Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 4, 2013

RONNIE ELLIS: Look out below! General Assembly time again

FRANKFORT — Oh Lord! On Tuesday lawmakers return to Frankfort and the fun begins.

I’m actually looking forward to it, though I’m concerned that says something I’d rather not know about myself and my emotional health.

It reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie title, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Lord knows there are plenty of all those things.

There are some really good people in the General Assembly. More than enough that I fear if I start naming them I’ll leave someone out. Despite what a lot of the public believes, there are people who come to Frankfort with a sincere desire to improve the lives and conditions of their constituents.

They sometimes actually offer really good legislation that could make Kentucky a more progressive place or help people. Of course the better the legislation, the more likely a swarm of well-paid lobbyists will work tirelessly to defeat it.

We’ll see bad legislation, sometimes to lend a helping hand to those who need it least, and we’ll witness ugly behavior. Because the “Bully from Burkesville” has departed, some think we’ll see more comity.

I am skeptical.

I don’t think David Williams was responsible for all bad things in the legislature. Others, including the governor, Democrats and the House, sometimes act in petty ways, too.

I don’t know about comity but I expect a lot of comedy; tragi-comedy might be a more accurate term.

Where is Shakespeare when we need him? Then again, given some of the behind-the-scenes, dark-hearted behavior, venality and intrigue perhaps Faulkner would be more appropriate.

Things kick off Tuesday when both chambers convene and the House chooses new leaders. There are challengers for leadership posts in both the Democratic and Republican House caucuses. Senate Republicans and Democrats have already chosen their leaders.

The more interesting plot is probably among House Democrats where Johnny Bell is challenging Tommy Thompson for Democratic Whip; Arnold Simpson is challenging Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark; and reportedly Sannie Overly will challenge Caucus Chairman Bob Damron.

My advice to the challengers: you better win. Life won’t be much fun if you lose.

Republicans will choose between Adam Koenig and John “Bam” Carney for their new Whip. Word from the Courier-Journal’s Tom Loftus, tweeter extraordinaire, is that Brad Montell and Steve Rudy will challenge Bob DeWeese for the job of caucus chairman.

We’ll see bills to monitor special taxing districts. But will those bills turn over funding and operation of libraries to rural magistrates, some of whom may never have been in one?

Is it reasonable to think lawmakers, who for years failed to fund the retirement system, will find a way to make the full payment in the next budget as a task force recommends?

While the federal government just increased income tax rates on the wealthy, the recommendations of the governor’s “Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform” shift the burden from the rich to the middle class.

How will the governor sell that idea and how many lawmakers are willing to vote for anything that includes any tax increase even if paired with cuts in other taxes? Already several bills are pre-filed to add still more exemptions to the sales tax.

He wouldn’t be Steve Beshear and this wouldn’t be Frankfort if we don’t have some sort of expanded gambling proposal.

Did I mention that we still need a redistricting plan?

We’ll see bills on abortion, Republican attempts to impede implementation of “Obamacare,” and endless resolutions naming something for someone most of us never heard of.

And I’m looking forward to this. Can anyone recommend a good counseling service?

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.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone