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Columns

  • Library teen program suspended until safety solution can be found

    Recently, there has been quite a bit of social media attention surrounding the library–some good and some bad. Normally, I do not engage in these conversations, but I feel like I need to address the current issues because they are important.

  • Fix on sales tax rule for non-profits on track to be changed

    For Kentucky’s nonprofits, the last year has not been an easy one. A ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court last March – and a rushed overhaul of the state tax code less than a month later – left these critical organizations facing the last thing anyone wants: a much-larger tax bill.

    Our religious and civic organizations found themselves in this predicament through no fault of their own, and the cost hasn’t been small, either – about $30 million annually.

  • Education bills await action in final days of legislative session

    It just takes two words to sum up this year’s legislative session through the end of last week: “Stay tuned.”

    I say that because, with only four working days remaining, the General Assembly has a long list of bills still awaiting a final decision.

    I am no fan of this approach, because it makes it much more difficult for legislators, and especially the public, to keep track of and offer meaningful input on laws that would have an impact on Kentucky for years to come. We must re-commit ourselves to finding a better way.

  • Senate takes up tax overhaul bill, sends it to conference committee

    The pace of activity inside the Capitol is picking up as we rapidly approach the end of the 153rd Regular Session. With only a few days left to pass bills, the Kentucky General Assembly has been working in overdrive to develop the best legislative policy for the Commonwealth.

    Many big issues have been addressed in this 30-day short session. This was one of our busiest weeks yet, as bills concerning abortion, medical marijuana and education had Frankfort buzzing with visitors who attended rallies and committee meetings.

  • Scholarship tax credits education opportunities

    During the next few weeks, our General Assembly has a remarkable opportunity to give thousands of Kentucky children a new path to success by voting in favor of two bills that will help create a scholarship tax credit program. House Bill 205 and Senate Bill 118 will go a long way towards helping children in the Common-wealth reach their dreams.

    Families like the Hendersons in South Louisville know all too well the power this scholarship tax program would have in transforming the futures of Kentucky’s children.

  • Teachers protest unneccessary pension bill

    We may be in the final third of the 2019 legislative session, but the arrival of hundreds of teachers at the Capitol last Thursday made it feel like 2018 all over again.

    They came to Frankfort to oppose yet another unfair and unnecessary bill directly affecting the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System. Last year’s rallies were focused on current and future benefits, while this year’s is about the very governance of KTRS itself.

  • School safety bill heads to governor’s desk

    As we approach the latter days of the 2019 Regular Session, the Capitol remains as busy as ever. Countless visitors from across Kentucky advocated important issues in a week that had no shortage of legislative activity.

  • Senate bills address voter registration, drunk driving, grain insurance fund

    We are halfway through the 2019 Regular Session, and the Senate is eager to continue making progress in these final weeks.

    The General Assembly did not convene on Monday in observation of Presidents Day. Before resuming legislative business on Tuesday, both the House and the Senate reconvened at the historic Old State Capitol in downtown Frankfort.

  • Rand asks: Does bill help more than it hinders? What do those affected think?

    When deciding how to vote on legislation, I ask myself two simple questions: Does it help more than it hinders, and what do those directly affected think?

    I believe that’s good advice for any policy maker to follow, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time in the Kentucky House, it’s that not everyone in the General Assembly answers these questions the same way. One of the best examples of that can be found in last year’s major tax overhaul.

  • Beck shares memories of experience at N-D