(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.

THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

ky mj lawsuit

ABOVE:  LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY

FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

(KY) This Week at the State Capitol

For Immediate Release

February 17, 2017

This Week at the State Capitol

February 13 – 17, 2017

FRANKFORT — Headlines in recent days have made it clear that Kentucky’s problems with heroin, other illegal opioids and prescription drug abuse, continue to take lives and devastate communities at a shocking rate.

In-state newspapers have recently reported the more than 52 drug overdoses occurred over a 32-hour period in Louisville, and nine overdose calls came in over 12 hours in Madison County. A national publication reported that one rural Kentucky county filled enough prescriptions over 12 months to supply 150 doses of painkillers to every person in the county.

The same conversations held across the state about the way the drug crisis is impacting the court system, police, health care workers, treatment facilities, social workers, prison officials and families are also being held in the State Capitol. Those deliberations resulted in a number of bills aimed at addressing the issue, including several bills that took steps forward in the legislative process this week.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 14, which is aimed at getting drug dealers off the streets by strengthening penalties for trafficking in heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. Under the legislation, which was approved on a 36-0 vote, trafficking in less than two grams of these substances would be elevated to a Class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

Later in the week, a pair of bills addressing the drug crises were also approved in the House committees.

House Bill 333 would make it a felony to illegally sell or distribute any amount of fentanyl, carfentanil – a powerful opioid intended for large animals – and related drugs. Trafficking any amount of these drugs could result in up to 10 years in prison under the legislation. The bill would also restrict prescriptions for some painkillers to a three-day supply, though exceptions would be allowed in some circumstances. House Bill 333 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration.

The House Education Committee approved House Bill 145, which would help fight opioid addiction by requiring that public school students be educated about the dangers of prescription pain killers and their connection to addiction to heroin and other drugs.

Bills on other issues that advanced in the General Assembly this week include the following:

· Senate Bill 1 is a sweeping education reform measure that sets the course to change educational standards and accountability for public schools. The more than 100-page-long bill is an omnibus measure aimed at empowering state education officials, locally-elected school board members and teachers to decide the best teaching methods for their communities. It would set up several committees and advisory panels to review educational standards. The bill would change how students are tested, and it would also set up a new way for intervening in low-performing schools by placing more power in the local school district during those interventions. The bill passed the Senate on a 35-0 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.

· House Bill 14 would give police, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel protection under the state’s hate crime statutes. Under the bill, those who assault, kidnap, or commit certain other violent offenses against first responders could face stricter sentencing in court. Currently only the legally-protected classes of race, color, religion and national origin, as well as sexual orientation, are covered under the state’s hate crime statute. House Bill 14 passed the House on a 77-13-1 vote and has been sent to the Senate.

· Senate Bill 78 would require public schools across Kentucky would to go smoke-free by next school year. The bill would outlaw the use of all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, on elementary, middle and high school campuses in addition to buses. The bill was approved by the Senate on a 25-8-2 and has been sent to the House.

· Senate Bill 75 would increase the amount donors can contribute to election campaigns. Under the legislation, individuals and political action committees could donate $2,000 in the primary and general elections in Kentucky– up from the $1,000 limit. The bill passed the Senate on a 27-10 vote and has been delivered to the House.

· House Bill 192 would make it easier for 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care to apply for driver’s permits and driver’s licenses. The bill, which passed 96-0 before being sent to the Senate,  would allow those in foster care to get a driver’s license or permit without requiring them to have a parent’s or other adult’s signature on the permit or license applications.

Members of the General Assembly are eager to receive feedback on the issues under consideration. You can share your thoughts with lawmakers by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 800-372-7181.

You can also write any legislator by sending a letter with the lawmaker’s name to: Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.

–END–

Kentucky: SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW

COLUMN

SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW

Submitted by Senator Reginald Thomas

FRANKFORT – The 2016 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended just before midnight Friday, April 15 as we pushed through a long week to finalize legislation, including a $21 billion spending plan for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2016.

The governor set the stage for the state budget debate when he rolled out his proposed budget during the fourth week of the session. He proposed major outlays of new money to pension systems but cut funding to universities and most state agencies by 9 percent to help come up with the money for the retirement plans. The House rejected the cuts being applied to universities and restored that funding. The Senate Republicans put the 9 percent cuts to universities back in.

The compromise reached between the Senate and House settled on a 4.5 percent reduction to funding for institutions of higher education with the exception of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, which is fully funded.

The compromise budget appropriates $973 million to the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Systems, an additional $186 million to the Kentucky Retirement Systems and $125 million in the form of a contribution to the “Permanent Fund” which will be a depository of certain surplus funds used to stabilize the pension funds in the most peril.

The budget the Kentucky General Assembly sent to the governor was a good plan. I sat at the table during the entire budget negotiations between leaders of both the House and Senate chambers as they worked on the finished product to send to the governor. In my mind, it was not perfect by any means, but the charge of the Budget Conference Committee was to find a compromise between the House and Senate budgets that would best meet the needs of citizens across the state.

The work was intense and the hours were long, but I was satisfied that the end product would serve our state well for the next biennium. It is very unfortunate that Governor Bevin used his veto power to make line item cuts that will affect Kentuckians across the commonwealth, especially in the area of education. A few of the vetoes made by Governor Bevin that were important components to move the state forward in the biennium are listed below:

  • Not only was the structure for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program eliminated (with his veto of House Bill 626), but $9.4 million was cut from the budget to fund scholarships in 2016-17. An appropriation of $15 million does remain for scholarships for 2017-18.
  • Appropriations for lung-, colon-, and breast-cancer screening programs.
  • Funding for Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity Program, Access to Justice and Public Safety First.
  • Funding for Every1 Reads Program ($225,700 in each fiscal year).
  • Funds for pre-school education eligibility pilot project expansion up to 200 percent of poverty level.
  • Funding for Kentucky scholarships programs based on financial need – the College Access Program (CAP) and Kentucky Tuition Grant Program (KTG).

One significant plus, the budget bill includes $60 million in state money to go toward the $250 million Lexington Convention Center to make it an A-1 facility. House Bill 55 puts in place a revenue raising measure for the project by increasing the hotel tax by 2.5 percent points.

I have said repeatedly, this project will make a $100 million difference in Fayette County and it is absolutely critical for our city. Without the expansion project, we would continue to lose convention business to competitor cities. Currently, our tourism data tells us we are only marketing to 65 percent of the available national conventions and meetings market. Without this expansion, officials said the annual $42 million impact from the convention centers would drop by more than $13 million annually. Lexington could not suffer such a blow and continue to progress so I fought vigorously for this project.

Highlights of some priority areas shielded from cuts also include:

  • $175 million for a budget reserve trust fund;
  • fully funding public schools through 12th grade;
  • fully funding anti-heroin legislation from 2015;
  • raises for state troopers;
  • fully funding Kentucky Educational Television;
  • restoring funding to the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky;
  • preserving the Kentucky One Stop Business Portal, and
  • allocating a $5 million bond pool for Kentucky state parks.

We also passed a two-year road plan, which funds the Transportation Cabinet.

While the budget grabbed the headlines during this legislative session, we also passed some other legislation that will have a positive impact on the lives of all Kentuckians. I will share a summary highlighting some of the bills that passed this session next week. Through those measures, we took steps to protect our most vulnerable citizens, maintain our transportation infrastructure, and invest in education, public safety and job creation across the Commonwealth.

While this legislative session is over, the work in Frankfort continues, as interim joint committees soon resume post session work.  Interim committees provide continuity of discussion for ongoing issues and provide forum for new and developing issues. It is the opportunity to take government to the people, as we sometimes have meetings outside of Frankfort, discuss issues in-depth, and allow bill identification, creation and approval for prefiling for the 2017 regular session. This enables bills to be introduced at the beginning of the session, allowing citizens ample time to express their opinions on the measures.

Please stay in contact with me during the interim by emailing me directly at reginald.thomas@lrc.ky.gov. Thank you and enjoy the remainder of our wonderful Kentucky spring.

-END-

Many ways for citizens to follow (Kentucky) General Assembly’s 2016 session

For Immediate Release

January 5, 2016

FRANKFORT – When the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives are gaveled into order at noon today, Kentuckians will have many ways to stay connected to action throughout the 2016 legislative session.

The Kentucky Legislature Home Page (www.lrc.ky.gov) is updated daily to provide the latest legislative information. Web surfers can view the issues before lawmakers by browsing through bill summaries, amendments and resolutions. The website is regularly updated to indicate each bill’s status in the legislative process, as well as the next day’s committee-meeting schedule and agendas.

In addition to general information about the legislative process, the website provides information on each of Kentucky’s senators and representatives, including their phone numbers, addresses and legislative committee assignments.

A mobile-friendly version of the website can be viewed by going online to www.lrc.ky.gov/isite/index.html and adding the site to a smartphone’s home screen. The LRC seal that will appear on the home screen allows users to connect to some of the more popular features of the website including the legislative calendar and a directory of the state legislators with their photographs.

Citizens are also welcome to see proceedings in person in the State Capitol’s legislative chambers and committee rooms, which are open to the public.

Those who can’t make the trip to Frankfort can tune in to chamber proceedings and committee meetings on The Kentucky Channel, KET KY. Kentucky Educational Television also provides online streaming of its legislative coverage at KET.org/legislature.

Citizens can also use toll-free phone lines to follow legislative action and offer their input to lawmakers. Those who want to give lawmakers feedback on issues under consideration can call the Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181. Those who prefer to offer their feedback in Spanish can call the General Assembly’s Spanish Line at 866-840-6574. Citizens with hearing impairments can use the TTY Message Line at 800-896-0305.

A taped message containing information on the daily schedule for legislative committee meetings is available by calling the Legislative Calendar Line at 800-633-9650.

Citizens can write to any legislator by sending a letter with a lawmaker’s name on it to: Legislative Offices, 702 Capitol Ave., Frankfort, KY 40601.

The 2016 session is expected to last 60 working days, the limit allowed by the Kentucky Constitution, and is scheduled to adjourn on April 12.

–END–

This PSA was sent to my email at shereekrider@hotmail.com on 1/5/2016.

Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

Finance and Administration Cabinet
Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

Press Release Date:
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Contact Information:
Cindy Lanham
(502) 564-4240
cindy.lanham@ky.gov

Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 15, 2012) —  The Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR) will honor recently announced Internal Revenue Service (IRS) special tax relief for taxpayers in the Presidential Disaster Areas who were victims of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that started on Feb. 29, 2012.

As of March 13, 2012, President Barack Obama has declared Bath, Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Grayson, Johnson, Kenton, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Rowan, Russell, Trimble and Wolfe counties federal disaster areas.  Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief.
As a result, the IRS is postponing certain tax deadlines for those taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.   For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Feb. 29, and on or before May 31, have been postponed to May 31, 2012.
This includes an extension of the April 17 deadline for filing 2011 individual income tax returns, making income tax payments and making 2011 contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRA). 
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Feb. 29, and on or before March 15, as long as the deposits are made by March 15, 2012.
Additional information regarding this special tax relief may be found at www.irs.gov.

Under the provisions of KRS 131.081 (11), Kentucky honors federal extensions related to disaster relief for filing of income tax returns, including payment of tax due.
Late filing and payment penalties will be waived for those affected taxpayers who have an original or extended income tax filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period. Kentucky’s tax laws have no provision for the waiver of interest. 

Taxpayers are advised to label the top margin of the tax forms filed under this relief provision in large, red letters with the words “February 2012 Storms.” Taxpayers requiring assistance with penalty waivers or additional tax information may contact the Department of Revenue at (502) 564-4581.

This extension to file and pay taxes does not apply to sales and other tax types. However, taxpayers who lost their sales tax return and need a replacement may contact the DOR Division of Sales and Use Tax at (502) 564-5170 for assistance.  Taxpayers who are having difficulty meeting filing deadlines for their sales tax returns may also contact the Division of Sales and Use Tax which will work with them on a case-by-case basis.

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Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

Finance and Administration Cabinet
Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

Press Release Date:
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Contact Information:
Cindy Lanham
(502) 564-4240
cindy.lanham@ky.gov

Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds and Flooding in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 15, 2012) —  The Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR) will honor recently announced Internal Revenue Service (IRS) special tax relief for taxpayers in the Presidential Disaster Areas who were victims of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that started on Feb. 29, 2012.

As of March 13, 2012, President Barack Obama has declared Bath, Campbell, Carroll, Grant, Grayson, Johnson, Kenton, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Rowan, Russell, Trimble and Wolfe counties federal disaster areas.  Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief.
As a result, the IRS is postponing certain tax deadlines for those taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.   For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Feb. 29, and on or before May 31, have been postponed to May 31, 2012.
This includes an extension of the April 17 deadline for filing 2011 individual income tax returns, making income tax payments and making 2011 contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRA). 
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Feb. 29, and on or before March 15, as long as the deposits are made by March 15, 2012.
Additional information regarding this special tax relief may be found at www.irs.gov.

Under the provisions of KRS 131.081 (11), Kentucky honors federal extensions related to disaster relief for filing of income tax returns, including payment of tax due.
Late filing and payment penalties will be waived for those affected taxpayers who have an original or extended income tax filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period. Kentucky’s tax laws have no provision for the waiver of interest. 

Taxpayers are advised to label the top margin of the tax forms filed under this relief provision in large, red letters with the words “February 2012 Storms.” Taxpayers requiring assistance with penalty waivers or additional tax information may contact the Department of Revenue at (502) 564-4581.

This extension to file and pay taxes does not apply to sales and other tax types. However, taxpayers who lost their sales tax return and need a replacement may contact the DOR Division of Sales and Use Tax at (502) 564-5170 for assistance.  Taxpayers who are having difficulty meeting filing deadlines for their sales tax returns may also contact the Division of Sales and Use Tax which will work with them on a case-by-case basis.

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