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This past Friday, the clerk’s desk in the House chambers was flooded with activity as the final bills and resolutions for the short session were filed.
So far, this thirty-day session has been short on time but large on action as it appears that well over 700 different ideas have been hammered into bills, from which a few will be finding their way onto committee schedules and fewer still to the floors of their respective chambers for votes.
Several of those bills originated from ideas or issues raised by folks just like you who contacted me and I was able to research and get them ready for filing and up for consideration in the House.
Back in the summer, my legislative work began with the filing of House Bill 44, which would make the counties of the Fifth Congressional District, eligible for business tax provisions that would allow a portion of dollars normally sent to the state as sales and use tax to remain in the district for use growing the business or hiring more workers.
Since January, I’ve been working with the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet in crafting a bill that would bring some subtle but important tweaks to the Tourism Finance Authority. My House Bill 425 reorganizes the TFA’s board to include the expertise and insight of a representative from the film industry and a representative with economic development or financial management skills. Why add film to the mix, you might ask? A quick perusal online of the Kentucky Film office will show you how often Kentucky locations are being used in films and television. Fans of the series “The Walking Dead” know that Cynthiana, Ky. is home to much of the action in that popular show.
House Bill 444 brings gets to the heart of seeing to it that structural steel welders are properly certified and in turn, it would ensure safety, quality and integrity of the jobs on which they work. Current certification procedures are too lax making jobsites and the stability of the structures being built questionable.
I was pleased to join neighboring legislator, Rep. Dan Bentley from Greenup County in a House Joint Resolution that would designate a bridge in our area as a “Korean War Veterans Memorial” to honor all those who served in that conflict.
There’s another House Joint Resolution in the mix as well which will celebrate a successful talent in Lawrence county, that was happily requested by the Lawrence County Tourism Commission.
My House Bill 496 takes on the problems of contraband in our detention facilities and would basically stop any hope of parole, probation or release for someone who is convicted of bringing anything they shouldn’t inside the jail until they have served 85% of imposed sentence.
Finally, filed just under the wire, comes a bill suggested by my friends from Carter County Youth Leadership. The teenagers from West and East Carter were visiting the capitol and they described how among their service projects, they were tutoring younger students at area elementary schools. According to the tutors, cursive handwriting was a big deal and requested by the students. The CCYL students felt that moves to abandon instruction of cursive handwriting was a bad idea and offered many reasons why.
That led to House Bill 495, which would insure that cursive handwriting remain a course of study in Kentucky elementary schools.
Elsewhere during the week we passed House Bill designed to educate Kentucky students on the dangers of opioid abuse. The bill would require elementary, middle, and high school students to be educated on the hazards of prescription opioid abuse and on the connection between prescription opioids and addiction to heroin and other drugs. Kentucky continues to face a serious epidemic in regard to drug abuse and overdose deaths. This bill would ensure that our youth are educated on the impacts of drugs, hopefully leading to its prevention. I was proud to strongly support this legislation.
Also on the move legislatively are other plans of attack against drug abuse -- specifically for the drug fentanyl, as launched by the House beginning with committee approval of a bill to strengthen penalties against trafficking fentanyl and related drugs. House Bill 333, passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, would make it a felony to illegally sell or distribute any amount of an extremely deadly drug called carfentanil and drugs derived from fentanyl. It would also increase penalties for trafficking of fentanyl, already a felony. Additionally, the bill would create the felony offense of trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance for those who pass the drugs off as actual pharmaceuticals like Xanax or Percocet, among other provisions.
We are nearly to the halfway point of this year’s legislative work schedule and many other issues are sure to come before us for consideration.
By Dr. Glenn Mollette
President Trump must not authorize troops on the ground in Syria. Once our troops are moved to a country they never leave. Iraq and Afghanistan are cases in point. Part of our economic despair in our country can be traced to the trillions of dollars we've spent on foreign soil the last sixteen or so years. This doesn't include all the countries where we have troops and billions of dollars invested in military bases. America is scattered out around the world.
Our soldiers go and are killed or are maimed for life. We reverence all they do for America but in the meantime our government continues to send thousands of troops overseas.
There is now a buildup of troops in Poland on the Russian border. I am sure Poland does not appreciate Russian aggression against them. Is it America's job to send thousands of troops to this region of the world? More is now being said about troops on the ground in Syria. Once we start we will be there for years and maybe forever.
What will be the defining moment that stops our country from making every world problem and conflict our problem? Will it be when all Americans are poor and hungry? Will it be when we no longer have bridges that we feel safe crossing or roads in such shambles we can't drive on them? Will it be when we are so drained from spreading ourselves around the world so thinly that we can no longer defend ourselves?
Inside of our own nation we are spread too thin. We have welcomed the world to come here for many years. Many of our major cities are beyond recognition, as thousands of internationals have become a major presence in our country. They need money, medical care, housing and on and on. In the meantime we have hungry Veterans and homeless Americans sleeping in cars, under bridges and in city parks. I see it all the time and it's not pretty.
I understand life is not pretty in Syria or many other places on the planet. We cannot fix them all. ISIS is a threat to America and destroying their oil refineries, bridges, communication abilities and airports is something we can do from the sky. That doesn't require military bases and thousands of troops stationed in Syria. Plus, we can't kill them all. There is not a silver bullet that will eliminate the entire ISIS cell groups scattered in Syria and now in other parts of the Middle East.
Please President Trump, do not put our troops on the ground in Syria. We don't want to lose another thousand American lives, spend another trillion dollars and try to police another nation that we will later have to rebuild.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of eleven books.
He is read in all fifty states. Visit www.glennmollette.com
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, President Donald Trump signed a measure, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate, to overturn the “stream buffer rule,” an anti-coal regulation that President Obama filed in the final days of his term.
Senator McConnell was joined by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 28 of their colleagues in filing the resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) in the Senate. The companion resolution, which was first passed by the House, passed the Senate with bipartisan support on February 2, 2017.
Senator McConnell said, “The Obama Administration’s Stream Buffer rule was an attack against coal miners and their families. In my home state of Kentucky, the Stream Buffer Rule would have threatened coal jobs and caused major damage to communities. The legislation the President signed today will stop this disastrous rule and bring relief to coal miners and their families. I am grateful for President Trump’s support, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to protect coal families and communities.”
Providing relief from this regulation — and the many others that have targeted coal workers – has long been a top priority for Senator McConnell and one of the goals he outlined in a letter to President Trump earlier this year.