KY: SENATOR STAN HUMPHRIES’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of Senator Stan Humphries

For Immediate Release
February 5, 2016
Contact: John Cox
859-492-2963

John.Cox@LRC.KY.GOV

SENATOR STAN HUMPHRIES’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

FRANKFORT – The fifth week of the 2016 General Assembly was a time to reflect on the giants that have served before us in the Kentucky State Senate while keeping a focus on the task at hand – being fiscal stewards of tax dollars while navigating the state through an ever-changing world.

The contemplation was prompted by the death of former State Senator Georgia Davis Powers, who laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday. What she was able to accomplish in her 92 years of life is a reminder that no matter how slow and deliberate the legislative process can seem, great ideas can – and will – triumph.

Senate Bill (SB) 4 was the first pro-life bill to pass both chambers in over a decade. Senate Bill 4 would require a woman to consult with a doctor either face-to-face or by video-conference at least 24 hours prior to going forward with an abortion procedure. After the bill received concurrence in the Senate Tuesday, it was immediately delivered to Governor Bevin’s office by a large delegation of our Senate members. The Governor signed the bill on the spot, further promoting our efforts to protect the rights of the unborn.

Also passing this week in the Senate was SB 7 which is aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood. I am pleased to say it passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Other bills advancing to the House of Representatives after passing the Senate include:

· Dubbed the “Jailers with No Jails Act,” Senate Bill 96 would require fiscal courts in counties with no jails to annually pass ordinances that outline the responsibility of their county jailer. The bill would also require jailers to submit to the same fiscal courts a summary of all official duties performed, including information related to inmate transport. The sponsor of SB 96 said he filed it in response to media reports of a few county jailers in counties with no jails drawing salaries “not commensurate” to their duties.

· Pension reorganization legislation, given the designation of Senate Bill 2, was the result of the two years’ worth of work by the Public Pension Oversight Board. Senate Bill 2 would make state retirement systems’ transactions more transparent, hold the systems accountable when contracting out services, and require that pension trustees have actual investment experience. The sponsor said SB 2 is another attempt to provide senators insight into the systems so they can provide appropriate oversight.

· In response to the prohibition of scripture readings in a public school’s stage adaptation of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Senate Bill 15 is meant to strengthen the expression of religious or political viewpoints in public schools and public postsecondary institutions. Senate Bill 15 would set forth in statute what some protected activities for students are by enumerating the rights of students to express religious and political viewpoints in public. That would include homework, artwork, speeches, and religious messages on items of clothing. Senate Bill 15 would also enumerate the rights of religious student groups to access school facilities after hours for meetings and to use school-produced media to announce such meetings.

Since we are just over one-third through the session, an increasingly greater amount of our time will be spent on budgetary issues. You can stay up-to-date on the budget negotiations and other legislative actions throughout the session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free bill status line at 866-840-2835. For committee meeting schedules, please call the LRC toll-free meeting information line at 800-633-9650. To comment on a bill, please call the toll-free legislative message line at 800-372-7181.

You can write to me anytime at my legislative office at 702 Capitol Avenue, Room 209, Frankfort, KY 40601. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Note:  Senator Stan Humphries (R-Cadiz) represents the 1st Senate District including Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon and Trigg counties. For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Humphries, please visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/senate38.htm

    LINK TO ALL BILLS IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION 16RS

    We, the people of America, demand reform of ; Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children

    Among Bevin’s campaign pledges was that he would reform the cabinet’s social services agency.

    By:  Robin Rider-Osborne·Sunday, January 31, 2016

    KENTUCKY REPRESENTATIVE EMAIL ADDRESSES AND ANNOUNCEMENT LETTER / ALL STATE PARTICIPATION. Copy and paste letter to email addresses listed below; Bulk email dump at bottom of page for one letter bulk sending.

    We, the people of America, demand reform of ; Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children & Family Law courtrooms. I request of your office the following;

    1. Implement removal of Abusers, not children from Family units.

    2. Remove Immunity for Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children workers.

    3. Restructure Family Law court into budget cutting mediation forums of two party negotiations.

    4. Redirect Family Law Criminal allegations into Criminal court.

    5. Restrict Judges and various interpretations of Family Law codes to abuse either party.

    6. End Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children abuse and Family Law abuse against the people of Kentucky. We demand an end to wasteful spending on agencies devastating families financially.

    7 Allow a Jury trial in Termination of Parental Rights Cases

    8. Amend or repeal that law that allows for children being removed due to disability and termination of rights without working towards reunification.

    9. Release records upon request without redaction and revamp the Ombudsman to process the complaints in a timely and proper manner.

    10. Revamp Foster Care Review boards as originally spelled out in CAPTA.

    I cite the cases of ;

    Pike Co. Circuit Judge Steve Combs DUI,

    Garrard Co. Judge Ronnie Lane Drug trafficking,

    Russell Co. Judge R. Maricle illegally distributing prescription drugs,

    Judge Charles Huffman Extortion,

    Russell Co. Judge Executive Kent Clark, Alcohol related charges,

    Judge Executive Joe Grieshop charged with third-degree burglary; theft of items valued at over $10,000; 10 counts of retaliating against participants in a legal process; and one count of official misconduct,

    Knox Co. Judge executive Raymond Smith(deceased)Attempted murder of Robin Smith, Murder of Mychael Smith and Micheal Smith,

    Warren Co. Judge Margaret Huddleston DUI,

    Marshall Co. Judge Executive Mike Miller, False entry/unauthorized act, .

    This partial list of neglect of office, unethical professional conduct and evidence of failure within the Judicial branch of Kentucky. We strongly oppose Judges overseeing Families in crisis in the Family law division.

    I cite the case of the failure of Kentucky Cabinet of Families and Children in protecting a nine year old, Amy from her adoptive siblings, known to have history in sexual abuse and undisclosed by the KCFC prior to the adoption. Problems were reported to indicate the adoptive parent, Kimberly Dye desire to ‘return’ the adopted girl shortly before her death This was an enormous failure of several to ignore all the warning signs of this broken adoptive home. While we acknowledge review and actions were taken as the result of the death of this girl, we feel more can be done to insure the safety of children seized and accountability by this agency.

    We know there is rampant corruption in the government offices of Child services and Family law. This is a national epidemic of criminal activity within the programs, courtrooms and agencies that are bankrupting the American Families. We demand reform and strict laws on government seats of power placed with the power of office to seize children, financially destroy individuals, and racketeering to conceal internal corruption within our state and federal offices.

    End legal abuse by Judges and Lawyers by instituting forums for successful dissolution/custody between spouses with guidelines without ruling Judges or lawyers. Enforce penalty of perjury, redirect criminal actions in Family Law to the Criminal courts. Remove immunity for Judges operating outside the rule of law. Reform Child services to an efficient team of child crime investigators and not our out dated model of Child protective services.

    We, the people, unite and demand reform of CPS agencies and Family Law practices. We, the people, take back our rights to protect our children and families.

    Robin Rider-Osborne can be contacted at:

    Citizens Investigating the “Runaway Cabinet of Kentucky” Task Force

    and by email to:  MercedesMcSweeney@gmail.com

    Thank You for your attention in this matter!

    EMAIL LINKS (EMAIL BULK DUMP AT BOTTOM OF PAGE / WINDOWS LINK EMAILS BELOW SITE LINKS. COPY /CUT PASTE LETTER BODY INTO EACH EMAIL LINK. NOT ALL REPRESENTATIVES PROVIDE EMAIL ADDRESSES.

    BULK EMAIL DUMP / ONE SENDER; ONE EMAIL

    Julian.Carroll@lrc.ky.gov;Bob.DeWeese@lrc.ky.gov;Ron.Crimm@lrc.ky.gov;Robert.Damron@lrc.ky.gov;Jim.DeCesare@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.McKee@lrc.ky.gov;MaryLou.Marzian@lrc.ky.gov;Jimmie.Lee@lrc.ky.gov; Jeff.Greer@lrc.ky.gov; Keith.Hall@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Glenn@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Gooch@lrc.ky.gov; Arnold.Simpson@lrc.ky.gov; Sal.Santoro@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.Riner@lrc.ky.gov; Marie.Rader@lrc.ky.gov; Rick.Rand@lrc.ky.gov; Tim.Moore@lrc.ky.gov; Richard.Heath@lrc.ky.gov; Richard.Henderson@lrc.ky.gov; Rick.Nelson@lrc.ky.gov; Charlie.Miller@lrc.ky.gov; Terry.Mills@lrc.ky.gov; Thomas.Kerr@lrc.ky.gov; kim.king@lrc.ky.gov; MarthaJane.King@lrc.ky.gov; Adam.Koenig@lrc.ky.gov; David.Osborne@lrc.ky.gov; RuthAnn.Palumbo@lrc.ky.gov; Joni.Jenkins@lrc.ky.gov; james.kay@lrc.ky.gov; sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov; Jeff.Hoover@lrc.ky.gov; Dennis.Horlander@lrc.ky.gov; Jody.Richards@lrc.ky.gov; jill.york@lrc.ky.gov; Jimmy.Higdon@lrc.ky.gov; sara.gregory@lrc.ky.gov; Johnny.Bell@lrc.ky.gov; Kevin.Bratcher@lrc.ky.gov; Regina.Bunch@lrc.ky.gov; Robin.Webb@lrc.ky.gov; Robert.Stivers@lrc.ky.gov; Kevin.Bratcher@lrc.ky.gov; Regina.Bunch@lrc.ky.gov; Tom.Burch@lrc.ky.gov; Dan.Seum@lrc.ky.gov; Joe.Fischer@lrc.ky.gov; Kelly.Flood@lrc.ky.gov; Morgan.McGarvey@lrc.ky.gov; Alice.Kerr@lrc.ky.gov; Bob.Leeper@lrc.ky.gov; Brent.Yonts@lrc.ky.gov; Susan.Westrom@lrc.ky.gov; David.Watkins@lrc.ky.gov; Jim.Stewart@lrc.ky.gov; Tommy.Thompson@lrc.ky.gov; John.Tilley@lrc.ky.gov; Tommy.Turner@lrc.ky.gov; Myron.Dossett@lrc.ky.gov; Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov; Dwight.Butler@lrc.ky.gov; John.Carney@lrc.ky.gov; Larry.Clark@lrc.ky.gov; Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov

    This issue was submitted by Robin Rider-Osborne, Lexington, KY.

    This Week at the State Capitol

    January 25-29, 2016

    FRANKFORT — Getting our financial house in order.

    That was a theme Gov. Matt Bevin returned to several times as he gave his first budget address on Tuesday night during a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

    The governor’s State of the Commonwealth Budget Address unveiled a two-year spending plan that calls for 9 percent cuts across state government with the much of the savings aimed at helping state pension systems meet obligations.

    In addition to the proposed 9 percent cuts over the next two fiscal years, the governor also announced 4.5 percent budget cuts for the final half of the current fiscal year.

    Not all parts of state government would be hit by cuts under the governor’s spending plan. The main school funding formula, known as SEEK, is spared. So is Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, school district health insurance, student financial aid and more.

    While budget cuts would be widespread, the governor’s spending plan calls for increased spending for some front-line public servants including the Kentucky State Police and other peace officers, social workers, public defenders, correctional officers and others.

    Now that the governor has delivered his spending plan, it’s time for lawmakers to take the proposal apart and reassemble it in a manner they are satisfied with. The state budget bill is currently in the House, where budget subcommittees will dig into all parts of the budget in the weeks to come. Once the House approves a spending plan, it will be the Senate’s turn. By session’s end, Senate and House members are expected to meet in conference committee meetings to iron out differences in each chamber’s preferred spending plans. With the 2016 session scheduled to adjourn on April 12, there’s much work to do in the time available.

    As lawmakers focused on budget issues this week, they also continued moving a number of bills through the legislative process, including legislation on the following topics:

    Informed Consent. A consultation between a woman seeking an abortion and a health care provider would have to occur during an in-person meeting or through real-time video conferencing under the version of Senate Bill 4 approved by the House this week. The version of the bill approved by the Senate last week called for in-person consultations but did not provide the videoconferencing option. Information is already legally required to be provided to women seeking abortions 24 hours before the procedure, but currently the info is sometimes delivered over the phone rather than in person. Senate Bill 4 has returned to the Senate for consideration of the House changes to the legislation.

    CPR. A bill that would require public high school students to learn CPR passed the state Senate this week. Senate Bill 33 as amended would require CPR be taught in physical education, health or junior ROTC classes in either ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th grade. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.

    Minimum wage. The state’s minimum hourly wage would be raised to $10.10 over the next two and half years under a bill that cleared a House committee this week and is now awaiting consideration by the full House. House Bill 278 would increase Kentucky’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $8.20 this August, $9.15 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018. The increase would not apply to businesses that have a recent average annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000.

    Concealed carry. Senate Joint Resolution 36 urges Virginia, which borders Eastern Kentucky, to restore a so-called reciprocal agreement that allowed Kentucky concealed carry permit holders to legally carry a concealed firearm in Virginia. The legislation was approved in the Senate this week and has been sent to the House for consideration.

    Infant protection. Parents of newborns would have up to 30 days to surrender their baby at a state-approved safe place without facing criminal charges under legislation approved by the House this week. Current law gives parents 72 hours after a child is born to leave the baby at a hospital, police or fire station or with emergency medical services personnel if they feel unable to care for the child. House Bill 97 would expand that to 30 days and add churches or other places of worship to the list of approved safe places where a child could be surrendered. Parents would not face charges for surrendering the baby as long as the child is not injured. The bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

    Feedback on the issues under consideration can be shared with lawmakers by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 800-372-7181.

    Kentucky to potientially become buds with bud

    Posted by Julia Dake | Jan 28, 2016

    Julia Dake, Staff Writer

    No pun intended, but I think it’s high time weed became legalized in Kentucky.

    Marijuana legalization has made some significant headway over the past few years, now legal for recreational use in four states and medicinal use in 25. Pretty soon another state, namely Kentucky, could be added to the list, either for medicinal and recreational use.

    The Cannabis Freedom Act, a bill filed by state Senator Perry B. Clark of Louisville, would repeal Kentucky’s current ban on marijuana and legalize sales to people 21 and over, while those under age 21 could use it with a doctor’s prescription.

    Taxes generated from the sale of marijuana would go toward a variety of government programs, including need-based scholarships to Kentucky students pursuing a college degrees. These taxes would also generate revenue for Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK), which provides money for Kentucky’s school districts and grants to police departments to purchase gear.

    In addition to the fact that we live in the 21st century, the tax revenue would greatly benefit Kentucky students seeking a college education. Tuition costs rise every year, putting college out of reach for some, and further stressing those already enrolled. So given the chance to alleviate some of the financial burden on students, why are some legislators so hesitant?

    Legalizing weed would also promote tourism in Kentucky, seeing that we would be the first state on the Eastern seaboard where recreational marijuana would be legal. This would become an added incentive for people visiting our state, and would help the hospitality and tourism industries flourish. Not to mention, the state is ideally suited to grow marijuana. We used to be one of the top hemp producing states, which suggests that we just might be a pretty good at growing its more heady cousin.

    Critics of marijuana legalization argue that not enough research has been done and that legalization could lead to the potential for marijuana monopolies, making it difficult to regulate. While these are valid concerns, proponents of the Cannabis Freedom Act have added clauses that would create a three-tier system, preventing any one entity from monopolizing all the facets of marijuana cultivation and sales. Senator Clark insists that marijuana would be regulated exactly like alcohol is, requiring an ID to purchase through licensed dealers.

    The bottom line is Kentuckians are using marijuana every day and a lot of money is changing hands. So why not set it up so a portion of that money goes to help the state?

    CONTINUE READING…

    Donors flocked to Matt Bevin after he won election

    Republican Gov. Matt Bevin delivers his budget before a joint legislative session in the House Chambers at the Kentucky State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Frankfort, Ky. Bevin’s first budget won’t take effect until July 1, but the new governor is not waiting to slash government spending.

    Republican Gov. Matt Bevin delivers his budget before a joint legislative session in the House Chambers at the Kentucky State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Frankfort, Ky. Bevin’s first budget won’t take effect until July 1, but the new governor is not waiting to slash government spending. Timothy D. Easley Associated Press

    By John Cheves

    jcheves@herald-leader.com

    Frankfort

    Gov. Matt Bevin’s 2015 campaign collected more than $115,000 after he was elected, allowing about 150 donors — including Frankfort lobbyists, state employees, coal executives and business owners with an interest in state government — to help him pay off his creditors. Many wrote $1,000 checks during Bevin’s first month as governor.

    Some are recent converts, having financially backed Democratic nominee Jack Conway in last year’s general election, or Republican candidate James Comer in the GOP primary. Once the ballots were counted Nov. 3, they wrote their first checks to Bevin, the new Republican governor.

    “What can I say about this?” said Mason Routt of Versailles, chief executive of CAL Laboratory Services. Routt gave $2,000 to Conway before the election. On Nov. 16, he and his wife gave $2,000 to Bevin. “In an effort to promote bipartisanship and show that we can all come together, we need to support he who is in office. How’s that?”

    The question now: Will the governor, with the power to award state contracts and appointments and regulate industries, ask donors to cover the $1.57 million he personally lent to his largely self-financed campaign? As of Jan. 2, that debt remained on the books.

    Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto declined to comment Thursday on the governor’s post-election campaign fundraising.

    Whatever fundraising Bevin does in coming months, it will happen privately. No longer in a gubernatorial election year, Bevin doesn’t have to file another finance report disclosing his donors until Nov. 11. His last filing — called a 60-day post-election report — was received Jan. 7, covering the first month of his administration.

    Typically, the 60-day post-election report is where a campaign puts its affairs in order and dissolves, said John Steffen, executive director of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. But Bevin’s campaign stayed active. It took in more than $10,000 on Dec. 30 alone, and it sent out final payments to campaign workers, pollsters, strategists and other creditors. Its biggest unfinished business now is Bevin’s outstanding personal loan.

    Steffen said Bevin doesn’t have to close his 2015 campaign committee unless he wants to raise money for a future run for office — say, for re-election in 2019 — which would require him to start fresh with a new committee.

    “His case is a little unusual,” Steffen said. If Bevin’s 2015 campaign continues to take money during 2016, “there will be a reporting gap there. But there is no provision in the law requiring him to report until November.”

    The idea that for the next 10 months we’re not going to know who is giving money to the state’s chief executive is just unacceptable.

    Richard Beliles, chairman of ethics watchdog Common Cause of Kentucky

    Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article57095013.html#storylink=cpy

    The state’s minimum hourly wage would be raised to $10.10 over the next two and half years under a bill that cleared a House committee today

    Please note: This is a revised version of a news release that was sent within the past hour. This version clarifies that the proposed minimum wage increase would not apply to businesses with annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000.

    For Immediate Release

    January 28, 2016

    State minimum wage increase proposal moves to House floor

    FRANKFORT—The state’s minimum hourly wage would be raised to $10.10 over the next two and half years under a bill that cleared a House committee today.

    House Bill 278, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would increase Kentucky’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $8.20 this August, $9.15 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018. The increase would not apply to businesses that have a recent average annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000.

    Stumbo said HB 278, if passed into law, would put an extra $2,000 or so a year into the pockets of Kentucky minimum wage workers. Those workers now earn around $15,000 annually for full-time work, he said.

    “Can you live on that? I don’t think so,” the Speaker said to House Labor and Industry Committee members. The bill also includes language prohibiting wage discrimination based on race, gender, or national origin.

    Kentucky’s current minimum wage, which mirrors the federal minimum wage, has not increased since 2009. That increase was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2007. Only Louisville and Lexington have approved a minimum wage above the state rate.

    Twenty nine states and Washington D.C. now have a minimum wage above Kentucky’s minimum wage and the federal minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Lawmakers voicing concerns with HB 278 included Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Eastwood, who said some surrounding states, including Virginia and Indiana, have the same minimum wage rate as Kentucky. Miller expressed concern that companies may move their business across the border if a Kentucky minimum wage increase were passed.

    “The market’s the best way to raise wages,” said Miller.

    Representatives from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Retail Federation and the Kentucky office of the National Federation of Independent Business also spoke in opposition to the bill.

    Stumbo responded that 13 states have raised their minimum wage since 2014 and the unemployment rate in every one of those states has fallen in the past year and half.

    HB 278 now goes to the full House for consideration.

    -END-

    Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky

     

    https://i0.wp.com/static.lakana.com/nxsglobal/tristatehomepage/photo/2016/01/27/5bdff8866c6a426bad10f0c8540e3323_6711047_ver1.0.jpg

     

    Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky.

    That’s according to the committee’s chairman who’s handling the proposal. So what about the state’s hemp pilot program?

    Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was in Owensboro Wednesday. He says he expects 200 farmers to plant more than 4,000 acres this year.

    That’s 4 times as much as in 2015.
    Former Agriculture Commissioner James Comer started the program last year.  Quarles says officials are encouraging more local companies to use hemp grown in the Commonwealth –

    “There are car manufacturers in Kentucky who use plant products similar to industrial hemp, but we’re hoping to pitch them on the idea of using Kentucky grown industrial hemp, not just for the manufacturing industry, but also other manufacturers across the state as well.”

    More than 100 farmers participated last year and twice as many are expected this year.  Kentucky is one of several states with a hemp pilot program.

    CONTINUE READING…

    KY: Resolution urges Virginia to recognize concealed carry law

    News Release

    January 27, 2016

    Resolution urges Virginia to recognize concealed carry law

    FRANKFORT – Leaders from both parties came together on the Senate floor today to condemn Virginia’s recent decision to stop recognizing Kentucky concealed carry permits by passing a joint resolution condemning the move.

    Senate Joint Resolution 36 urges Virginia, which borders Eastern Kentucky, to restore a so-called reciprocal agreement that allowed Kentucky concealed carry permit holders to legally carry a concealed firearm in Virginia. The resolution passed by a by a 37-1 vote.

    “The governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the attorney general have arbitrarily and unilaterally made a determination that the Commonwealth of Virginia would no longer recognize Kentucky’s concealed carry permits,” said Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II of Pikeville. “Now, this is a significant problem for Kentuckians, particularly those of us from Eastern Kentucky who, when we travel south, have to travel through the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

    Republican Floor Leader Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown joined Jones as a primary sponsor of the resolution. Eighteen other senators were cosponsors.

    “Tens of thousands of Kentuckians, law-abiding citizens, have been trained and permitted to carry firearms for personal protection and defense of their family,” Jones said. “As we see so many mass shooting and terrorist attacks on American soil, I believe it is vitally important that Americans have the right to protect themselves, their families and their friends.”

    Jones, a licensed NRA firearms instructor, said Kentucky’s concealed carry law has been a model since its inception and that Kentucky concealed carry holders are not the ones committing mass shootings.

    “Gun violence is a problem in this country,” he said. “It is a horrific problem in this country … but the question is how do you address the violence. Do you address it by infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens? I don’t believe that is the answer.”

    SJR 36 now goes to the House for consideration.

    — END —

    Former Congressman Mike Ward pushing for medical marijuana in Kentucky

    Image result for mike ward kentucky

    01/25/2016 05:12 PM

    Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ward has formed a nonprofit group to advocate for medical marijuana in Kentucky.

    Ward, a Democrat from Louisville, will serve as the CEO of Legalize Kentucky Now, in an effort to convince state lawmakers to pass legislation making medical marijuana legal in the bluegrass state.

    In an interview with Pure Politics, Ward said medical marijuana is something that Kentucky should adopt and could be a leader on. Currently, 23 states have passed some form of medical marijuana legalization.

    “I think we just need to bring people together and explain the medical value of it,” Ward said. “And explain that you’ve got grandmothers getting their grandsons to go out and break the law, so that they can have an appetite or keep food down. This is not about pot heads.”

    The group Ward represents supports a bill which would require a medical prescription to access the drug.

    This session, Ward said the group could advocate one of two ways, either for a full plan for medical marijuana or a bill which simply adds marijuana to the list of substances available to be prescribed by a doctor — lawmakers would then have one year to figure out how to set up an industry.

    “My real delightful outcome from this session would be that either House … has a vote on the floor on the bill, and it doesn’t pass, but they vote on it, and then they don’t get beat,” Ward said. “And then they can say to their colleagues this didn’t get me beat at home or the people who vote against it say they get beat up on.”

    If Ward can show lawmakers that they don’t get beat at the ballot box for voting on this issue, then the real work of determining the industry could take shape in Frankfort.

    For Ward the issue is also a personal one. His brother illegally obtained and used marijuana in the hospital while battling AIDS. But he also admits the drug would generate tax revenue and jobs in the state of Kentucky.

    Watch the full interview with Ward below.

    CONTINUE READING…

    work together to end the death penalty in Kentucky!

    it is important that we all work together to end the death penalty in Kentucky by clicking here and taking action now.
    Senator Gerald Neal has filed Senate Bill 41 in the Senate which is a bill that repeals the death penalty and keeps in place all the other options currently available to jurors in capital cases, including life without the possibility of parole. Since the bill was filed several other Senators have added their names to the legislation by co-sponsoring SB 41: Senators Perry Clark, Denise Harper Angel, Julie Raque Adams andReggie Thomas.

    In the House State Rep. David Floyd filed House Bill 203 which will accomplish the same goal as the senate bill: end the death penalty and keep in place all the other possible punishments a jury may consider under the current law, including life without the possibility of parole. State Representative Darryl Owens and Arnold Simpson also signed on as co-sponsors of HB 203.

    A variety of voices have been raised calling for this change in the way Kentucky punishes certain violent offenders. Last November the Courier-Journal published articles by Allen Ault, Ben Griffith, David Floyd and Marc Hyden. These four writers – a former warden, a murder victim family member, a state legislator who sponsors an abolition bill in the House and a former NRA staff member who now organizes Conservatives Concerned about the death penalty – make cogent arguments for repeal. You can download what they have written as a package and give it to your state legislators. Click here to download all four articles.

    In talking to legislators it is important to point out that there is now clear bi-partisan support for repealing the death penalty in Kentucky. More and more Kentuckians – especially from a politically conservative perspective – are recognizing that we should not be trusting government with the taking of human life. Courts in Kentucky and at the federal level have rejected death sentences in more than 60% of the cases in which it was imposed because the defendants’ constitutional right to a fair trial were violated. Moreover, an error rate this egregious can only lead to instances where innocent defendants risk execution, as did Larry Osborne, a 17-year old defendant convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that our Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously declared was an unfair trial. The prosecutor and judge allowed hearsay testimony that put Larry Osborne on death row. The jury in his second trial found him not guilty.
    Now is time to take action and have an impact on ending the death penalty in Kentucky. Please contact your state legislators and ask for their support of SB 41 and HB 203. Click on the photo to send your message today.