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Opinion

  • The State Senate dealt with a wide-ranging legislation this week addressing issues such as teaching the Bible in schools, cutting red-tape for businesses, reducing jail costs for counties, and helping severely emotionally-challenged children.

    The United States' legal system is based, in part, on the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Bible is a rich source of history, sociology, and literature. Senate Bill 142 requires the Department of Education to formulate guidelines for public schools to teach the Bible as an elective social studies course.

  • Last week, as House leaders continued working on the final details of a budget plan that should be ready soon for a vote, the spotlight fell on our Judiciary Committee.

    On Wednesday, it approved two bills that have gotten a lot of attention lately, and both deal with our younger citizens.

  • The window in the front hallway of Lebanon Middle School is covered with paper chains. Each chain contains a sentiment, a prayer or a wish for the well-being for the Haitian people.

    In light of the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in January, the LMS STLP and BETA clubs proposed selling the paper chains for a quarter each, according to Bethany Purdom, a student at LMS. Every quarter raised went toward the purchase of healthy mixes of rice and vegetables that could provide six meals per bag.

  • The lives of Kentucky veterans will improve thanks to legislation passed this session by the Kentucky House of Representatives.

  • Eight seconds.

    In the bull riding arena, that brief amount of time is considered the most dangerous in sports.

    But, in the basketball arena, it carries with it different meaning for me. It's the amount of time this self-professed benchwarmer played at the Sweet Sixteen in 1995 when the Lady Knights lost in the quarterfinals to Pulaski County.

  • We are now halfway through the 2010 General Assembly Session and while the House of Representatives continues to labor, as constitutionally required, on a budget proposal, the Senate's work, while on a smaller scale, is no less important. Both House and Senate Appropriations and Revenue chairmen are in close consultation so that when the House budget proposal is finalized and moves to the Senate, we can hit the ground running.

  • Since 1926, February has been deemed Black History Month. In this month, the world celebrates the lives, inventions, and accomplishments of black people. If I may be honest, it is a shame that it took the world so long to realize that people of color had brains and talent that exceeded dancing, singing and dunking a basketball.

  • I had considered calling this column "making sausage" because of something I heard years ago: that passing legislation is like making sausage since you don't really want to see how it's made.

    Although to be fair, I've heard the same analogy applied to putting together a newspaper.

  • Whether its officials meant for it to become this way or not, topix.com has become the source of countless complaints from people all over the country, including here in Marion County.

    From time to time, someone will call our office either demanding that we remove something from the discussion board or trying to find out how to do so.

  • As the snow and cold temperatures invaded Central Kentucky this week, I began my work as your state representative. I am excited to learn my way around the Capitol and meet all the people involved in the legislative process. I will update you regularly and keep all of you in my thoughts as I carry out my new responsibilities. Following is news from our work in Frankfort this week.

  • The Senate pushed for government transparency, expanded voter participation, and the protection of private property. I attended the Rally for Life at the Capitol on Wednesday where I spoke to 200 people gathered there to celebrate the sanctity of life. I also spoke at the United 874K Coalition rally which promoted services for the disabled. One of my personal highlights during every session is the Right to Life Rally. Ever since I came to Frankfort as a state representative and now as a senator, I have supported pro-life legislation.

  • It's been said that you have to spend money to make money.

    Maybe that's what the City of Lebanon and Marion County were thinking when they decided to join other cities, counties and states that have hired lobbyists in hopes of getting a leg up on the competition for state and federal funds.

  • The aging, lichen covered cherry tree defined my Kentucky property. It formed a boundary between lawn and hay field. It provided a shady sanctuary on hot summer days. It was a haven for birds, bees and butterflies. And since the day it fell, during the ice storm of January 2009, the huge old tree has defined my days.

    I have never experienced an event as devastating as "The Ice Storm". Neither the cherry tree nor I went down easily.

  • Sunday afternoon, a few emergency personnel from around Marion County gathered for the start of an internal "Biggest Loser" competition.

    Stephanie Thomas, an EMT, is in charge of the program, and she was clear why she and others wanted to do it. Although they see the results of poor health habits on a daily basis with the people they treat and transport, that hasn't meant they have adopted healthy habits of their own.

  • Saturday, April 24, is circled in big red ink on my calendar at work.

    Why? Because it's the day I'm scheduled to run my first mini-marathon - the Kentucky Derby mini-marathon - in Louisville.

  • With too much on my mind and not enough space to write in depth about anything, I've decided to "twitterize" this column with a short comment or two on issues that have caught my eye in the past week.   Here goes (tweet, tweet):

    Gov. Beshear is running the VLT flag up the pole once again. Not even all the hot air in Frankfort is likely to get it blowing much, however.

    Tax reform is needed in this state, but that flag isn't getting any wind either during this legislative session.

  • This week, the State Senate honored our veterans and worked to help our hospitals better treat stroke victims.  As we protect our freedoms at home, we also honor those who protect our freedoms abroad.  Senate Bill 29 is our annual attempt to help veterans who seek state employment. Under SB 29, those who qualify for veterans' preference points in our state merit system would be automatically offered an interview for the jobs they seek. If more than five people qualify for those interviews, the agency would have to interview at least five of them.

  • This week's legislative agenda was highlighted by two reform bills, one in education and the other regarding legislative pensions.  The first bill strongly positions Kentucky as we seek federal dollars for certain struggling schools.  The second bill helps close a loophole in the legislative pension system that has the potential to cost taxpayers millions of dollars. 

  • The earthquake that has devastated the capital city of Haiti is an unbelievably cruel disaster for a country that is already one of the poorest and neglected countries in the world. The thousands of lives that have been lost and the devastation that has been left behind are almost too mind-boggling to comprehend.

    But it's real.

    It may be thousands of miles away from us, but there is a simple way we can help the starving people of Haiti who, we might add, have been starving long before this disaster occurred.

  • The 2009 ice storm was, to say the least, an unpleasant experience.

    Many people had their electricity knocked out for hours, days and, for a few, weeks at a time.

    The storm limited how information could be communicated, knocking out the local radio and television broadcasting abilities.

    And the storm damaged our water supply, and for a short time, no running water was available in the county.