Kentucky’s Tweeting Governor Blocks Critics On Social Media… And He’s Not The Only One

By Brendan McCarthy and June Leffler June 15, 2017

Gov. Matt Bevin in recent months has turned to social media platforms to slam local media and share his political views directly with followers.

But as Bevin ramped up his criticism and online dispatches, he’s also blocked more than 500 Twitter users from following him, according to records released this week by ProPublica, a national investigative newsroom.

Bevin’s list of blocked social media users — obtained by ProPublica through a records request — includes many people who have shared their disdain for Bevin or President Donald Trump.

Bevin’s not alone in booting folks from following his 140-character messages. Trump has banned more than a few. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had sought to silence some tweeting gadflies.

The practice, however, has potential legal ramifications and could soon play out in court.

Attorneys for several Twitter users blocked by Trump are arguing that his account is a public forum and that the government cannot constitutionally exclude critics, The New York Times reported this week.

The attorneys issued a letter to Trump and hinted that if the blocking continues, a lawsuit could follow.

Bevin’s office released the following statement Thursday:

Gov. Bevin is a strong advocate of constructive dialogue, and he welcomes thoughtful input from all viewpoints on his social media platforms. Unfortunately, a small number of users misuse those outlets by posting obscene and abusive language or images, or repeated off-topic comments and spam. Constituents of all ages should be able to engage in civil discourse with Gov. Bevin via his social media platforms without being subjected to vulgarity or abusive trolls.

The office also issue a tweet — citing a “#FAKENEWS ALERT” — along with a video criticizing the media.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office, which weighs violations of the Open Records Act, has never issued an opinion “about the nature of social media and whether blocking someone violates the open records law.”

To date, no one has filed an appeal challenging a public official’s social media blockade.

Beshear declined to share his views on the matter and called it inappropriate because the office may have to tackle the issue in the future.

Beshear said he has never blocked anyone on Twitter. The Twitter account of his predecessor, Attorney General Jack Conway, had barred several followers. Beshear said he had his staff unblock those users.

(How To Find Out Who Your Favorite Politician Is Blocking On Twitter)

CONTINUE READING…

(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…

“Leeper Act,” lifts Kentucky’s 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction

Kentucky United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor’s Office

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Woody Maglinger
502-564-2611
Woody.Maglinger@ky.gov

Gov. Bevin to Ceremonially Sign “Leeper Act”

Wednesday in Paducah

SB 11 lifts 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 12, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin will join state and local officials in Paducah on Wednesday to ceremonially sign the recently enacted Senate Bill 11. The legislation, known as the “Leeper Act,” lifts Kentucky’s 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction.

McCracken County is home to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which produced enriched uranium from 1954 until 2013 and employed more than 1,000 local residents at its peak.

Who:

Governor Matt Bevin
Senator Danny Carroll
McCracken County Judge/Executive Bob Leeper

What:

Ceremonial Signing of Senate Bill 11 (“Leeper Act”)

When:

Wednesday, June 14
5:00 p.m. (CDT)

Where:

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce
300 South 3rd Street
Paducah, Kentucky

###

Time to Contact our Representatives about Samuel Girod

https://i0.wp.com/www.kyfreepress.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/girod-buggy-cropped.jpg

It’s time to start sending letters, emails, calls to the 8 elected representatives below (9 if you count Melania). Here’s the plan in two steps:

STEP 1: Have your letter and social media post handy in a text doc. You can copy and paste from the examples below or click here to download samples, then edit as you like.

STEP 2: Open each person’s website/social media, copy and paste your note, and send. Click here to jump to the addresses.

I tweeted, facebooked and emailed everyone in less than 20 minutes!

WHY

At the very least, our elected representatives must know that PLENTY of people care about an Amish KY farmer being railroaded into prison by an out of control federal agency.

Sam is 56, so even a paltry 20 years (of the 68 possible) could be a life sentence. And the feds might be able to take his farm if the judge makes the fine big enough.

All this over an innocent labeling infraction. Read the entire story here.

STEP 1: WHAT to Say

Examples below — it’s best to put in your own words so that every letter does not sound exactly the same. But if you don’t have time for that, copy and paste! Click here to download samples, then edit as you like.


TWEETS The following tweet is exactly the right # of characters. If you edit, make sure it’s no longer.

Did you know the FDA is jailing a KY Amish farmer for life over a label? He needs YOUR help now! #freeamishsam bit.ly/fda-sam


SHORT EMAIL or FACEBOOK POST

Did you know the FDA is jailing a KY Amish farmer for life over an innocent labeling infraction? He needs YOUR help now! Read the story at KyFreePress.com (bit.ly/fda-sam) Please let me know what you will do to keep this insanity from happening to other innocent Americans, and that you will do everything in your power to help secure a Presidential pardon for Samual Girod. We are ALL at risk! #freeamishsam #thefreedomcoalition


LONG EMAIL/LETTER

Dear ___________,

Ky Amish farmer Samuel Girod has been railroaded by the FDA into prison over an innocent labeling infraction on an all-natural salve that his family has made for 20 years with no complaints and no victims. He’s facing up to 68 years and $3M in fines.

Sam is currently in prison awaiting sentencing on June 30th, 2017. He is 56yo, has lived his whole life without electricity, the salve business has supported his family of 12 children and 25 grandchildren for 2 decades. Again, no complaints, no victims.

The FDA is the perfect example of a runaway federal bureaucracy making laws, then using them to bully innocent Americans. The FDA spent 16 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to harass the Girods, destroying their quiet Amish farm life, then convicting Sam of the most outrageous charges!

What happened to Samuel Girod can happen to any small business owner in America. Details here: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2017/03/updated-sam-girod-v-fda/

We Americans are ALL at risk from the FDA and other over-reaching federal agencies! If you doubt that, check out thefreedomcoalition.com. There are literally thousands of innocent Americans in U.S. prisons for breaking a law made up out of thin air by an agency bureaucrat.

Please let me know what you will do to keep this insanity from happening to other innocent Americans.

Finally, and most importantly today, I am counting on you to resolve this outrageous injustice and do your part to secure a Presidential pardon for Samuel Girod.

#freeamishsam

Sincerely, (your name and title)

For Trump’s letter, make sure to ask for a presidential pardon directly: “…injustice and sign a Presidential pardon for Samuel Girod.”


STEP 2: WHO + Addresses

Be nice in your missives, please. We don’t know why politicians are silent, but they must have a reason. Let’s assume it’s valid. Keep in mind that Sam needs friends in high places. Let’s not alienate the very people who can help him.

TO EMAIL: Go to each website and use their form, all contact info below:

  • KY Congressman Thomas Massie — He’s at least been sympathetic to the issue. You can only email him if you live in his district. Mailing and phone are at the bottom of the page. Phone & Mail, Email | Facebook | Twitter

HOW Often?

Once a week. There are over 26,000 of us, that’s a big weekly voice! If we make contact only once, it will have minimal impact. We are aiming for BIG CONTACT so let’s do this weekly!!! Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.

Tips for Efficiency

Ain’t nobody got time for dis! Here’s how I made it as efficient as possible.

  1. Open your handy doc with your missives for easy copy and paste
  2. TWEETS — took me just 2 minutes to do them all! Open all the twitter pages at once (right click on each Twitter link above and “open link in new tab”). There is a “Tweet to Person” link under the profile pix (see Matt’s screenshot below). Click that, paste the tweet in the window, hit Tweet, close the tab, next. Tweet your representatives!
  3. FACEBOOK: either go to each person’s FB page (right click and open in a new tab) and make a comment on an existing post (any post, it doesn’t matter, pick one you like). OR do a post on YOUR timeline and “tag” everyone. All tags and instructions are on the word doc above. (I did a single post and tagged everyone, it took less than a minute!)
  4. EMAIL: Open all the email pages (right click and open in new tab), then copy and paste each letter one after the other. This part took me 13 minutes total.

For those of you who don’t live in Kentucky, you might take a few extra seconds and email your state reps. Tell them to “Rein in the federal agencies. Do not let this happen in our state!”


Please share your letters/tweets in the comments so others can see them and get ideas for their missives — thank you!!!
#freeamishsam #thefreedomcoalition

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Surging Forward Following Legislative Session

commonwealth of kentucky

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor’s Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Woody Maglinger
502-564-2611
Woody.Maglinger@ky.gov

Kentucky Surging Forward Following Legislative Session

Op-Ed by Governor Matt Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 16, 2017) – On the first Saturday in May each year, the Kentucky Derby captures the attention and fascination of the world and creates special moments that will long be remembered. The Derby is truly unmatched as a sporting event and spectacle.  A brief hush precedes the opening of the starting gate, followed by the roar of the crowd as the horses explode forward powerfully and majestically. The start to the Derby provides a powerful analogy for what we have experienced recently in our state. Thanks to an outstanding effort by the General Assembly and our administration, Kentucky is surging forward.

The 2017 legislative session was one of the most productive in Kentucky history. Much of our agenda was focused on making Kentucky a better place to do business. It should come as no surprise that the three largest economic development announcements in Kentucky history have occurred since January of this year. Amazon announced their decision to invest $1.5 billion in Northern Kentucky where they will build their Prime Air Hub. Toyota announced a $1.33 billion investment in their Georgetown facility. In April, Braidy Industries revealed their plans to invest $1.3 billion dollars in Greenup County, where they will build a state-of-the-art aluminum mill, creating 550 high-paying jobs. CEO, Craig Bouchard, made it clear during his remarks at the announcement that his company would not have considered locating here if Kentucky had not been a right-to-work state. Braidy, Amazon and others have also been very complimentary of our administration’s passion for recruiting businesses to Kentucky.

Just last week, LINAK U.S. announced a $33 million expansion that will create an additional 413 full-time jobs. That announcement follows companies like UWH, TG Automotive, Traughber, Perfetti van Melle, PuraCap Laboratories, Bulleit Distilling Company and dozens of others which have also recently announced expansions or groundbreakings in our state. These announcements are only the beginning. Like those Derby horses bursting from the gate, Kentucky’s economic expansion is just getting started. Stay tuned. There is more to come.

It is important to note, however, the recent legislative session was about much more than just the economy. For instance, bills were passed that will allow our children in failing schools to have an opportunity to learn in high quality public charter schools and, going forward, we will base higher education funding on school outcomes. Another bill will return more authority to local school boards. These bills, now signed into law, will introduce competition into our education system and will result in better outcomes for all our students. Additionally, we passed a medical review panel bill that will lower medical costs and a bill that will allow funding for apprenticeship programs.

Pro-life laws were created that more accurately reflect the values of our voters. Kentucky is overwhelmingly a pro-life state. Huge bipartisan support for the twenty-week abortion ban and the ultrasound bill reflect that. We also moved Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider, to the back of the line for federal funds.

An important criminal justice law was signed to help the children and families of those who have paid their debt to society. The law allows for work release, work opportunities within prison, and the earning of professional licenses. By helping incarcerated individuals train to get work ready, we reduce recidivism and give children and their parents a chance to be a family again.

We passed legislation to better ensure that our state treats foster children with the respect and dignity they deserve. Kentucky will now allow the courts the leeway to place these children with fictive kin. These are non-blood relatives with whom the child already has a loving relationship and who are willing to provide a home for the child. Likewise, foster kids can now obtain their driver’s license at the age of 16, enabling them to gain independence as they acquire the mobility needed to get to school or to a part-time job.

A new law was passed that will put much needed limits (a three day supply) on the amount of opioid pain medication that can be prescribed at one time. Medical professionals were asked for extensive input as this law was drafted. As a result, there are ample exclusions for physicians who are treating patients with cancer and chronic pain, as well as those on hospice care or who have valid need for additional pain medication.

These are merely a few highlights of all that was accomplished during the 2017 legislative session.

I love the name of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, “Always Dreaming.” That is the American way. From the beginning of our administration, we have repeatedly stated our vision for Kentucky to become the center of excellence in America for engineering and advanced manufacturing and for each of us, individually and collectively, to become the best version of ourselves. The 2017 legislative session has afforded Kentucky the opportunity to get off to a roaring start towards achieving these goals. I am confident that we will succeed, because #WeAreKY.

###

…Under (HB 315), a gang can be any three people who share a name, symbol or leader, or who have been identified as a gang by any state or the federal government…

The Kentucky House and Senate are poised to pass a bill this week that is both unnecessary and likely to be costly in terms of both money and human potential.

If it reaches him, Gov. Matt Bevin should veto House Bill 315, the so-called gang bill. It flies in the face of the evidence-based criminal justice reforms Bevin has pushed as governor.

Last June, Bevin appointed his non-partisan Criminal Justice Police Assessment Council, saying he wanted “a smarter, compassionate, evidence-based approach.Senate Bill 120, passed this session to improve employment opportunities for people leaving prison, was a result of CJPAC’s work.

HB 315 didn’t come from CJPAC, and that’s no surprise. There’s no evidence it would reduce gang activity but its broad and vague definitions and heavy-handed punishment provisions will mean that young people who have committed low-level, non-violent crimes could spend a long time in prison with little hope for the “second chance” Bevin so vigorously supports.

Sponsor Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, said HB 315 is based on a similar law in California, prompting Senate President Robert Stivers to ask when Kentucky modeled itself on California.

Good question.

Even more concerning, California’s STEP Act, passed in 1988 to “seek the eradication of criminal activity by street gangs,” hasn’t achieved that goal. A 2009 study of the measure reported the opposite: “harsher sentences for minor gang related crimes may actually increase gang commitment because individuals are forced to join gangs and strengthen their gang ties in order to survive in prison.”

Without question, HB 315 would increase our already staggeringly high prison population — over 23,000 state inmates and a $530 million annual budget. The Corrections Impact Statement on HB 315 estimated the cost at over $38 million over time.

Criminal gangs are real and responsible for crimes that deeply damage our communities. People should be punished for recruiting others into gangs, as they can be under existing Kentucky law.

In the almost 20 years since that legislation passed, there have been 22 convictions under it, including six in 2015 and none in 2016.

There will be more convictions under HB 315 because it casts a wide net in defining gangs and what it takes to tag an individual as a gang member.

Under it, a gang can be any three people who share a name, symbol or leader, or who have been identified as a gang by any state or the federal government. Their “pattern of criminal activity” could be crimes committed by one or more members at any time over five years.

The evidence a gang actually exists includes identification by an informant, a member’s parent or guardian or participation in photos or social-media interaction with gang members.

Think about it: many young people have hundreds of social-media contacts: long-ago classmates, friends of friends, former co-workers and team members. If one of them is identified as a gang member, then so can all his or her “friends.”

The results are catastrophic if the gang label sticks. Judges lose most discretion over sentencing. A Class B misdemeanor such as harassment — now subject to up to three months in jail or simply a fine — would carry a mandatory sentence of 76 to 90 days. Felony charges must be prosecuted for one level more serious when the gang element is present and those convicted must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.

So, a Class C felony that carries one to five years in prison, with possibility of parole with 20 percent of time served becomes a Class B with five to 10 years and a minimum of 85 percent served before possibility of parole.

These mandatory prison terms not only fill up jails and prisons at enormous cost, they also discourage rehabilitation. Consider, a person sentenced to five years with the possibility of parole after a year, is motivated to participate in drug rehab or career-oriented classes.

But with a certain four-plus years inside, motivation shifts away from rehabilitation to survival. As noted in the California study, people join gangs to survive a long term in prison.

“Gang” is another in the long line of frightening terms invoked to bloat the criminal code, fill prisons and drain our treasuries while doing little to make us safer.

Bevin’s right in rejecting this trend. He should stay the course and veto this bad bill.

CONTINUE READING…

Charter school bill passes, goes to governor

For Immediate Release

March 15, 2017


Charter school bill passes, goes to governor

FRANKFORT—The Kentucky Senate and House each voted today in favor of legislation to allow publicly funded charter schools to operate in Kentucky. The bill now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin, a supporter of charter schools, to be signed into law.

House Bill 520, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman and public school teacher John Carney, R-Campbellsville, HB 520 would allow local school boards to authorize public charter schools in their school districts beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The schools would established by contract and governed by independent boards to provide Kentucky residents with nonsectarian educational programs that “meet or exceed student performance standards adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education,” according to the bill.

The Senate voted 23-15 this afternoon in favor of the bill. The House, which already approved a version of the legislation earlier this month, cast a 53-43 vote this evening officially accepting changes made to the bill by the Senate.

Changes to the bill approved by the Senate and the House would allow the state school board to override a local school board’s decision regarding authorization of charter schools and allow for judicial review of the state board’s decision. It would also allow mayors of the state’s two largest cities (Louisville and Lexington) to be authorizers of charter schools upon their request, and emphasize that only certified teachers and administrators approved by the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board could be hired to teach at the schools.

Other approved changes would allow, not require, charter schools to give enrollment preference to lower-income students, and would allow charter school students who cannot participate in state-sanctioned school athletics at their school to participate in sports at the traditional public school in their district, along with a few other changes.

Kentucky is one of seven states that do not already allow public charter schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Latonia, read from a Presidential Proclamation issued by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to make the case in support of charter schools in the Senate this afternoon. McDaniel quoted Obama’s proclamation as saying: “Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country.  These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students’ needs.”

In a House debate this evening, Carney said that that public charter schools will give Kentuckians a choice in public education.

“The reality is we have a system that does not work for every child in Kentucky. We teach to the middle,” he said. “Too many folks are being left behind.”

Among those voting against HB 520 was former House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green. Richards said that charter schools would be money-making ventures governed by what he described as “for-profit” companies. 

“If you believe it’s unfair for a for-profit management company to take money away from your school system, you can’t vote for this bill. And it will. These management companies have to make money, folks,” said Richards.

Following passage of HB 520, the House voted 61-34 for final passage of House Bill 471, sponsored by House Appropriations and Revenue Chair Steven Rudy, R-Paducah. That bill would amend the 2016-2018 executive branch budget to create a funding mechanism for charter schools created under HB 520.

Bills to allow charter schools in Kentucky have been filed for consideration in the Kentucky General Assembly since 2008. No charter school bills have passed the House until this year.

–END–