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Opinion

  • As director of the Spencer County Animal Shelter in Taylorsville, I would like to emphasize that the shelter report that aired on WAVE 3 last week was not to show that we have a poorly run shelter: indeed, it was quite the opposite and probably the reason there wasn’t more coverage about our shelter. Being listed as one of the neediest shelters in Kentucky means just that: we NEED more to run a shelter that adheres more closely to state shelter regulations. If you watched closely, our shelter looked better than any other shelter in the news segment.
     

  • Despite the snow flurries and the brief return to winter weather, this is a great week in Kentucky. It’s March Madness and this special time of the year offers a brief respite from all the political talk and hate and debate that seems to dominate the airwaves and social media these days.

  • We are in the final stretch of the Regular Session and the House has been hard at work to better Kentucky, not only on bills from our own chamber, but reviewing Senate bills as well. With just a few legislative days remaining, the brisk pace can be expected right up until the clock runs out. We passed several measures this week, dealing with multiple issues facing the Commonwealth.   

  • Mike Woodford has been a busy man for several months as he has labored to help the Levee Commission prepare emergency plans that are required as part of the levee recertification process.

    Last week, he held a meeting with local officials to help iron out the process of sandbagging and evacuations in the event of a severe flood event in Taylorsville, and before that, he spent untold hours researching maps, flood plans and past records needed to help put together a plan of action should the waters ever breach the floodwall.

  • I didn’t know Joseph Sheeley, but I knew some of his family. I knew some of his friends and some of the adults who interacted with him daily at school. And like so many others in this community who never had the privilege of knowing him personally, I’ve still been grieving his loss.

    Through social media posts, interviews with those who knew him, stories I’ve heard and a video that was made to honor him after his tragic death Saturday night, I feel like I’ve gotten to know him over the last 48 hours. This kind of story just breaks my heart.

  • You will often notice that bills coming through the Kentucky General Assembly put people first. That person may be a child, a worker in need of a job, or a young adult living in a community plagued by criminal activity and drug abuse. All are important in the eyes of Kentucky lawmakers.

  • Late nights, packed committee meetings, and heated debate marked the fifth week of the 2017 Session. The Senate is quickly passing the remaining Senate bills out and receiving bills from the House for consideration. While there were some contested issues, the Senate conducted itself in a bipartisan fashion. We wasted little time this week and passed over 40 pieces of legislation including:

    • Senate Bill 9, redistricting of judicial districts in order to better align caseloads with current census data;

  • The Catlettsburg, KY police department is removing decals from their cruisers that featured a popular comic book logo known as “The Punisher” and the words “Blue Lives Matter,” following some outcry, mostly from people outside of the community.

    The logo features a menacing looking skull and has been adopted by some military units. It’s based on a comic book character who is known to use threats, kidnapping, torture and murder as he seeks revenge. In short, he is a vigilante.

  • Last year, during my visit to the drug treatment program at Roeder Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky, I met a young man there named Joe. He was smart and articulate, the son of a police officer and a father himself. He was also a heroin abuser, whose addiction had driven him to rob banks to pay for his drugs. On the day that I met him, Joe had joined the drug treatment program at Roeder, and was clear-eyed, reflective, and focused on turning his life around. He was anxious to rejoin society, find a good job, and get back to taking care of his family.

  • The pace in Frankfort has picked up substantially, as another week of committee meetings, ceremonies, and floor votes have gone by. We have passed a variety of bipartisan legislation that will go far in increasing government transparency and caring for the most vulnerable among us.

  • Visits from advocacy groups, a ceremonial bill signing, and rallies in the Capitol Rotunda, along with the bipartisan passage of bills, marked a busy Week Four of the 2017 Legislative Session. We were excited to welcome the children of Kentucky National Guard members from across the state for the First Annual Kentucky Military Kids Day.

  • On Monday, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill to establish the Adoption Task Force, which will work to streamline the process of adoption in the state. The measure’s sponsor, House Majority Caucus Chairman David Meade, has long worked to reduce the cost of adoption and ease the process.

  • Heads shook and eyes rolled last week when President Donald Trump met with the media for more than 70 minutes, spending more of that time lecturing the press than answering questions.

    For many in the media who are not used to having their professionalism questioned, Trump’s targeting them as unfair, biased and inaccurate, signaled a threat to the very existence of America. I don’t concur.

  • A wide array of bills were heard in committees and voted out of the Senate in a busy and fast-paced third week of the 2017 Session. Because this year’s 30-day meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly is considered a “short session,” we are focusing on maximizing our time here in Frankfort. We passed nearly 20 bills this week with topics ranging from tobacco use on school property to campaign finance reform to transportation issues.

  • I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the hard work they did for the benefit at the American Legion Hall. I would like to thank the Legion Hall of Bloomfield for allowing us to hold the benefit there.

    Thanks to the three bands; Hard Times, Honky Tonk Road and Judge Angus for their time in performing for all of us. A special thanks to Mike and Michelle Housley for all their hard work, and to the others that helped them.

  • The profane and obscene graffiti painted on the Elk Creek water tower over the weekend is a sad reminder that cowards live among us.

    Some may suggest that it took guts for someone to scale the unprotected ladder late in the night or early in the morning, as the culprit or culprits risked getting caught, or worse, falling to their death. I’d suggest that what is on display here is not the presence of bravery, but the absence of intelligence.

  •  

    On February 7, 2017, Representative Thomas Massie introduced H.R. 899, a bill to abolish the federal Department of Education. The bill, which is one sentence long, states, “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

    On the day of Betsy DeVos’ scheduled Senate confirmation for Secretary of Education, Massie said, “Neither Congress nor the President, through his appointees, has the constitutional authority to dictate how and what our children must learn.”

  • The General Assembly returned to Frankfort this week after a brief organizational break, and the week has been filled with legislative meetings as well as the daily session. Most importantly, when we returned we heard from Governor Matt Bevin as he delivered the State of the Commonwealth to a joint session of the House and Senate.

  • The Kentucky House of Representatives today passed a bill to create a safety measure aimed at preventing the distribution of autopsy records. The measure was championed by Rep. James Tipton R-Taylorsville.