- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Bill Clinton tries to boost McConnell challenger

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s opposition to raising the minimum wage is reason enough for Kentuckians to replace the five-term incumbent with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, a longtime Clinton family friend.

In his debut on the 2014 midterm campaign trail, Clinton cast Grimes as a problem solver who’s got a plan to raise wages to help the middle class, veterans and others.

“She’s got some ideas to actually do something,” the former president told about 1,200 people gathered in a Louisville hotel. “May not make a juicy 30-second ad, doesn’t have anything bad about her opponent, but it will make a big difference to America.”

Without naming McConnell, Clinton suggested the GOP veteran is an obstructionist who’s chosen to “just pout if your party’s not in the White House and make as many problems as you can.”

Clinton, who twice carried Kentucky as a presidential candidate, was doing more than lending political muscle to Grimes and other Democratic candidates as the party defends its Senate majority. The former president’s support could also pay political dividends in two years, should his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, make her own White House bid.

For his part, McConnell welcomed Clinton to Kentucky.

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Kentucky Senate seeks to stop patent trolls

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A bill that would make it harder for companies that hold large numbers of patents to sue for patent infringement when they don’t produce the patented goods has been passed by the Kentucky Senate.

Bill sponsor Sen. Christian McDaniel, a Republican from Taylor Mill, calls this process “patent trolling” and says that it can drive up startup costs for small businesses.

McDaniel says patent trolls have created a profitable business model preying on the intellectual property industry.

Opposition to the measure came from Sen. Ray Jones, a Pikeville Democrat. Jones says the measure could allow large businesses to wrest patent ownership from individual Kentuckians by subjecting them to costly litigation.

The measure passed the Senate 31-7 and now moves to the House.

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Ky. health care system not at high security risk

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky is not among the more than two-thirds of states that were rated as “high risk” for security problems related to its computers tapping into the federal health insurance exchange system.

The federal data hub is used to check Social Security, Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security records to verify key personal information for determining coverage eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

Federal cybersecurity experts worry that the identified state computer systems could become a back door for hackers and identity thieves.

The Obama administration says the issues have been resolved or are being addressed through specific actions and that no successful cyberattacks have occurred.

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Kentucky Senate OKs Cabinet change

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - State lawmakers’ influence over the governor’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services would increase under a bill passed by the Kentucky Senate on Tuesday.

Under the measure, a nine-member board chosen by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature would select three candidates from which the governor would pick a Cabinet undersecretary.

Sen. Julie Denton, a Republican from Louisville, is sponsoring the bill. Denton said the bill would bring more transparency to the functions of the Cabinet, and would allow for continuity of policy despite the changes in appointed Cabinet secretaries.

“With 20 percent of the budget going to the Health and Family Services Cabinet, it’s important that we have someone that can have continuity,” Denton said.

Minority Leader R.J. Palmer of Winchester expressed concern that the measure goes too far in dictating the functions of an executive Cabinet.

“It is something that simply tries to micromanage the executive branch to a much greater extent than the other two,” said Palmer. “Regardless of whether it is the intent or not, you could have a particular situation where this board disagrees with a policy of the governor who was elected. They could potentially send him names that he knows would not be a good suit or a good working relationship.”

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