- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis loses latest gay marriage appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis has lost another bid to delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday denied her latest request for a reprieve.

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. Four couples sued her, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning then ordered her to issue the licenses. He later clarified his order to include all couples, not just the four who filed suit.

Davis’ attorneys have appealed that expanded order several times, arguing that the mandate to issue licenses should apply only to the four couples who filed suit. They received licenses during Davis’ five-day stint in jail for defying the court’s order.

The appeals court again rejected Davis’ request Thursday.

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Kentucky Gov.-elect Bevin names transition team

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican Matt Bevin is turning to a pair of former rivals to help him as he transitions to become Kentucky’s next governor.

Thursday, Bevin named former Republican primary opponent Hal Heiner as one of 21 people on his transition team. And Friday he will meet with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who crushed Bevin in the 2014 Senate primary.

“We’re going to meet tomorrow afternoon and share thoughts about getting started,” McConnell told The Associated Press in an interview. “There’s a very short transition period in Kentucky. You get elected and a month later you’re sworn in.”

Heiner spent more than $4 million during the Republican primary, more than Bevin spent for the entire election cycle. The two often sparred in public debates over Bevin’s property tax issues and Heiner’s record as a former Louisville Metro councilman. A pro-Heiner super PAC even aired negative TV ads against Bevin which inflamed their relationship late in the campaign.

But the two men soon patched things up, with Heiner campaigning for Bevin in Elizabethtown four days before the election. McConnell held several fundraisers for Bevin and endorsed him publicly at the annual Fancy Farm picnic.

Heiner is advising Bevin on transportation issues. Brown-Forman Vice President J. McCauley “Mac” Brown will lead Bevin’s transition team, which includes current and former state lawmakers along with veterans of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s staff, the last time Kentucky had a Republican administration.

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Republicans see health care mandate in Kentucky elections

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Republicans view Tuesday’s election results as a mandate to dismantle one of the country’s most heralded health care programs in the name of fiscal responsibility.

But it might not turn out to be as easy as some think in the heady aftermath of a political victory.

Outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear used an executive order to expand the eligibility requirements of Kentucky’s Medicaid program, insuring an additional 400,000 people and reducing the state’s uninsured rate from 20 percent in 2013 to 9 percent by the middle of this year.

But those 400,000 people were more than twice what state officials had originally projected. Combined with the existing Medicaid program, Kentucky taxpayers now pay for the health insurance of a quarter of the state’s population. The state will begin paying for the expansion in 2017, and costs could surpass $300 million by 2020.

That’s why, three years into a coverage expansion that has brought the share of uninsured Americans to historically low levels, Bevin’s lopsided victory underscores how politically divisive the law remains.

“(Bevin) is the one who has received the mandate here. We have to do something different,” said Republican state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a doctor who opposes the Affordable Care Act. “The legislature and the governor need to follow through. It’s clear on what voters are telling us they want to do.”

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Convicted killer facing death penalty in Ohio claims remorse

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) - A Kentucky man told the jury deciding whether to recommend putting him to death that he was filled “with great remorse and sorrow” for killing an 87-year-old Ohio woman and leaving her body in the trunk of her car.

Daniel French, 57, of Berea, took the stand Thursday and told the Butler County courtroom that he wishes he could change what happened.

“I destroyed a life. I caused great pain and suffering by my actions,” French said. “I became a monster that I believe was never there.”

The jury deliberated less than two hours last week before convicting French of aggravated murder for Barbara Howe’s 2012 slaying.

Prosecutors said French cut Howe’s throat after gaining entry to her home by posing as a maintenance worker in her Monroe retirement community.

The defense insisted French had no plan to kill her. On Wednesday, French’s brother testified that their father beat them as children.

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