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February 6 - 10, 2012


Children & FamiliesThere are poignant moments when something deep and profound reveals itself to me and I realize I have to pay attention, as a friend used to say. It happened again on Thursday. It fell on the House Chamber blithely as an IED explosion. And it left us – no, let me speak for myself here -- it left me with the realization that too many political games are played here.

For example, all the moves and the payback attempts in the redistricting plans; games with important public policy questions like expanded gaming and the drop out bill that are used to hurt one side or help the other. I look at how we’ve allowed the proprietary schools to dictate public policy; and there are many more examples.

All this political one-upmanship is taking place and what was affirmed to me this week is that the children, families and businesses of our Commonwealth deserve better than they are getting. Especially those with loved ones in harm’s way.

In the House Chamber we honored the families of three Kentuckians. Combat soldiers killed on cold mountains and hot deserts far from the beautiful hills of Ft. Thomas, the timber groves of Mt. Olivet and the fertile Owensboro river bank.

Each young man gave up two lives – the one they were living and the one they would have lived. In the words of Ronald Reagan, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and G’ Daddy’s like me – they gave up everything for us. But we seem to have forgotten to remember. As they walked down the aisle, three Kentucky families absorbed my tears as colleagues attempted to capture each life in a paragraph or two.

They spoke of inspiration and courage; self sacrifice and brotherhood. Duty and honor. These young men gave life for what we have forgotten is alive - while we play. In those moments, a venerated Military Memorial Ceremony was made all the more sad.

Judge Phillip Shepherd wasn’t playing when he ruled the self-prescribed remedy for our redistricting illness was, in fact, worse than the illness itself! He’s obviously been watching those late night ads that, after hearing a laundry list of potentially debilitating and utterly repulsive side effects, make you go, “Aaah, no thanks. I’ll just deal with this swollen head and saliva drip. It’s not really so bad after all.”

House and Senate members will now run in our current districts, kicking yet another can down the road. We will appeal Judge Shepherd’s decision directly to the Supreme Court and hope we can get an expedited decision.

Meantime, the filing deadline remains open and as of this writing, 214 individuals have signed up to run for House seats and 52 running for Senate seats! And with much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, incumbents are checking constantly to see if they drew an (other) opponent in the May or November election. OMG!!

If you throw in that well healed, hair pulling, scrapheap of a fight going on in the GOP, along with the turnabout decision of President Obama to open his own Super Bank and fight fire with fire, the networks must be as as dreamy as a stallion in the breeding shed… And you know he’s not playing!

SO, HERE’S WHERE YOUR BUTTER GETS CHURNED: 

The pace of work has really increased with a number of important bills being considered. Child Safety and Protection was the focus of HB 281 which focuses on reducing the severity of sports related head injuries for student athletes.

Every interscholastic coach would be required to complete training on how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and the proper medical treatment for someone suspected of having a concussion.

In an important measure, Prescription Drug Abuse would receive enhanced attention in Kentucky under HB 4. The state’s KASPER program monitors prescription drug use and will be moved into the Attorney General’s office. This makes it more accessible to local prosecutors. Currently, less than half of Kentucky’s pharmacists and doctors are enrolled in and using the KASPER system.

All prescribers would be required to take part in it under this bill, which will dramatically increase the system’s usefulness. Not only will it be harder for abusers to “doctor shop”, but rouge doctors and pain clinics will be limited in their ability to prescribe narcotics and other drugs with little to no patient oversight.
 
DID YOU KNOW?? You may be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and not even realize it! Millions of dollars sit in bank accounts across the United States because insurance companies may not know if a policyholder is deceased. House Bill 135 would require life insurance companies to make a stronger effort to find out if their policyholders are deceased and to find and deliver funds to the proper beneficiaries. The measure is intended to provide more protection to consumers and their families.

EXTRA! EXTRA!! It’s the 11th hour of the last day and once and future candidates continue to roll into the Secretary of State’s office. Some appear to see the extension of the filing deadline as a sign they should run…so they file.  Others are sincerely trying to figure out which district they are in, given the court case. Readers will be interested to know that I, too, have picked up an opponent on this last day to file – albeit without all the worry and hand-wringing I’ve witnessed in others all week! I’m actually excited and looking forward to being out on the trail, debating issues and listening to your thoughts on the key issues of the day.  
    
Question of the Week: Charter Schools. I have moved from not being at all interested in discussing Charter Schools to now believing we should at least have the discussion. Should we set up a separate Charter Schools system in Kentucky with its own administrative, financial and educational structure and systems? If so, what standard should be used to determine their success? Let me know what you think.

CONTACT ME:

Call me directly at 502.564.8100

Write me at Rm. 329C, Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601.

I’m on FACEBOOK at http://www.facebook.com and online at http://reginaldmeeks.com.

To reach any particular legislator, contact our toll - free number at 800.372.7181. For the deaf or hard-of-hearing, that number is 800.896.0305.

REGINALD

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