Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


September 13, 2013

RONNIE ELLIS: No scientific data needed for these words



“These standards do not have the support of the people of the commonwealth,” said Bowen. “They do not. What determines good public policy is what the people want.”

I didn’t get a chance to ask the conservative Republican, but presumably that means he believes the two-time election of Democrat Barack Obama “is good public policy (because that) is what the people want.”

Now understand this was an entirely bi-partisan vote. Only one person, Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, voted for the regulation.

Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown, passed. But he voted for the selenium regulation, citing at the time not only the advice of DOW staff but also the proper role of the subcommittee.

Back then Lee said that under Kentucky law, the subcommittee’s job is simply to determine if the agency proposing the regulation has the legal authority to do so.

“If the agency has the authority under KRS to promulgate this regulation then it’s almost our duty to send this regulation forward,” Lee said.

But this week, he passed on the regulation about what Kentucky’s students should understand after completing a course of study, a regulation promulgated by the Department of Education.

Lawmakers often ask to “explain my vote” on controversial issues, but I seldom quote those explanations because they usually are little more than political posturing. Very rarely do such explanations attempt to explain why an unpopular vote is actually in the best interest of the public.

In this case, the real reason – political pressure – was clear enough and some lawmakers, including Bowen and Lee, to their credit, said so. But I think it useful to remind lawmakers that every now and then someone actually listens to what they say. It’s just hard sometimes to take them at their word.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.


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