KCFC supports Samuel Gaskins in the 1st congressional district. He is a cannabis supporter and a friend of our board. Here’s his opponent, James Comers, stance on cannabis In Kentucky.
VOTE SAMUEL GASKINS!
Editor’s Note: Current charges of sexual harassment in KY’s legislature take top billing. But, wait, there’s more. (All outside links and emphases were added by me.)
For many years Kentucky has been known as perhaps the most politically corrupt state in the country. In 2015, a Harvard University study ranked Steve Beshear’s administration as the most corrupt state government in the country.
Shortly after the Bevin administration took over, two of Steve Beshear’s most trusted advisors were arrested, convicted and sent to prison by the FBI for bribery in a scheme to funnel kickbacks for no bid state contracts into Andy Beshear’s campaign for Attorney General.
An audit performed shortly after governor Bevin took office showed that Greg Stumbo and others funneled something like $56 million dollars from a fund to pay cost of living raises for police officers into the general fund in order to pay for their pork barrel projects. It appeared that the long time Democrat power base had grown increasingly corrupt.
Then, Governor Bevin and the Republican majorities in the house and Senate came to power. There was a new sheriff in town and we were promised that things were going to change. Unfortunately, it appears that the stench of corruption extends even into the Republican house leadership and beyond.
Sexual Harassment Cover-Up
Over the past several weeks, we have learned that Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other House Republicans settled a sexual harassment case out of court and then tried to cover it up. Governor Bevin was quick to call for the resignations of anyone involved in this scandal. The charges quickly led to Speaker Hoover stepping down from his position as House Speaker, but not from his elected office as state rep.
There are currently several investigations in the works.
- The FBI is conducting an investigation at the request of Rep Wesley Morgan (R).
- An eight person group made up of representatives led by Rep Phil Moffett (R) and Rep Tim Moore (R) are conducting their own investigation (albeit without the power to subpoena).
- A House Caucus investigation is also in progress with one of the controlling members being Rep Jonathan Shell (R), who is a strong friend and ally of Jeff Hoover.
- The House Caucus has also hired a legal firm (that they are paying for and overseeing) to look into the charges.
- This week, Democrat Rep Jim Wayne called for an ethics investigation into who paid for the harassment settlement.
From my understanding of the KRS, if the legislators involved did not pay for the settlement out of their own pockets, it could be chargeable as a class D felony.
The LRC immediately responded that they had not paid for the settlement.
Unfortunately, the ethics complaint will be investigated by the LRC. LRC personnel were involved in the sexual harassment settlement as complainants. I’ve met David Byerman of the LRC, and I believe that he is a good man. That being said, allowing the LRC to investigate itself concerning these ethics charges is tantamount to insanity.
Rumors (and I stress ONLY rumors!) are swirling that Jeff Hoover, Jonathan Shell and Congressman James Comer had been colluding to stall or kill Governor Bevin’s pension plan in order to make the governor look bad. Their plan (according to the rumors) was to have Congressman Comer ride in on a white horse next election season as the GOP’s savior and run against Governor Bevin in the Gubernatorial Primary.
From this CNN article: “US Rep. James Comer, who lost to Bevin in the 2015 primary by just 83 votes after a former girlfriend said that he struck her while they dated in college, is a close ally of Hoover as well. He has been considering a primary challenge to Bevin.”
The FBI may be involved in the investigation of the sexual harassment settlement because rumors have been flying that Congressman Comer may have been involved in trying to convince the women involved and others at the LRC to keep quiet about the settlement.
I hold out hope that the FBI and the eight person committee investigating these allegations will be able to get to the facts and put this issue to rest.
I have absolutely no confidence that Jonathan Shell and the House Caucus investigation (or their legal team) will get to the truth.
That’s like the fox investigating itself for raiding the hen house.
In the end, Republicans excoriated the Democrats for their corruption, yet some in the GOP are actually trying to defend those involved in this scandal.
The truth MUST come out and the Republican Party MUST clean up its own house if they EVER hope to regain the confidence of the Conservative voters in this state.
If all of these allegations get swept under the rug, the GOP is going to be hard pressed to hold onto its House and Senate majorities.
Worse yet, they will have lost the confidence of the citizens and voters who put them in office in the first place.
The Republicans must clean house and they must do it quickly. They must prove to all Kentuckians that unlike the Democrats, they are above the corruption. Its time for sanity and reality to return to Kentucky politics.
I’m suggesting that the Governor’s office appoint a completely independent investigator with the power to issue subpoenas, not beholding to the House, the Senate, the Governor’s office or the LRC, to conduct a thorough investigation into all of the charges and the ethics accusations.
Should additional Republicans and/or Democrats be discovered to be involved in the corruption, then they need to be exposed and charged as well.
We must restore credibility and honesty to Kentucky government.
Without this exposure to political sunlight, Kentucky may forever be doomed to be considered the most corrupt state government in the country. We are better than this.
The only question is, do our legislators and politicians have the political backbone to do what needs to be done?
Scott is the founder and manager of the United Kentucky Tea Party, a coalition of tea party leaders around the state.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is getting back into the private prison business.
State officials have signed a contract with CoreCivic to reopen the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville. The prison will house about 800 inmates currently housed at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange.
CoreCivic is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and was previously known as Corrections Corporation of America. It once operated three prisons in Kentucky. But state officials closed the last of its private prisons in 2013 following years of problems, including allegations of sexual abuse and a prison riot in 2004.
The contract will cost taxpayers about $16.8 million a year. Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley said that cost would be offset by the savings from closing much of the 80-year-old Kentucky State Reformatory.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Woody Maglinger
*Correction: The helpline will go live on Dec. 1, 2017.
Gov. Matt Bevin, Justice Cabinet and Operation UNITE Unveil New Drug Treatment Helpline
The KY Help Call Center will connect people with resources statewide
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2017) – The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and Operation UNITE are launching a new substance abuse call center that will connect people across the state with drug treatment, Gov. Matt Bevin announced today.
Beginning Dec. 1, Kentuckians struggling with a substance use disorder, either themselves or within their families, can call 1-833-8KY-HELP (1-833-859-4357) toll-free to speak with a specialist about treatment options and available resources. The specialist will conduct a brief screening assessment in order to connect callers with the most relevant treatment services as quickly as possible.
“This epidemic is gripping people in every corner of our state and every part of our society,” said Gov. Bevin. “If people don’t know about the ability to get help, then help is not going to be given to people. This phone number will connect callers to a live person who understands this exact issue and will link them to community resources that can help.”
Operation UNITE already fields about 1,000 inquiries each month from desperate residents seeking help with a substance use disorder. The new KY Help Call Center will provide referrals across the state to both public and private treatment providers.
Options will include everything from medication-assisted treatment to faith-based care, and the live specialist will help callers work through all the variables, such as location and cost.
“There are so many people across the commonwealth who have nowhere to turn when confronted with their own addiction or that of a loved one,” said Nancy Hale, President/CEO of Operation UNITE. “They are desperate for answers. They are desperate for help. This call center will guide people toward recovery. It will give them hope.”
The partnership with Operation UNITE is the latest initiative in the state’s “Don’t Let Them Die” campaign. Gov. Bevin unveiled that campaign earlier this year, encouraging all Kentuckians to take proactive steps to combat the lethal opioid crisis, which claimed more than 1,400 lives in 2016.
Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley said those in the grip of addiction often have brief moments of clarity when they are most receptive to help.
“We must seize on those rare opportunities to save lives,” Secretary Tilley said. “This call center brings us closer to on-demand treatment than ever before, and it allows callers to locate the resources that work best for them. The bottom line is that recovery happens, and I’m grateful that our state is leading the charge against this national pandemic.”
UNITE is staffing the KY Help Call Center with specialists in Prestonsburg, Ky., and the Kentucky Justice Cabinet is funding it through anti-drug appropriations in the current budget — approximately $500,000 per year for the next two years.
Callers can speak to a specialist from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday. During non-business hours, callers may leave a message and the call center staff will get back in touch with them.
We have a weed crisis in this country.
Weed needs to be legalized as soon as possible. Nationally, sure. But in Kentucky, a poor state with a pension crisis, there should be no hesitation in mining this (green) gold rush.
For the first time, real data proves that the weed industry is an emerging economic boon, and its social impacts are not what detractors would like you to believe.
A recent Washington Post article — real news — revealed the overwhelmingly positive economic impact the marijuana industry has had in Colorado, where weed was legalized and began selling commercially Jan. 1, 2014. According to the state-commissioned study by the Marijuana Policy Group, the industry generated $2.4 billion in economic activity in 2015, including the creation of 18,000 new, full-time jobs.
To be clear, this does not mean that Coloradans and weed-seeking tourists spent $2.4 billion of their money on weed.
That figure is the amalgamation of sales, increased demand for local goods and services, warehouse and commercial space and farming/growing equipment, as well as professional services, such as lawyers and accountants. In fact, the retail sale of pot in 2015 was reportedly close to $1 billion.
Legalization opponents like to demonize users as degenerate addicts wasting their rent money on marijuana. But the other significant finding was that “the legal marijuana industry is not coming from new, previously untapped demand for cannabis, but rather from a reduction of the unregulated black market.”
This is a tremendously important point because it disproves opponents who argue that America will become one big stoner state if they could get high legally.
Anecdotally, I’ve always known this to be true. I have friends who smoke, or have smoked in the past — or baked a weed treat. They vary in every way possible: age, race, sex, religion and political party affiliation.
My friends who don’t smoke aren’t potheads in waiting, either… It’s not that pot is illegal that deters them from getting high. In fact, they could smoke now if they wanted to — so could I, and so could you.
But I have no interest in smoking weed because I don’t like it. Tried it, didn’t care for it, and decided it’s not for me. But there’s no question I could get it anytime — a phone call away. And that’s the lie about marijuana — people who want it, get it, and people who don’t… don’t.
A Gallup Poll from a few weeks ago showed that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana — a record high (no pun intended). It’s bipartisan, too: 72 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans now favor legalization.
The minority of Americans who remain opposed to this need to understand that this is going on, whether it’s legal or not. The moral objection, as with alcohol and other perceived vices, is perfectly understandable. However, to argue against the medical, economic and social benefits is just plain wrong.
Further, it would be an entirely different debate if the underground weed economy didn’t already exist. As this study showed, in Colorado close to $1 billion has made its way out of the shadows, off the street corners and into the economy. The idea that it can be stopped is plain wrong, and to think otherwise at this point is willful ignorance.
Kentucky needs to unearth an economic gold mine now more than ever. At risk are the promised retirements of hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public employees. Their pensions are in peril. The future of our schools is in jeopardy, because if we can’t fulfill the promise to the last generation of teachers, how will we attract the next generation?
Opponents of weed have a choice: Bring the black-market for marijuana into the system, tax it, regulate it and save teachers’ pensions — resetting the economic trajectory of Kentucky…
Or, bury your head in the weeds.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Medicinal marijuana is already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and a group of Kentuckians is hoping to add the Bluegrass State to the list.
“Medical marijuana is what’s achievable and it’s what can help the most people the most quickly,” Mike Ward said.
Among those advocating for the legalization of medicinal marijuana is former Congressman Mike Ward, now the president and CEO of Legalize Kentucky Now. For him, the fight to give patients alternative treatments is personal, having seen how it helped his younger brother who died of AIDS in the ’90s.
“The staff looked the other way as he smoked marijuana in the bathroom of his hospital room because they knew it helped him have an appetite and keep food down while he was undergoing treatment,” he said.
“When you look at medical marijuana as a way to provide relief to people with serious illnesses and a way to avoid the prescription pain epidemic that’s been sweeping across our country, I think you’re seeing momentum build for it and people become more comfortable with the idea of passing responsible legislation,” State Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D.-District 19, said.
McGarvey is preparing for the upcoming legislative session in Frankfort, which is set to reconvene on Jan. 2. He said he is ready to introduce a piece of legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana – the fourth time he’s brought up this type of legislation.
“I think there are safeguards in place as long as we craft responsible medical marijuana legislation, which fortunately 29 other states have done and we have templates to use now,” he said.
Kentucky Secy. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, has also joined the conversation, announcing Wednesday the formation of a task force headed by herself and State Rep. John Sims. “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting,” she said in a statement.
While Gov. Matt Bevin, R.-Kentucky, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R.-District 25, have come out against legalizing recreational marijuana, and critics have argued there is not enough known about the lasting, long-term impacts of marijuana, McGarvey and Ward said it is something that the people of Kentucky want.
“Anybody running for office – Republican, Democrat, state representatives, state senators – will find if they ask in their districts that it is wildly popular,” Ward said.
Both Ward and McGarvey also tell WHAS11 they support legalizing recreational marijuana as well as a tool to fix the state’s pension crisis, but with Bevin taking a firm stance against any legislation attempting to do so, they said their priority right now is on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
Thomas Novelly, Louisville Courier Journal
Could legal medical marijuana be on the horizon in Kentucky?
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday she wants to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State by 2018.
A task force, led by Grimes, will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes.
In a statement, Grimes said, “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting.”
Judge to medical marijuana users: Talk to lawmakers about legalization, not me
State Rep. John Sims, D- Flemingsburg, will co-chair a task force alongside Grimes the statement said.
“Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people,” Sims said in the announcement. “The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it’s time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth.”
Sims said evidence exists showing marijuana combats a large number of side effects for cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Marijuana expert: Matt Bevin exaggerates pot’s effects
Grimes announcement, however, breaks with Gov. Matt Bevin’s views on marijuana.
Recently, Bevin said he rejected any idea of legalizing marijuana in Kentucky to help the state raise money as it deals with billions of dollars’ in pension debt. He did say he could be open to legalizing medical marijuana if it was properly regulated.
“There is no way, when I am governor, that I will ever legalize recreational marijuana in Kentucky,” Bevin said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
A spokesman from Bevin’s office did not immediately return a request for comment regarding Grimes’ new task force.
Reach Reporter Thomas Novelly at 502-582-4465 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.