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Policy

We Should Ban Child Marriage

We Should Ban Child Marriage

A bill proposed by Sen. Julie Raque Adams that would provide court oversight on petitions for a marriage license for 17 year-olds (SB48), is set for a second hearing in my committee tomorrow morning, and I plan to call the bill for a vote.

After working with Donna Pollard (Survivors' Corner) and the Family Foundation we have arrived at an amendment to the bill the requires parental consent, but critically requires a court to review the petition to prevent the same kind of abuse that Donna Pollard experienced as a child.

Contrary to what was believed by so many on social media, the bill sponsor and I worked together on this amendment and the bill was never not going to be heard.  I said as much after our first hearing on the bill back in February.  I’m looking forward to seeing it pass committee in the morning and then hopefully be voted on the Senate floor soon thereafter.

For those asking, the amendment (known as a “proposed senate substitute”) is attached below.

Initial Proposed Budget

Initial Proposed Budget

Every two years the Legislature convenes a "long" regular session, running 60 legislative days.  During this even-year session we draft and vote on the Commonwealth's biennial budget.  This process takes many months, but the document itself gets it first official unveiling when the sitting Governor of the day makes his or her State of Commonwealth address in mid-January.  Last week, Governor Bevin gave his address to a joint session of the Senate and House and the following day the various budget bills were filed in the House (where law requires all appropriations bills to begin) and the legislative process begins in earnest.

Below are the budget bills for you to download and review if you're curious.  The bill must pass the House (where it will certainly change shape), before coming to the Senate (where it will change again), and then customarily a free conference committee is formed (made up of House and Senate members) to hammer out a compromise.  Once a unified version of the bill has passed both chambers it heads to the Governor for his signature or veto.

Pension Reform Proposal

Pension Reform Proposal

UPDATED (9:59am CST): According to the Governor's office, the hazardous section was mistakenly omitted from the first document.  I have replaced the linked PDF below.

Senate, House and Executive Branch leadership have met for months discussing and debating what reforms we should pass to address Kentucky's ailing pensions systems.  The finer points of the legislation itself (a bill I'm told that is in excess of 500 pages) is still being put through statute revision (a key step in all legislation to check for errors) and proofread.  In the meantime, the folks working on the bill have prepared a summary of key points based on the bill.  Again, this is not a wishlist.  These provisions are contained in the bill itself.

Click below to download the summary:

As soon as the legislation is available I will be posting the full text here on the blog so be sure to bookmark the site, follow me at the links below to catch all the updates.

Race to the Bottom

Race to the Bottom

I'm deeply discouraged by the announcement of Churchill Downs and Keeneland today regarding their plans for a racetrack in Oak Grove.  As I have been since I first ran for the Senate, I am staunchly opposed to gaming – it is a regressive tax, targeting the middle and lower income earners, and in this case, the military families that live in and around Christian County, many of whom already live on meager salaries.

I believe gaming is bad for the area and the rest of the Commonwealth, and the opening of a racetrack, while adding a few jobs and bringing in some revenue, comes at too steep a price for the community.

Unfortunately, I don't have a vote on this in the legislature, but it is my sincere hope the racing commission denies their application for a license.  If I have any influence on the project I hope that I can stop it.  I'm for all the jobs and economic development we can find for Christian, Todd and Logan counties (and the rest of Kentucky), but not from gambling.  I wish there was a way to help Kentucky’s signature Thoroughbred industry thrive without it.

Right to Repair

Right to Repair

An interesting public policy debate is happening across the country right now that runs across industries as diverse as cell phones and John Deere tractors.  In fact, those two examples are the subject of cases that have been in the news recently, presenting this question:

Do we have a right to repair the goods we buy? 

My instinctive response to that is, of course, yes.  And thank goodness, right?  I'm at the tail end of what is likely the last generation  (for a while) of consumers who are willing to fix things that break or wear out rather than running to the store for a new one. In fact, even my own inclination often follows the latter path when it comes to technology gadgets. But my oldest brothers (born in the 70's), and certainly my parents (born the in 30's and 40's) nearly always prefer the former.

It also strikes me that this policy ground should be already well plowed. Third-party (vs. manufacturer) repairs are not new.  Think of your car.  The Advance Auto Parts of the world wouldn't exist if we weren't allowed to be our own shade tree mechanics.  So why is this debate stirring up now?

Here are three stories of note worth checking out. The third is particularly interesting (and troubling) because it's about an internet-of-things manufacturer taking an affirmative step to remotely halt a device from functioning out of spite.  What do you think?  Do we have a right to repair?