about the senator and his engagement in the race,” he says.

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Frankfort Local News Politics

Only One Incumbent Defeated in Legislative Primaries

At least one incumbent member of the Kentucky House will not be returning to Frankfort next year.

Republican-turned-Democrat Wade Hurt has lost his primary to union activist Jeff Donohue. Wade ran as a Republican in 2010 against Donohue, who has remained a Democrat. Hurt switched parties shortly after that election, saying it would help him better serve his district.

No other incumbent House or Senate members lost their seats to primary challengers, though some will face tough re-election battles in the general election.

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Frankfort Local News

Massie Decisively Wins Fourth Congressional District Primary

Tea party candidate Thomas Massie has won the GOP nomination in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District.

Massie has the backing of many national tea party groups and of U.S. Senator Rand Paul. The Lewis County Judge-Executive gathered just under half of the vote in a seven person primary, greatly out-distancing his two closest contenders.

Massie campaign manager Ryan Hogan says the victory is shows the tea party is still alive in Kentucky.

“I think it was a very good win for not only the tea party but for small government, fiscally conservative Republicans here in the Fourth District,” Hogan says.

Hogan says Massie campaigned on issues similar to those of Paul, and once again they proved to be winning messages.

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Frankfort Local News

Rand Paul Set To Release Second Book In September

Kentucky’s junior senator is working on his second book.

Rand Paul has already penned one book while in office, called “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” It was mainly about his 2010 campaign victory.

Now, BuzzFeed reports that Paul is working on a book that outlines his opposition to the Transportation Security Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

University of Louisville political scientist Dewey Clayton says this could be a strategic move on Paul’s part.

“It’s sort of beginning to be a trend here if you start look back at President Obama, when he was Senator Obama and even before he began writing books. It gets your name out here, people start reading and seeing what your particular philosophy is,” Clayton says.

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Frankfort Local News

Principled Endorsement Gives Candidate Hope in Sixth Congressional District Primary

An outside Republican group is backing the long shot candidate in tomorrow’s Sixth Congressional District Republican Primary.

Patrick Kelly is running against Andy Barr. Barr won the 2010 GOP primary, and is expected to win this year as well.

But today, Kelly picked up a last-minute endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus, a Texas group that has endorsed in other Kentucky races this year.

The nod is unlikely to tip the race in Kelly’s favor, and caucus chairman Dave Nalle says the endorsement is largely symbolic.

“But I think Kelly has good issue positions, and that maybe him appealing as someone to put up there just to make a point, if nothing else. I would love it if he won this race, I can’t think he’s necessarily going to win this race but I think in the future he’s going to be a guy you see again,” Nalle says.