Senate Bill 9 Abortion Bill – Called the Fetal Heart Beat bill passed the Senate 31 to 6. It was an emotional time concerning the presentation of this Bill with two women from opposite ends of the abortion debate giving their testimonies of how abortion affected them. The entrepreneur from Louisville just felt that it was a clump of cells and had no emotional connection. The other woman, who was from Texas, survived a forced abortion attempt by her mother, said they have a face and heartbeat, they are human, so all babies deserve to live. The Pro-Live group, led by State Senator Matt Castlen (R) of Owensboro, even had a pregnant woman in her first trimester undergo a heartbeat ultrasound on the Senate floor, stressing the importance of human life in the first trimester. This demonstration alone pushed what Senate members may have been wavering to vote. Senator Denise Harper Angel (D) of Louisville, opposed the Bill and her argument was that with such scarce funds, she could not understand why Senate wanted to spend money on an unconstitutional Bill like Senate Bill 9. Some from the Senate are saying those that are for it say, “bring it on”, because they want Kentucky to be the first state to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Senate Bill 150 - Bill to carry a gun without a permit – This would do away with a concealed weapons permit. You can openly carry a gun now without a permit, but it cannot be concealed. This Bill would change that. There is some concern, because a gun can be carried without training. The NRA says it is our right to carry openly and should, also, be our right to carry concealed. It is a powerful Bill, especially for Kentucky how predominately pro-gun. Protestors were upset, because this Bill was presented on the one year anniversary of the Parkland School’s shooting. This Bill passed the Senate 29-8 on February 14, 2019, and is on to the House for a vote.

Senate Bill 1 – School Safety – This Bill will come with quite a price tag that will have to be shared with the State and the school districts, according to Education Commissioner, Dr. Wayne Lewis. This will help more school resource officers being placed in schools and more mental health counselors for the students. There is some concern as to where the money will be coming from, because there has been lots of cuts to education in the past few years. Districts in rural communities, like Lee and Owsley, do not have the money in the General Reserve Fund to spend for this for their schools even though it is so desperately needed. (NOTE: David Lyons, Representative for the Lee County Board of Education, approached the Beattyville City Council in January about putting resources together to be able to place a school resource officer in the Lee County Schools. The City Council agreed). School Leaders throughout Kentucky are all for school safety, but simply do not have the funds to do so. There are several other education bills, including this one, coming forward in the future that Educators are hoping will help bring education to the forefront concerning the state budget.

House Bill 136 – Medical Marijuana Bill – Rep Diane St. Onge (R) of Ft. Wright and Rep Jason Nemes (R) of Louisville are backing this Bill that looks to help Kentuckians who have debilitating illnesses and excruciating pain. This Bill will make medical marijuana available for up to 60,000 Kentuckians. They filed this Bill on January 16, 2019. A resolution was added to this Bill the week of February 13, 2019 to have the federal government to do more research on medical marijuana. This resolution was proposed by Kim Moser, who oversees the control of drugs in Northern Kentucky. Advocates feel this is just a delay tactic. Governor Bevin indicated that we would sign House Bill 136 in support of the medical marijuana as long as it is written correctly. Senate President, Robert Stivers, is opposed to this Bill.

Editor/GM, The Beattyville Enterprise & Booneville Sentinel