• By Tom Eblen

    Lexington Herald-Leader


    Just when you thought Gov. Matt Bevin couldn’t stick his foot further into his mouth, he goes on the radio and lets loose a new blizzard of insults and nonsense.

    Appearing on WVLC radio in Campbellsville on March 13, Bevin went off on Kentucky teachers angry that he and Republican lawmakers want to cut billions from their retirement benefits.

  • As we approach the end of session, we continue to await Senate revisions to our House budget, which fully funds pensions and restores cuts proposed to public education. I expect us to receive the Senate’s proposed two-year budget very soon.

  • More than 23,000 more Kentucky youth who become smoke-free adults. Nearly 1,200 healthier newborns every year. One billion in long-term health care cost savings.

    Isn’t that worth a dollar more?

    Health advocates are calling for a $1 per pack increase in Kentucky’s state tax on cigarettes because it will reduce tobacco use, particularly among youth and pregnant women. Less smoking means healthier babies and youth and a significant reduction in the health care costs paid by taxpayers.

  • Kentuckian anti-fracking activist Chris Schimmoeller will speak before the United Nation’s 62nd Conference on the Status of Women and Girls as part of two panels on the anti-fracking movement. Schimmoeller was invited to speak by Beth Blissman, Loretto at the UN’s non-governmental representative. The conference will take place March 12-23 in New York City. 

  • Recently, I was on Facebook and I saw a post that a) really unsettled me and b) really got me thinking. This has been something on my mind a lot lately, and has begun to shape the way I police what I post, or if I even post at all on social media.

    Instant reactions, something we all seek, whether we like it or not. I want them, you want them, the person pumping gas next to you wants them. It’s unavoidable in this day and age, and if you don’t believe me, allow me to change your mind.

  • If you asked business leaders about the most important leadership skill, no doubt you would receive as many answers as the number of leaders you asked. Some might say it is setting rules and insisting they be kept. That’s authoritative leadership. Others might say it’s learning to build an influential model where your employees feel respected and are subsequently more committed to the job at hand.

  • People that are mentally ill do not become mentally ill over night. Mental illness happens over time. Some people are angry, some are frustrated, some want revenge, some feel everyone is against them, some are suicidal. A person with mental illness is all the above. The military type gun is the biggest ingredient in a person with mental illness thinking his only way out is to kill a lot of people.

  • Here’s a statistic that can give you nightmares: Emergency departments in Kentucky saw a 266 percent increase in heroin overdoses between 2013-16, according to data from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

    The opioid epidemic is destroying families and being felt in real ways in workplaces, emergency rooms and, all too often, funeral homes. 

  • "Solutions to problems are simple, when viewed from their ludicrous extremes" ... when the Constitution was crafted the only long guns were single shot muzzle loaders ... it took an expert 30 seconds to reload ... and by the seventh round, the barrel would likely tighten and it wouldn't be possible to shoot another round. THAT is the weapon that our forefathers envisioned when drafting the Second amendment in 1791.

  • I am not going to tell you about the need for gun control. I am going to tell you how much campaign cash the following Republican senators have received from the NRA:

    John McCain, Arizona: $7,740,521

    Richard Burr, North Carolina: $6,986,620

    Roy Blount, Missouri: $4,551,146

    Thom Tillis, North Carolina: $4,418,012

    Cory Gardner, Colorado: $3,879,064

  • By the first day of March, the House of Representatives had adopted a budget. While this is a historic first during my time in the General Assembly, it is not the only one we saw in the past week.

  • What are the root causes of adolescent suicide, drug abuse, violence, school shootings, bullying, depression, teen pregnancy and risky sexual behaviors?  

    We frequently approach these problems as separate and distinct, occupying their own silo. The truth is they often have their origin from the same basket of maladies with related initiating factors.

  • Sometimes the golden years of retirement aren’t so golden. Visions of a stable post-work life are soon forgotten, only to be replaced by declining health, disabilities, and a fixed income. Dreams of traveling to new places are replaced by frequent trips to doctor’s appointments. Adventure is found in the form of stretching a limited budget until the next monthly check arrives. The decision whether to eat or pay for medicine or utilities becomes a daily dilemma for many over the age of 60. 

  • “Be kind.”

    Those are the last two words I say to my son when I drop him off at school in the mornings.

    After I’ve asked him for the third time if he finished his homework and if he remembered to put on deodorant, I tell him to have a good day, that I love him and to “be kind.”

    It’s the No. 1 expectation I have for him. 

    He doesn’t have to be the smartest student.

  • When State Rep. Chris Harris decided last week to back some gun regulations following the school shootings in Benton, Kentucky, and Parkland, Florida, he expected some feedback. 

    But, wow. 

    In the days since I wrote about the longtime NRA supporter who signed onto a bill that would seek to keep guns used in violent crimes from going back on the streets, Harris has been inundated. 

    Some of the responses good. Some of them bad. 

  • You had a son or daughter who served a tour of duty in the military. He came home after their tour safe from any harm. Your school-aged child did not survive his school years. He was shot and killed in the sixth grade. This is what we’re seeing today.

    The only way these types of killings will be stopped is by gun laws. The manufacturing of military type guns needs to be outlawed. All of these types of guns in the hands of persons other than law enforcement need to, by law, be turned in.

  • When we think about the economic health of the Lincoln Trail region, it’s clear our eight-county area has a lot going for it. 

    We’re seeing investments from both new companies and businesses already operating in our communities. Our entrepreneurial culture has led to many successful start-ups. Employers in a wide array of industries are now hiring. And thanks to attributes such as our logistics-friendly location and business-friendly climate, our economic forecast is just as bright. 

  • It has been a busy week in our state capitol. From continuing work to craft a budget, presenting bills before committees, and the release of a pension reform measure, there has been no shortage of activity.

  • Putting guns in the hands of teachers is not the answer to enhancing school safety.
    The idea routinely pops up on social media comments following a mass shooting at a school such as what happened in Marshall County High School last month or Parkland, Florida last week.
    People voicing their opinions on social media is one thing, though. It is a completely different issue for lawmakers to seriously consider allowing teachers to go armed.