Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and state Attorney General Jack Conway squared off Thursday night in their first full-fledged debate, picking at each other on issues ranging from health care to gay rights to economic policy.
The most contentious issue was health care, which Conway and Mongiardo have argued about since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of a health care overhaul nearly two weeks ago.
Zaid Jilani at the Center for American Progress put up a blog post titled, “College debate organizers unable to find any law professors to argue health reform is unconstitutional.” Indeed, it seems that none of the four panelists at the University of Washington Law School event had any issues with Obamacare.
OK, look, I’ll make it easier: I hereby announce that I am willing to travel anywhere at anytime to debate the constitutionality of Obamacare. Whoever sets up the debate has to pay my travel expenses, but that’s it. Any takers
We are at a critical point in the session and activities over the next few days will reveal answers to key political questions: Will the cordial House – Senate sing-along remain harmonious? What will this budget reveal about the next governor’s race, and will any potentially interested candidates try to use it to their advantage? Can a national party play-book provide winning strategies in the Commonwealth? And how does the Executive branch fare after all is said and done?
On one hand, the Senate has made significant changes to the House version of the budget. These changes could cause the very situations to occur which the House proposal sought to avoid: worker layoffs and furloughs; cuts to educations, and program cuts to human services that Kentucky families depend on. Nevertheless, in actual dollars, the difference between the House and Senate versions of the budget is only about $100 million. One would think that we can easily fight ourselves out of this bag!
The Senate criticism of the House budget, widely hyped in the media, is that it provides a state version of a Jobs Bill. . . and we “know” government cannot create jobs. Only the private sector can do that – right? I’m always fascinated that the very people who assail our government for “Taxing and Spending” to fund water and sewer lines, bridges, roads, schools and a range of needed projects that put people to work making a living wage, these individuals never have a problem trotting over to the other end of the Capitol to get projects in their districts placed in the budget! I’ve never seen one turn down a project.
Will President Williams let political practicality trump party principals, or does he allow his charges to leave and go campaign with little to crow about, and no pork to serve up to constituents back home?
And how is it that Senate Dems overwhelmingly supported this Senate budget anyway? A budget that threatens job layoffs, cuts education, hurts Kentucky’s middle and working class families and jeopardizes our most vulnerable citizens? Maybe they were not paying attention; but if they were paying attention, what were they thinking?
Across the country, state politics are being increasingly influenced - on both sides – by national politics. Maybe the Tea Baggers offer a third option for some. But will national strategies score points on p’ball courts [yes, ‘p’ as in political] in Kentucky? For Dems, some have clearly run away from our federal Administration, much to the chagrin of core party faithful.
Their “Moonwalk Over Kentucky” may have resulted in a string of Democrat defeats and contributed to the inability of the state Party to live up to its registrant potential. If that’s true, one would think Dems would get the message: You can’t out-Repub a Repub! A sharp, focused state Party campaign with a consistent, unabashedly Democrat message about our priorities on delivering services, creating jobs and helping Kentucky families could be the ticket that wins back the hearts and minds of a wayward flock trying to “be like Mike”. Such a campaign would at least provide an outlet for selling our own unique brand of Kentucky Democrat spirits – one that speaks to the people! (Hmm...I hear tale you can hear voices if you get a hold of some bad White Lightening, too!!).
One issue I hear being discussed a good deal is the role of the governor’s office in all this. Called irrelevant, if we do NOT pass a budget, the Governor will be very relevant by calling us back into Special Session to complete the job we were sent here to do. Today, a group of us shared a warning amongst ourselves. Our vision is sometimes shaped by our Frankfort surroundings. We would be wise to remember our constituents back home do not have such limitations. Governor Beshear has been actively traveling the state attending many local functions, some of them complete with oversized checks being delivered for one project or another. He is working to ensure state government is functioning efficiently and that we continue as a state to earn our “business-friendly” wings.
Here’s one issue the Governor could take the lead on. It relates to a hot button topic here inside the Capitol and right in front of his office – the ability of individuals to bring and bear arms to meetings of the House and Senate. The larger issue, of course, is the ability to bring and bear arms inside ANY state owned building. While we legislators carefully monitor reports of the growing number of overt attacks on Congressmen and women, their homes and offices following the Healthcare Reform bill vote, we also note an increase in the number of persons exercising their 2nd Amendment right here in the Capitol. I am particularly aware we must examine the safety of ALL state workers as they go about their daily duties at their workplaces. It has been suggested the Governor could issue an edict to resolve the question. I hope you will follow this development carefully and urge the governor to ACT!
The Budget Conference Committee will meet throughout the weekend. It must complete its work by Sunday afternoon IF we are to keep the established session calendar. That calendar calls for Monday and Tuesday, March 30 and 31, to be Concurrence Days. We’ll be deciding whether to concur with or reject Senate amendments to bills. Then our Veto Days begin and Governor Beshear will be deciding which bills he will veto or sign into law. We then have April 12 and 13 to override any vetoes and SINE DIE – the final day – is on the 13th as well.
That is what the plan is, and what the calendar call for. I know it’s hard to believe, but both the plan and the calendar have been known to change! Stay Tuned.
FRANKFORT – Senator Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, has been appointed to a conference committee to finalize details of Senate Bill 4, which would align Kentucky with most other states through the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
“It is an honor to be chosen to serve on the conference committee established to hammer out the details of legislation that would bring Kentucky into a national network of organ donors,” Senator Harper Angel said. “I will work with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to reach a compromise to send to the Governor for his signature.”
Senator Harper Angel was chosen by Senate President David L. Williams, R-Burkesville, to represent the Senate Democratic Caucus as a member of the legislative conference committee.
Senate Bill 4 would add Kentucky to a national registry of 39 states that share information on potential donors, and would specify how a person may indicate the desire to donate organs and who may make the decision if the person dies without indicating that desire.
Senator Harper Angel said Senate Bill 4 clarifies the long-standing medical principle that no caregiver can withhold medical attention, food, or water, in order to hasten death and make organs available – a common concern among most potential donors.
Senator Harper Angel is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 4 with Senator Williams.
If the conference committee reaches an agreement, the bill will be sent back to the respective bodies to be voted upon. If it gains approval from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill will be sent to Governor Steve Beshear to be signed into law.
"With her experience as a legislator and work on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Senator Harper Angel brings to the table a great deal of knowledge and experience to help move the negotiations along," said Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ed Worley, D-Richmond. "I feel confident that she will represent the caucus well and work across party lines to reach an agreement."
Senator Harper Angel, who represents the 35th District, has served in the State Senate since 2005.
Representing Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2010 MEDIA CONTACT
Trey Pollard 202.225.5401
Funds will go toward purchase of snow removal equipment, runway improvements, noise reduction programs, and the construction of a new taxiway
(Louisville, KY) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) joined representatives from the Louisville Regional Airport Authority to announce that more than $9.3 million in federal funding was headed to Louisville to expand and upgrade Louisville International Airport.
“For our valuable corporate citizens like UPS and its thousands of employees in Louisville, these funds will allow our airport to accommodate more of the commerce that helps our economy grow,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “For the millions of passengers that travel through Louisville International every year, projects funded by these federal dollars will help minimize the impact of inclement weather, making it less of an obstacle for ensuring flights are safe and on-time.”
A total of $9,302,923 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will go toward several different projects at Louisville International, including the construction of a new taxiway and the purchase of two new “snow brooms” that will help keep runways clear during winter weather.
$5 million in funding will also go to support the Airport Authority’s voluntary relocation program, which helps residents affected by noise in the wake of the airport’s expansion find new homes.
“We are certainly grateful for Congressman Yarmuth’s support and assistance in securing these grants, as they will help us move closer to completing the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program and provide funding for needed airfield equipment and repairs. In addition, the monies will help the Authority enhance its airfield facilities, putting in place 21st century, state-of-the-art infrastructure,” said Phil Lynch, Chairman of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors.
The funding details – from three separate awards - are as follows:
· $5 million – Discretionary funds awarded by the FAA for the Voluntary Residential Relocation Program.
· $1.6 million – Amendment of a 2007 award to help fund the completion of construction on Taxiway ‘A.’
· $2.6 million – Awarded to help improve pavement conditions, fund apron repairs, purchase new snow brooms, and fund reimbursements for initial land acquisition
YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED... please follow this link and learn how you can ask the government to strengthen laws pertaining to dioxin, which some consider one of the most harmful substances on earth. CHICKASAW PARK LAKE where our CHILDREN feed the ducks and fish, tested positive for dioxin so this hits close to home.
DO SOMETHING PLEASE! If you follow the link there will be a very short background of the issue along with a form letter you can send to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is very little you need to do unless you want modify the form letter to fit your needs. Please tell your friends all over the country that they can make a difference not only for the people here in Louisville but also people in communities all over this nation.
FRANKFORT – Senator Denise Harper Angel’s move to include provisions of texting legislation (Senate Bill 23) in a public safety bill paid off today. House Bill 415, which bans texting while driving, has passed both the Senate and House of Representatives and been sent to Governor Steve Beshear to be signed into law.
“As the session draws to an end, I wanted to salvage this piece of legislation because I knew it would save lives. In reading House Bill 415, I realized that it was a good fit,” said Senator Harper Angel, D-Louisville.
“I fought hard to see this get through the process simply because I believe it is important legislation that will not only save lives, but has the opportunity to train generations of new drivers with safer driving habits. These younger drivers will be prohibited from using cell phones during the first six months of their driving experience,” she added. “I am thrilled today that we have finally taken steps to reduce accidents related to texting.”
Senator Harper Angel has also championed legislation to ban texting while driving during previous sessions.
Senate Bill 23 bans any person operating a motor vehicle in motion on the traveled portion of the roadway from writing, sending, or reading text-based communications using a personal communication device. This includes text messages, e-mail, Internet and instant messaging.
Senator Harper Angel’s bill also prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a personal communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on the roadway. The bill requires holders of an instructional permit or intermediate license to hold their permit/license for an additional 180 days if a violation occurs.
Any person who violates the law prior to January 1, 2011 will receive a courtesy warning. After January 1, 2011, a person who violates the law will be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. All fines imposed by this bill are subject to court costs.
“In Kentucky last year, 53,000 crashes occurred due to distracted driving, 199 of which were fatal,” Senator Harper Angel said. “These numbers are alarming and, sadly, the numbers continue to grow.”
Kentucky joins 20 other states and the District of Columbia that ban texting while driving. In addition, novice drivers are banned from texting in nine states and school bus drivers are banned from text messaging in Texas.
Senator Harper Angel, who represents the 35th District, has served in the State Senate since 2005.