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Opinion

  • Not only did Friday mark the end to another busy week in the Kentucky Senate, it also was day 46 of our 60-day legislative session. We are now in the proverbial “fourth quarter” when the House and the Senate must come together to get a victory for the state of Kentucky by passing a responsible budget. After 10 weeks we are still awaiting a key “assist” from our colleagues in the House in the form of a budget bill that has yet to pass the lower chamber.

  • Frankfort was abuzz this past week, as the spotlight turned to budget negotiations, last minute bill filings, and movement on critical pieces of legislation.

  • The video footage is dramatic. An anti-Trump protester is shoved as she’s being removed from a rally earlier this month in Louisville. A week later, a protestor is punched by a Trump supporter in North Carolina. This past weekend, a Trump rally is cancelled after supporters and protestors clash in Chicago.

    The common narrative throughout the media is that Trump supporters are angry, rabid and violent. I’m not sure that’s a completely fair assessment.

  • I received the Spencer Magnet today, and was disappointed not to find an article by Tom Watson. His article is the first thing I look for in each issue.

  • If you’ve spent any time on social media, watching the news, or especially the presidential debates over the past few weeks, you realize there is no shortage of anger stirring in our nation today. That’s not always a bad thing, as anger channeled into passion can motivate us to work for significant changes.

    But political passion often turns to rage and hatred, and we’ve seen far too much of that this season. What we really need is a chance to cool off.

  • There has been no shortage of activity in Frankfort this week. The 40th day of the 2016 Legislative Session passed, along with the bill filing deadline. There have been more than 900 bills filed this session yet only one, Senate Bill 4, has been signed into law. While many legislators were hurrying to file bills before the deadline, there was much other activity going on within the Capitol walls.

  • As the Senate eagerly awaits a budget proposal from the House of Representatives, we are busy passing bills both out of committee and out of the Senate to send to our House colleagues during the eighth week of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly.

  • When a new governor is elected, it should be incumbent upon all parties to work together, establish trust and build relationships, especially in a budget session where so much is at stake.

    From the beginning, however, we have been operating at a trust deficit.

    Matt Bevin promised during his campaign to release his tax returns, but then once elected, refused to release them.

    Fast forward to the 2016 legislative session, in which the General Assembly is required to pass a state budget during a 60-day session.

  • This week in Frankfort, your elected House Republicans worked hard to promote something we all should value; transparency in government. Our caucus attempted to bring the first reading on Senate Bill 45. It would require public disclosure of all retirement benefits for all current and past legislators. SB 45 passed the Senate earlier this session by a margin of 38-0, with all members voting. Unfortunately, the bill did not enjoy the same success in the House and we have not had an opportunity to have discussion on the floor.

  • This is a question we hear from time to time at the Spencer Magnet. A visitor will pop through the door, a phone will ring, or we’ll get an email message inquiring about a rumor or something heard on the street.

  • Marking major goals and challenges off bucket lists and living longer and healthier lives are reasonable expectations nowadays.

    Luxurious vacation destinations and week-long cruises offer deep sea scuba diving, parasailing, zip-lining, skydiving, and thrills of a lifetime.

    Medical advances and, oftentimes, just the luck of inheriting good genes play a role. And in the course of living life, some are simply at an advantage because they have somehow made it through life relatively unscathed from serious accidents or injuries.

  • Today heart disease and stroke kill one in three women. But the good news it’s 80 percent preventable.

    Women are typically the caregivers in their families. They take care of their spouses or significant others, the kids, their aging parents and even the family pets. Many women have hectic, stressful careers on top of that. But all too often women don’t put their heart health first.

    Taking care of your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical exercise is the key to preventing heart disease.

  • Candidates running for any office should conduct themselves professionally and not act like schoolchildren having temper tantrums.

    All too often, we see in election cycle after election cycle candidates brutally attacking one another – in some cases, attacking their families – instead of talking about what the people really care about, which are issues such as the economy and national security.

    Candidates that play these attack games are committing a disservice to those who they hope will help propel them into office.

  • When the current Fiscal Court took office, I hoped for a conservative, responsible, open and honest court rather than the spending, closed and irresponsible actions the past court exhibited. Well I have been surprised by some of their actions and I admit the court is more open to comments and disagreement than the past Judge allowed from citizens. It was his way or the highway and if you disagreed with him you had to hit the road, but this court is open to citizens comments.

  • Wednesday morning, my wife and I are boarding a jet and taking a trip to see her sister in Seattle, Washington. I’ve never been west of Dallas, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing a region of America I’ve only seen in pictures.

    Visiting new places can be fascinating and just like people, places only get one shot to make a first impression, fair or not. So, from the moment we land, I’ll be taking in new sights, seeing new people and viewing a slightly different culture than I’m used to.

  • Hollywood stars, national organizations and winter weather greeted the Kentucky General Assembly during week six of the 2016 Session. With many guests, packed committee meetings, and energetic rallies, it was another exciting week in Frankfort.

    The national organization, Save The Children, which promotes early childhood learning, had its Action Network President Mark Shriver and actress Jennifer Garner testify in Frankfort on behalf of the organization and their work throughout Kentucky.

  • This week has been a flurry of activity in Frankfort, with the ceremonial signing of the first pro-life bill in 12 years, legislation dealing with economic development, and continued work on the budget and pension reform.

    On Thursday, Governor Bevin held a ceremonial signing for SB 4, the informed consent bill, at the statewide “Rally for Life” held in the capitol rotunda. I am proud to stand for life at all stages, and our whole caucus will continue to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

  • A bill headed to the House of Representatives would prohibit the sale of tobacco and nicotine vaporizing products to Kentuckians younger than 21, rather than the present age of 18.

    The House Health and Welfare Committee voted 10-4 for House Bill 299, sponsored by Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson.

  • Like many Kentuckians, I’m concerned about the Zika virus and the growing number of reports of people infected. In a recent meeting with President Obama at the White House, I raised the spread of this virus and what it could mean for Kentucky and the country as we head into warmer weather this spring and summer.