Kentucky’s senior Senator Mitch McConnell won a legislative victory over his colleague Rand Paul today.

Senator Paul had proposed an amendment to a measure extending the Patriot Act for four years. The amendments delayed action on the legislation, which was likely Paul’s goal. He says the Patriot Act, which was passed in response to the 9/11 attacks, is far-reaching to the point of being unconstitutional.

“Because we changed the standard of the 4th Amendment from probable cause to relevance. So if they want to look at your records, they just have to say it’s relevant. They don’t have to say you’re a terrorist. They don’t have to say you’re a foreigner. They don’t have to say you’re conspiring with anyone. They just have to say they have some interest in your library records.”

But Senator McConnell, under pressure from the White House, was able to organize a bipartisan group of Senators to vote down Paul’s amendment and close debate. That paves the way for the Patriot Act to be extended for another four years.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Dan Conti contributed to this report.

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Drug Czar Says Kasper Isn’t Enough to Fight Drug Abuse

by admin May 24, 2011

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio Kentucky’s system for tracking prescription drug sales is “forward leaning” but it’s not enough to curb abuse. That’s according to U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. Speaking to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Kerlikowske said the system, known as KASPER, and similar initiatives in other states work well, […]

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Paul Lobbying for Exemption to Pay Expenses for Medical Practice

by Gabe Bullard May 24, 2011

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is seeking an exemption to conflict-of-interest rules. Paul is an ophthalmologist and he’s been performing eye surgeries for free at his Bowling Green practice since taking office. Senate rules prohibit members from being paid for other employment, but Paul is asking his colleagues to allow him to bill patients only to […]

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State Senate Reconvenes

by Tony McVeigh April 6, 2011

As expected, the Kentucky Senate reconvened the special session on Medicaid. But not much has happened yet. Senate President David Williams gaveled the session to order, and 27 members recorded their presence. A couple of resolutions were read, and then Senate Republicans went behind closed doors to caucus, where they remain. Democratic Senatir Walter Blevins […]

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McConnell Reaches Out to Tea Party

by Gabe Bullard March 31, 2011

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will praise and welcome a group of Tea Party protesters rallying on Capitol Hill.

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Senate Medicaid Plan Clears Committee

by Tony McVeigh March 24, 2011

Senate Republicans still want across-the-board cuts to state agencies, including education, to balance Medicaid. But most of the education cuts wouldn’t come until January 31, 2012. And if Governor Beshear attains 82 percent of his projected savings from Medicaid managed care before then, the legislature could rescind the cuts.

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McConnell Seeks to Stop EPA From Further Regulating Carbon Emissions

by Gabe Bullard March 15, 2011

McConnell calls such regulations “a back-door national energy tax,” and says they would lead to higher prices for gasoline, groceries, electricity and natural gas.

Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky has filed similar legislation in the House.

Carbon is a common pollutant and is linked to climate change. For more on the science of carbon emissions, watch this video from NPR and Robert Krulwich.

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Federal Legislation to Expedite EPA Decisions Mirrors Governor’s Stance

by Gabe Bullard March 8, 2011

Congressman Hal Rogers filed the bill, which is similar to legislation introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in their chamber. The lawmakers say the EPA takes too long to approve or deny mining permits, and the delays may be an indirect method of rejecting permits.

Dick Brown with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says Rogers, Paul, McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear share a common frustration with the EPA.

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Rand Paul Talks Budgets, Government on Daily Show

by Gabe Bullard March 8, 2011

The 15-minute interview (in three parts—1,2,3) covers current issues and the philosophical differences on government between Stewart and Paul.

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Bill to Expand and Elect Public Service Commission Revised, Now Calls for Study

by Tony McVeigh February 28, 2011

A Senate bill aimed at expanding the Kentucky Public Service Commission to seven members, elected by the people, has been altered in House committee. The bill now calls for creation of a legislative task force to study the issue and make recommendations for next year.

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