• On Saturday morning, the Marion County Farm Bureau hosted its annual legislative breakfast. This has become a tradition on the last Saturday in January, and it’s one that more people should attend.
    Here’s a few thoughts after eating one (or two) too many doughnuts.
    • Obviously, this is an opportunity for local Farm Bureau members to share their concerns with our state legislators, and for the legislators to share their thoughts on the General Assembly.

  • By G.B. Dixon

    Arts columnist

  • After a three-week adjournment, the 2015 General Assembly convenes this week on Feb. 3 and will go through March 24 if all goes as planned. During the adjournment, I have had a great time visiting many of our schools and teaching about our legislative process and government. Last week, I joined the other members of the Kentucky Public Pension Oversight Board and heard reports from the Kentucky Retirement System and Kentucky Teacher Retirement System representatives on investment performance.

  • The argument for enacting an indoor smoke-free law in Kentucky is simple: Everyone has the right to breathe smoke-free air.
    I would hope even smokers would agree.

  • Smoke-Free Kentucky is making another push for a law to prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars. This time, I should hope the legislation will pass and Governor Steve Beshear will sign it.
    By now, we’ve heard the arguments against the law - tobacco is a legal product, businesses should be allowed to decide if they will or won't allow smoking. We also understand why people who rely on tobacco to make a living might be concerned about this kind of law.

  • Late last week, Kentucky lost one of its true statesmen with the passing of former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford.
    Since then, there have been numerous accolades about his many accomplishments in Washington, D.C. – from helping to write and pass the Family and Medical Leave Act to promoting Kentucky’s signature coal and tobacco industries – but it is worth noting that several actions taken during his time as governor continue to benefit Kentuckians today.

  • Greetings from Frankfort. After a busy and very productive first week of the session, we are in adjournment until Feb. 3. Yet, we still have much work to do. The last date for new bills is Feb. 13, and that means that we are working to see what legislation needs priority and how to move forward efficiently. I have been traveling to Frankfort and meeting with the other leaders to prepare.

  • There may only be 30 working days in this year’s legislative session, but it already seems like there are about twice as many major issues needing to be addressed before the General Assembly wraps up its work in late March.
    Because the state operates under a two-year budget, and our constitution therefore requires larger majorities in the House and Senate to “open it up” in odd-numbered years, few of the bills filed have a significant financial impact.
    Even so, that does not lessen the importance of those that may become law.

  • By Sherman Bowman

    The Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board and the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail are pleased to announce a new training program to help both job seekers and employers in one of our region’s most promising job sectors – advanced manufacturing.
    Through a grant-funded initiative, called Kentucky Career Center Get Opportunity (KCCGO), we’ve developed intensive, no-cost training to help up to 90 job seekers start or re-enter their career in manufacturing.

  • I don’t know about you, but my mind has been consumed with “bad news” lately.
    So, if I may, I’m going to lighten the mood for a bit.
    I want to tell you a story about a fish named “Dempsey.”
    Dempsey is no ordinary fish.
    For starters, he’s a parrot cichlid, and his ancestors were first created in Taiwan around 1986.
    He’s “manmade” so to speak.

  • The Kentucky General Assembly convened its 2015 Regular Session this week, with more than 200 bills already filed and ready for consideration.
    In many years past, the first week of this off-year “short” session was spent mainly on formalities like electing leaders and appointing committees, with the real work of passing bills beginning in February. But with only 30 days to accomplish so much, I’m proud to say the Senate got down to business passing legislation.

  • Although legislative sessions in odd-numbered years are relatively new in Kentucky – the first was held in 2001 – the General Assembly has long met during the first full week of January in these years to elect House and Senate leaders and update committee assignments.
    While the top four leaders in both chambers remained the same last week, there were some changes in the other leadership positions; in fact, nine of the 16 House and Senate leaders are new.

  • The Courier-Journal

    It’s a new year for Kentucky college students, bringing new pressure to pay for the fast-rising costs of higher education in this state.
    The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA, that students attending or planning to attend college must complete in order to get federal and state financial aid for the coming academic year.

  • MLK march, celebration Jan. 18
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an instrument used by God to bring honor and dignity back to the United States of America by changing the face of society. No longer should we strive for the survival of the fittest but for the brotherly love that God ordained humanity to obtain. Slavery is a sport on America's history, and thanks to the courage and self-sacrifice of Dr. King and the many others who fought long and hard for the civil rights of all people, that spot is now a smudge.

  • As states look for ways to improve their quality of life, the first thing they usually do is see how well they stack up with the rest of the country.

  • With a new year just beginning, it's a good time to remind everyone to be careful on the roads.
    That is never truer than when emergency vehicles are trying to reach a scene. Anyone who has been in a car has been on the road when the flashing lights have appeared and sirens have been sounded.
    Unfortunately, too many of us fail to do what we should to help those emergency vehicles. That means pulling over as close to parallel as possible to the edge or curb of the road, per Chapter 189.930(a) of the Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter.

  • By Jim Skees

    Finding the right talent to fill available jobs is a top concern for more and more business leaders. In fact, many employers ready to expand or relocate say a competitive workforce weighs heavier in their location decision than the availability of shovel-ready sites.
    While every job requires its own specific skills and knowledge, existing and potential employers alike seek candidates with proven workplace skills – the basics that demonstrate a candidate can solve problems and succeed.

  • By Courier-Journal

    It looks as though the General Assembly might actually pass a statewide law to make public places smoke-free in Kentucky in 2015.
    The public supports it. And in a state with the nation's highest rate of smoking, that's significant.
    A January 2014 poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that 65 percent of the state's adults favor a state law to ban smoking indoors at public places such as government buildings, stores, restaurants and offices.

  • It’s time again for members of the Kentucky General Assembly to meet for a 30-day “short” session.
    I have provided a survey covering important topics the General Assembly may consider during the 2014 Session. Please take the time to review it, answer the questions, and return it to:
    Senator Jimmy Higdon
    242 Capital Annex
    702 Capitol Ave.
    Frankfort, KY 40601

  • All too often we remember the bad news first, and there was plenty of that in 2014.
    Fatal car wrecks, a drowning, and cancer all took away loved ones from our community during the past year, and a fatal shooting marred the holiday season.
    The community certainly expressed its displeasure with decisions by school officials, although there was good news in education as well. Marion County Public Schools were named a proficient district, and the high school reported record-high ACT scores.