A Tough Road for Immigration Reform

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports finds that half of the nation’s voters dislike President Obama’s immigration plan. The executive action he announced last week will allow nearly five million illegal immigrants to remain in this country for three years and apply for jobs. The survey respondents opposed to the plan think it will be bad for the economy and will attract even more illegal immigrants.

Monday on Kentucky Tonight, our panelists found very little to agree on regarding the president’s action. Our guests were attorneys Marilyn Daniel and Rachel Mendoza-Newton, Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl, and Lexington businessman Ronald Vissing of Americans First.

Daniel, who co-founded the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic in Lexington, disagreed with Goettl on details regarding how undocumented immigrants might be taxed and the benefits they could receive under Obama’s order.

You can watch the full discussion or read a recap of the conversation.

Kentucky Tonight will be preempted next Monday so that we can bring you special programming for KET’s Winter Pledge. We’ll return with a new show on December 8.

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

The Issue: Same-Sex Marriage

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Is there a more divisive issue in America than the debate over same-sex marriage?

I’m sure many people across the country would say immigration reform is of paramount importance. Opponents and proponents of the Keystone Pipeline would rank their issue at the top. What about the war raging in the Middle East and the fight against ISIS? That ranks right up there too, doesn’t it? And then there’s Ferguson, Missouri.

But those issues weren’t being discussed Monday on Kentucky Tonight.

Because of the history of the gay marriage debate in Kentucky, from the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to the court cases attempting to overturn the ban, we decided to examine and explain the latest legal case in the controversy.

Our guests were Lexington lawyer Stan Cave, Martin Cothran of The Family Foundation of Kentucky, Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign, and Laura Landenwich, a Louisville lawyer and counsel for the plaintiffs in the latest case argued before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. They discussed the November 6 decision by that three-judge panel and what the ruling might indicate if the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case this next year.

The Sixth Circuit majority upheld the ban on same-sex marriage in Kentucky; it became the first federal appeals court in the nation to rule against gay marriage.

Most legal experts feel certain that the Supreme Court will now step in and hear arguments to either ban gay marriage across the country or allow LGBT couples who are married to qualify for the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.

Proponents of gay marriage argue that being married protects both the couple and their children. Opponents disagree and say that Kentucky’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage – and other laws like it – should be upheld. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.

The Supreme Court may make a decision by February whether to hear the case.

Watch the full Kentucky Tonight program, or read a recap.

Mitt and Mitch at Donamire Farm

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, was in Kentucky last night to attend a fundraiser for Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The private event was held at Donamire Farm on Old Frankfort Pike near Lexington. The farm is owned by Don and Mira Ball, and is frequently used for fundraising parties, including benefits for non-profit organizations. In fact the annual KET Summer Celebration has been held at Donamire for many years.

Press coverage for the event was limited by the organizers. But McConnell and Romney did make a few comments and answer several questions from the media afterwards. They were accompanied by McConnell’s wife, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

Romney endorsed McConnell in his reelection bid against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, and said he looked forward to McConnell becoming Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

The senator explained why his campaign has been so focused on President Obama and his agenda, especially on issues like the economy and foreign policy. McConnell also clarified his position on raising the minimum wage, saying he has supported increases in the past, but that he opposes it now because it would be a “bad time to be passing job-killing legislation.” He cited a study that indicates Kentucky would lose some 17,000 jobs if the minimum was raised.

Here are more of the remarks made by McConnell and Romney last night.

Sen. McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Grimes are scheduled to appear on Kentucky Tonight on Monday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.

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