News briefs from around Kentucky at 1:58 a.m. EDT

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Grimes, McConnell break state fundraising records

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s two U.S. Senate candidates shattered their own fundraising records on Tuesday as they collectively raised more than $7 million heading into the November election.

McConnell raised $3.1 million from April to June this year, the best showing of his Senate career. But it still wasn’t enough to top Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic challenger who raised more than $4 million in her bid to unseat the 30-year incumbent.

The fundraising hauls dwarfed those of the other competitive Senate races across the country, cementing Kentucky’s status as a focal point of the 2014 midterm elections.

In the four fundraising quarters that Grimes has been a candidate, she has outraised McConnell in three of them. But July was her biggest victory yet, where she bested McConnell by nearly $1 million.

“We went form Sen. McConnell having a 10 to 1 cash advantage over us to now just a little bit over 1.5,” Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said. “We have closed the gap to something that is very manageable.”

The McConnell campaign has $9.8 million in the bank compared to Grimes’ $6.2 million, a $3.6 million advantage with less than four months to go before the Nov. 4 general election. That’s despite McConnell having to traverse a bruising primary election in which Louisville businessman Matt Bevin spent more than $3.5 million against him.

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Kentucky IDs could become problematic in travel

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - People with driver’s licenses from Kentucky and nine other states may have to show a passport or some other form of federal identification by 2016 to comply with a law tightening security across the country.

Under the REAL ID Act of 2005, tougher identification standards will go into effect for “restricted areas” in “all federal facilities,” and for nuclear power plants. In January, the rules will apply to “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, with the air travel mandate scheduled to go into effect “no sooner than 2016.”

Exceptions will be made for certain types of federal facilities, including those involving “activities directly related to safety, health, life preserving services, law enforcement and constitutionally protected activities,” according to the DHS website. The law is also not intended to interfere with applying for or receiving federal benefits.

Still, it was unclear just what specific facilities or buildings in Kentucky, if any, would reject the state’s driver’s licenses. That’s 145 different offices across the state.

Kentucky issues licenses by Circuit Court clerks, making standardized equipment difficult for the state.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Lisa Tolliver told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1jJuVhl) the state has been trying to comply with the law.

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