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Sen. McConnell Speaks to Louisville Refugees From Burma, Says Lifting Sanctions Is Premature

Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke Saturday to an audience of over 400 including several refugees from Burma at Crescent Hill Baptist Church in St. Mathews about his recent visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, and said it’s premature to lift U.S sanctions against the country.

“For a long time, and I’m sure most of you, wondered if anything would change in Burma,” said McConnell, pausing for interpretation. “But clearly change is in the air,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced last week that diplomatic relations with Myanmar would likely be reinstated following the recent release of 651 political prisoners and a signed cease fire between the Myanmar government and the country’s largest rebel group, which were two requirements toward lifting U.S. sanctions from the country.

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National Attention for KY Lawmaker’s Opposition to Anti-Bullying Bill; River Fields Denies Delaying ORBP; DuPont Fined for Rubbertown Violations; McConnell Questions Obama’s Ohio Visit: Afternoon Review

Profiling a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide after years of alleged anti-gay taunts at school, CNN’s Anderson Cooper covered opposition to bullying legislation in Kentucky by highlighting state Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, who believes homosexuality is a sin.

Leaders with the conservation group River Fields rebuffed a resolution introduced in the Louisville Metro Council that blames them for delays to the Ohio River Bridges Project. River Fields Board of Trustees President Lee Cory says city lawmakers and civic leaders are whipping up a mob mentality to demonize the group, adding River Fields is not responsible for the delays.

And in other bridge-related news, engineers say it will take another week-and-a-half to finish their inspection of the Sherman Minton Bridge. Then they’ll be able to determine how long it will take to repair the bridge and re-open it to traffic.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned the motives of President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, alleging it’s more about his re-election than solving the country’s economic woes. The span connecting Kentucky to Ohio was cited in Mr. Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress earlier this month as an example of the country’s crumbling infrastructure needs.

And the Louisville Air Pollution Control Board voted today to approve a settlement between the city and DuPont for permit violations at the company’s Rubbertown plant. The board order fines the company $51,000.

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McConnell, Yarmuth, Young and Fischer to Tour Sherman Minton Bridge

Inspectors have been surveying the damage on the Sherman Minton Bridge for over a week, and Saturday, they’ll be joined by a group of elected officials.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Senate Minority Mitch McConnell and U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth and Todd Young will join federal and state transportation officials on a tour of the bridge. Afterward, they’ll discuss their findings with the media to update the public.

It’s not clear how severe the damage on the 50-year-old span is or whether it can even be repaired. Whether McConnell, Yarmuth, Young and other lawmakers will be able to secure federal funding to repair or replace the bridge is also unclear. The issue has been a frequent topic of discussion since the bridge closed last week.

McConnell will appear on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday. He’s expected to discuss President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to a crumbling bridge between Ohio and Kentucky. The president is promoting his jobs plan, which calls for increased spending on infrastructure. McConnell has been critical of the plan.

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PHOTOS: Activist Randall Terry Brings Health Care Protest to Louisville

terry5Political activist Randall Terry says Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky hasn’t shown enough leadership in opposing the president’s proposed health care overhaul. Terry was in Louisville this morning, acting out skits and protesting the proposed changes.

He’s the founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. He contends that under some legislation, taxpayer money would be used to fund abortions.

“There are people that are saying ‘oh, the health care bill doesn’t have abortion in it’ – nonsense! Why are there so many democrats that are fighting it that are pro-lifers?” says Terry. “Why when Orrin Hatch said to Feinstein, ‘just explicitly say, no money in this bill will be designated for abortion’, she wouldn’t do it! So, they’re lying to us.”

terry4Terry chose Louisville as a stop on his 10-city tour not to protest outside the office of Congressman John Yarmuth, who is in favor of a so-called public option, but in front of Senator McConnell’s office, because Terry says the Republican leader is not fighting hard enough against it.

“He, if he exercised good leadership, could single-handedly destroy this bill. But so far he has not displayed the backbone,” says Terry, “and we’re looking for true, courageous leadership. This is a hill to die on! This is not something to tinker with around the edges. Fight, Senator, fight!”

Congressman John Yarmuth will be talking about health care overhaul on tomorrow’s State of Affairs on WFPL.

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