Just one man’s opinion

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By Stephen Lega

State Sen. Jimmy Higdon has submitted a survey seeking input from his constituents on a variety of issues that may come up during the next General Assembly.
Higdon’s survey can be found elsewhere on this page. What you’ll see below are my views on those issues.
1. Do you support pro-life legislation?
No. I’m assuming “pro-life” is a reference to legislation that would make abortion illegal. This decision should be between a woman and her doctor, although for her sake, I certainly hope she has a support system she can rely on to help her make that decision.
2. Should we eliminate the death penalty in Kentucky?
Yes, from a strictly fiscal standpoint, life in prison without parole is less expensive than the repeated appeals necessary before an execution can be carried out. From a personal standpoint, people have been wrongly condemned to death before. If one of those people is executed, there is no way to even attempt to make it right.
3. Do you oppose the use of eminent domain by the Bluegrass Pipeline?
Yes. I oppose private companies forcibly taking land from citizens.
4. Do you support charter schools?
5. Do you support school vouchers?
No. As long as we have a public school system, then taxes collected for education should support those schools. If every school was a private school, then I might be OK with vouchers.
6. Do you support modernizing Kentucky’s tax code?
Undecided. Do I support making online retailers collect sales tax? Yes, but I’m assuming there is more to “modernizing” than that.
7. Should Kentucky pass legislation protecting against junk lawsuits?
Undecided, but I’m leaning toward no. I’ve seen plenty of stories about lawsuits (and this newspaper has been a defendant in a couple) that seemed ridiculous, but I don’t know how we would define a “junk” lawsuit in order to prevent them.
8. Do you support a constitutional amendment allowing casino gaming in Kentucky?
Yes. Please let citizens vote on this already.
9. Should Kentucky pass laws to create stiffer penalties for trafficking in heroin?
10. Should Kentucky pass legislation to allow voters in cities to pass a sales tax of as much as 1 percent to fund major local projects?
Undecided, but leaning toward yes. I suspect this is targeted more at Louisville and Lexington than Lebanon or Loretto.
11. Should Kentucky be a right-to-work state?
No. If someone does not want to join a union, then he or she can work at plenty of places where the workers are not unionized.
12. Do you support a prevailing wage?
Yes. People who work on public projects deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do.
13.  Do you support the Affordable Care Act?
Yes, but this is federal law.
14. Do you support Common Core?
Undecided, although I agree that every student across the United States should have an opportunity to receive a quality education.
15. Do you support the next generation science standards?
Yes. If schools are serious about college and career readiness, then they need to teach students basic scientific concepts.
16. Should Kentucky promote technology for cleaner burning coal?
Undecided. Coal will continue to play a role in energy production for a while, but part of me thinks it would be better long-term to invest in turning Kentucky into a model for renewable energy sources.
17. Do you support legislation requiring voters to present photo ID to vote?
No. This seems to be aimed at combating a virtually non-existent problem (voter fraud), especially since fewer than half of eligible voters even bother to do so.
18. Do you support legislation to legalize medical marijuana?
19. Do you support restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have completed the terms of their sentence? I would offer them a way to have their rights restored, which is already possible under state law.
20. Would you support legislation to expunge minor felony convictions after 10 years if no other violations have occurred?
21. Do you support a statewide smoking ban?
22. Any suggestions on any other legislation that should be passed or changed?
Not at this time.
Those are my answers. If you want to share your views with Sen. Higdon, then fill out the survey and mail it to:
Senator Jimmy Higdon
204 Capitol Annex Building Room 003
702 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601

Another education matter
Last week’s story about the Marion County Board of Education was missing something that board member Butch Cecil thinks is important.
As I was composing part of that story, I focused on the basics — that an audit was completed looking into the school activities funds (which are used to support student activities like sports, band and clubs) and that a committee would look closer into the findings. I initially included more of the conversation, but it seemed to detract from and confuse the main point when I was trying to put the final version together.
After speaking with Cecil last week, I think it’s only fair to point out that Cecil expressed opposition to the committee, even while other board members were supportive of the idea.
While Cecil is serving on the committee, he questioned whether it was needed during the Dec. 10 meeting. He also suggested leaving it up to the district’s finance officer and superintendent to find out more about the specific findings.