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Rep. Meeks: 2017 Regular Session Update

by Rep. Reginald K. Meeks

 

There is a management style and theory which promotes the lack of communication, disjuncture, confusion, and disorganization in the workplace and between units with the idea that then, only the manager will know what’s really going on.  A sort of disorganization of the organization in order to secure the position of management.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this session has been led by disorganized leadership.  This leadership has kept the bills coming and going, kept the agendas full, and it’s been flexible in accommodating the bills it wants to see move forward.
 
The fact that we have at times been left standing, scratching our heads, is, well, not their problem.  As one legislator reportedly stated in committee, “The people voted against political correctness in the last election.”  I suppose that could mean the expected decorum and respect between colleagues is justifiably out the window.
 
It is absolutely fascinating to watch the contortions some go thru to get to where they want to be anyway.  Perfect example: the School Prayer bill to ensure our students, teachers, and the non-interference by schools in allowing the free exercise of religious expression.  Despite having the protection of the U.S. Constitution, the KY Constitution, and state statutes already on the books -- along with numerous legal decisions on the matter – supporters went all the way to Minnesota to convince House members we needed to vote for this measure.   Seems there is a group paddling around one of those 10,000 lakes sending letters down to Kentucky threatening to sue or drown anyone who prays before a football game or a basketball game. Remarkably, there are school districts here that have stopped the practice for fear of being sued – and this is why we need the bill.
 
Of course to my way of thinking, if you need a piece of paper to secure your being “in” with the Creator, you’ve got bigger problems than not  having this bill in place – but that’s just me.  A half dozen others voted with me against this bill.  Another bill used the fact that not all of our high school grads are college or career ready upon graduation as the reason to undo our state’s Common Core standards in Education.  “We want Kentucky to be 100 percent!”   Yet, when I asked whether any school system in the country is known to have 100 percent success rate – other than some very small ones – you already know what the answer is.  Yet, this bill moves forward for final passage.
 
…It’s ok; I often shake my head too.
 
All across Kentucky, communities are dealing with economic challenges. But a good economy doesn’t matter much if the people it benefits are plagued by crime and addiction.  House Bill 333 passed this week creating strong penalties for trafficking any amount of the addictive opioid drugs fentanyl and carfentanil and fentanyl derivatives that are destroying Kentucky lives and families. The bill would make it a felony to illegally bring any amount of these drugs into Kentucky for sale or distribution and create the felony crime of “trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance” for trying to pass off the opioids as legitimate prescription drugs, among other provisions.
 
Medical Panels survive: Senate Bill 4 will require peer review of medical malpractice complaints by medical review panels before medical malpractice cases could go to court.
 
Stricter review: HB 261 passed which will allow DUI offenders with one first-offense DUI conviction in their lifetime instead of once every 10 years.
 
Benefits follow the spouse: HB 375 passed to allow someone who leaves a job to follow their military spouse to another assignment 100 miles or more from home to continue receiving unemployment benefits.

Hear no evil, speak no evil

HB 294 clarifies that both motor vehicle sellers and dealers must disclose accident damage that happens while the vehicle is in their possession and results in repairs that exceed $2,000, excluding wheels, tires and glass repair.  The previous damage requiring disclosure was far less than this.
 
Hot TIF of the day: HB 330 passed by a vote of 79-14 and will give certain tax-increment financing pilot programs more time to operate. The time allowed for the pilot programs in now 20 years. That will be changed to not less than 20 nor more than 45 years under the bill.
 
I do want to acknowledge and thank the many community groups, advocates, concerned laymen, young people, John and Jane Q’s who are paying attention and letting us know about it.  You’ve keep us flooded with green slips, email message, and personal visits!  To help you continue building your grassroots momentum, another of my Jefferson County colleagues – Rep. Attica Scott – and I are discussing holding Citizen Lobby Training to show you how to more effectively lobby us and become even better advocates.  Interested?  Let me hear back!
 
As always, I solicit your thoughts and opinions.  Call me directly at 502.564.8100 or write me at Rm. 432B, Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601.  Our toll- free number is 800.372.7181.  For the deaf or hard-of-hearing, that number is 800.896.0305.  I am also on Facebook and on Twitter, @RepMeeks.

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