I know it’s hard to pay attention to what’s going on in Frankfort, but if you were, you deserve to be upset right about now. You’ve got virtually nothing to show for your $1.5 million.
You’re paying your legislators for this unnecessary short session. We used to only have legislative sessions every two years, but lawmakers somehow convinced us it was necessary to send them to Frankfort every year in 2000. And because of politics and the fact that Republicans and Democrats can’t compromise, only a few bills have gotten through. One allows optometrists to perform some surgeries, an action that ticked off opthamologists. But the optometrists had more lobbyists and money, so they won.
Another bill will reform antiquated prison laws that have filled Kentucky jails with non-violent drug offenders. I’m all for modernizing state laws that cost the state money.
And today there’s news that Glasgow Rep. Johnny Bell has gotten a bill through the House that would allow fireworks to be sold in the state. His logic was that he saw too many people in Tennessee enjoying fireworks, and learned they were from Kentucky, and couldn’t understand why we have laws against selling fireworks. Think of the tax bonanza!
It passed in the House 92-6, but I’ll be surprised if the bill is passed, or even discussed, in the Senate.
Now I don’t have a problem if stupid people blow their body parts off lighting up fireworks, so I think it’s a good idea to stop the flood of Kentuckians going to adjoining states to spend their money on exploding chemicals. After all, we’ve got a world-class medical facility here that specializes in putting severed hands back on. But, as Mandy Connell was discussing on her radio show today, why doesn’t the same logic work for an activity that involves real money — gambling.
I suppose fireworks don’t have the “sin” cache that gambling does. It may separate idiots from their body parts, but at least it doesn’t separate stupid folks from their money. And rural legislators don’t fear that the church crowd will vote ’em out of office for supporting an activity that’s not considered immoral.
Kentucky lawmakers don’t even try to legalize gambling any more, even though it was Gov. Steve Beshear’s primary campaign promise three years ago, and even though the state is desperate for cash. Even as Metro Government planners dream about how great a casino would be in soon-to-be-empty Borders store on 4th Street Live, no Louisville legislator has a plan to get a sensible gambling bill through the stubborn state Senate, where David Williams simply says NO anytime the subject comes up.
Don’t expect anything meaningful to come out of Frankfort. It’s time to send those guys home. You should ask for a refund.