Congratulations to Knox Central High School on THREE regional championships! Our boys basketball team, the boys basketball cheerleading squad, and the girls basketball cheerleading squad all won the region. Way to go!

Hopefully by the time this newspaper hits the streets on Wednesday, we are celebrating the Panthers win in the first round of the state tourney! This team comes together, plays hard, represent themselves and all in their school well. They are winners!

Speaking of representing others well, I think this Panther’s team could teach our state legislators in Frankfort a thing or two! Here’s what I mean.

The folks in Frankfort get all the money they spend from us! We pay taxes so they can provide roads, schools, and other goods and services we expect. But, it is NOT their money. It’s ours! They are “hired” by us. We pay them to review, carefully discuss, and accurately account for the funds used to serve our collective “greater good.” Because it’s our money, how they spend it –every dime – I think should be determined in an open and fully transparent manner. Don’t you?

But it is not! Attacks on transparency in government from inside Frankfort have now reached a “crisis stage in Kentucky.” That’s according to the National Freedom of Information Council. The foundation notes, “In a shocking effort by the Kentucky Legislature to undermine government transparency and accountability, Rep. Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) has introduced HB 387, which aims to make it harder for Kentuckians to know how their tax dollars are being used by the commonwealth to lure and incentivize businesses to locate there.”

If this were the only issue it would be bad. But, other bills introduced this session would make other thing less visible. Combine that with bills introduced, some of which became law last year, the pattern is absolutely shocking! For example, laws were passed or proposed to:

  • Dramatically “close” Kentucky’s 40+ year old open records laws
  • Let government agencies and school boards in the 7 largest counties in the state post notices on government / school controlled websites, not in the press.
  • Last year, some public agencies in Kentucky actually filed lawsuits against members of the public for simply asking for public records.
  • Four different state universities spent funds to sue their own student newspapers, denying them access to information, even after the attorney general ruled in favor of the students.
  • In Kentucky, we know good basketball and good government when we see it. We also know if government won’t let us see, and sues us for asking, things are NOT good!

Jay is the majority owner of Nolan Group Media, which includes eight weekly newspapers and a printing facility covering Southeastern Kentucky

Publisher, The Mountain Advocate