Friday, February 29, 2008

A Kentucky Tragedy Remembered

Senator Johnny Ray Turner rose to the floor of the Senate to ask passage of a resolution remembering the 50th anniversary of the America's worst school bus crash. In 1958, 48 children from Prestonsburg and Floyd County got on a bus that would never arrive at their school. No one knows all the details but the bus came down a hill hitting a tow truck and then crashed into a river.

An estimated 500 members of the Kentucky National Guard would spend weeks trying to recover the bodies of the missing. 26 lives were lost that day while 22 young boys and girls would survive.

Having taken the opportunity today to read many of the accounts of this horrendous accident I learned that many of the survivors chose never to attend school again. For some it took weeks to have the courage to get back on a bus. There were parents who lost all their children in the river that day. has a full account of the incident if you want to read further. My thanks to Gary for sharing his picture. Gary has a website paying tribute to old country music in which he includes a song that was written about the crash by W.C. Burchett and performed by Ralph Bowman.

There are many stories that have come from this crash. It is a haunting story about a small community that did not have rescue squad or the ability to respond quickly with the equipment that was needed. There were many young hero's who swam back and forth to save their friends and family before the bus finally submerged under water. One website list the area around the riverbank as one the most haunted locations in the world.

Today, Kentucky remembers.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Escape to the Mountains of Western Maine

It always makes my day when people from out of state contact me to let me know they read the Underground Rooster . Beth Maddaus pictured left is one of these such folks. Beth is an attorney in Maine and has her own Blog called Beth's Stories.

If you love the mountains and the outdoors you will enjoy taking a look at Beth's site. Beth, while growing up and living all over the country has family roots in Hopkinsville and Elkton. The Grand daughter of Martin Standard of Elkton and Sara Higgins of Hopkinsville, Beth claims our area as home. The family house still remains on East 7th street in Hopkinsville which I have pictured below.

Living in Western Maine, Beth practices law from an old carriage house on her property. One could become very envious of Beth's life by looking at her website. If you want to escape the world of politics and Western Ky. for a few minutes, I would encourage you to look at her site whereas she has some great pictures for those who love the outdoors. My best to Beth and thanks for keeping up on the Underground Rooster.Beth site is

Kennedy Speaking Tonight at Murray State

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is speaking tonight at Murray State University as part of their Presidential Lecture Series. I was in attendance in 2005 when former South African President F.W. de Klerk spoke. Previous speakers have included Lech Walesa and last year Benazir Bhutto was the featured lecturer. Bhutto was assassinated in December.

West Ky. In Frankfort: Rep. Baugh

Rep. Sheldon Baugh

House District 16: Logan & Todd Counties
Primary Sponsor of (6) Bills
HB-179: Would require life insurers to notify the Office of Insurance when a policy is paid up; require the executive director of the Office of Insurance to retain the notice for future inquiries from the policy holder. Posted in Regulars Orders of the Day for Feb.20th
HB-180: Amend KRS to allow schools to operate flasher lights at anytime during school hours and school activities. Jan. 10th Transportation Committee.
HB-181: Allow a seller to access electronically readable information on a person's operator' license or persona indetification card by means of a transaction scan device to check the validiy of the license or card for the purpose of age verification for the sale, gift, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, or other tobacco products. Relating to the sale of alcoholic beverages to a minor, to include card verification by a transaction as an affirmative defense; prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or tobacco products to a person determined to be in possession of an invalid license or card by a transaction scan. Jan. 11th Transportation Committee.
HB-812: Relating to property tax administration. To require PVA to update their address records to capture the in-care-of address, to require the PVA to consider the in-care-of address when notices are returned as undeliverable, and amend KRS to require that a deed to real property include a statement indicating the in-care-of address to which the property tax bill may be sent. Posted to the Regular Orders of the Day for Feb. 28th.
HB-283: Exempt sales and use tax LP gas and natural gas used in commercial greenhouses or nursery effective Aug. 1, 2008. Jan. 15th A & R Committee.
HB-404: Relating to theft by deception to include issuing a cold check as a security deposit for rent or lease of real property, issuing a cold check to an auction escrow account, or issuing a cold check for use as a deposit for the purchase of real property. Jan. 30th Judiciary Committee.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Sen. Joey Pendleton and Sen. Johnny Ray Turner pictured above met with representatives of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) Program. The PPA Program is being promoted by the "Help is Here Express" which is a traveling education center making its way across the country to raise awareness and educate people about PPA.

A press release issued by Sen. Pendleton stated, " PPA provides a single point access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies."

More information: 1-888-4PPA-NOW, or

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jody Richards Hunts Down Mutineer

House Speaker Jody Richards pictured right after hunting down a House Member who was caught lying to House Leadership.
Richards took down the squirrely legislator with one shot.

Rep. Tilley Breaks his Maiden

Rep. John Tilley passed his first piece of legislation today in the House by a vote of 96-0. Tilley's bill requires health benefit plans to provide coverage for colorectal cancer screening in accordance with the guidelines of the American Cancer Society. The bill would be effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Speaker Richards Deals With Unethical Behavior

There is no greater breech of ethics for a legislator than to lie or mislead your leadership. Rep. Dottie Sims had committed to voting in favor of Speaker Richards version of a Bill to allow expanded gaming in Kentucky. In the end, without informing Leadership of her intentions to change her vote she reneged on her promise to vote a certain way.

Rep. Sims was not born last night. She is not a freshman legislator. She should be well aware of the of the ethics involved. If your word is no good then you don't have a future in politics. Rep. Sims by her own actions embarrassed not only herself but Speaker Richards and the House Leadership.

I like many have felt that Speaker Richards was too nice for his own good many times. Today, I could not be any more proud of Speaker Richards actions. For Dottie Sims transgressions, she was removed by the House Committee on Committees, which is basically House Leadership, from her position as a member of the House Elections, Constitutional Amendment and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Speaker Richards appointed Tim Firkins of Louisville and John Will Stacey of West Liberty to the Committee. The time has been drawing near for a few weeks for the Speaker to get everyone on the same page and I am glad that he has made an example of someone whose actions have shown the most blatant disregard for ethics and decorum.

Rep. Sims offered up some lame excuse that she had heard from members in her district who were horse people. Yea, right. If your hearing from horse people in Western Kentucky then that means the Amish are going to start racing their plow horses and mules.

This was a defining moment in Jody Richards career in my mind. When I think back to my hero Bill "Boom Boom" Kenton it is exactly what he would have done. You gavel them down when they get out of line.

And may the Lord had His Blessing to the reading of the Word. Amen

Assistant County Attorney of the Year

My congrats to my friend John Lindsey Adams of Hopkinsville who was named the "Assistant County Attorney of the Year" by the Kentucky County Attorney's Association. Lindsey was awarded the honor in Lexington this past week at the prosecutors winter conference. As an Assistant Christian County Attorney, Lindsey has devoted much of his life to public service and community activities. Working to make the County Attorney's office more accessible to the community, Lindsey is the son of a former State Legislator and also the grandson of former State Agriculture Commissioner Ben Adams.

My Presidential Poll

I am sorry that my option to have a poll never works well. I don't have an answer and I don't know how to fix it. I know many of you have informed me that it does not appear on your computer and I have also viewed this from other people's computers. All I can say is I'm sorry.

Casino Gambling Amendment: Now, Later, Never?

The House Elections and Constitutional Amendment Committee failed to pass an amendment that all sides could live with. Voting down two version this morning does not seem to bode well for the future of expanded gambling in the House.

Majority Whip Rob Wilkie and Speaker Pro-tem Larry Clark have sided with the horse industry in their attempt to guarantee that the race tracks will have the opportunity to have a casino. This version failed 5-3 with 3 members abstaining.

House Speaker Jody Richards does not believe that the tracks should be entitled to special treatment and therefore should have to compete for a gaming license just like everyone else. Richard's version also failed to gain committee support and was voted down also.

Governor Beshear who felt like he had a commitment from House Leaders to pass some version was quoted by Pol Watchers as saying that the House needed to get their act together.

There have been a couple of side bars to this debate, one being the rumors flying around that the horse industry is being asked to give contributions to the House Caucus to beef up their position. Some have even reported that the FBI is looking into the matter. A few things seem apparent to me and that is the Horse Industry and the tracks feel like they should receive special consideration and since this sentiment has not been shared by the majority of legislators now they are crying wolf. Governor Beshear may have made promises to them during his campaign but I don't recall Speaker Richards making them any promises.

Rep. Wilkie and Rep. Clark both have tracks in their areas so I can understand their position up to a point but it is obvious that they don't have the power to out muscle the Speaker. It must be noted that all political eyes have been on Greg Stumbo's return to the House and that he has sided with Speaker Richards on this issue. Stumbo commented this morning that the horse industry had bitten their noses off to spite their face and that the Constitutional Amendment may very well be Dead now.

I don't know where this leaves the issue in the General Assembly but I don't see any excitement or much support at all in Western Kentucky on the issue. The most prevalent comment from average citizens is "been here, done that" with the lottery. People are not convinced this will help because they were told the money from the lottery would be used for education and that did not happen.

Gambling already exist for most people who want to gamble in Western Kentucky. They can drive to Paducah, Franklin or Henderson to bet the horses. If they have an account at the track then they can call in their bets. If you have a credit card and a computer then you can bet on line anywhere in the world. Poker machines exist in every private social and fraternal organization in the State. Every community has a beloved bookie who will get you started in this sport of gaming. So, we have gambling.

I would agree that there are probably more people for it than against it in the Urban areas but I'm not buying that the 80% of Kentuckians in favor are from Rural Kentucky. I believe prudent leadership on behalf of the Governor called for making sure he had an iron clad agreement with House Leadership before he presented his legislation. There is not a enough support in Rural Kentucky on this issue for the Governor to try to politically persuade or arm twist Rural Legislators.

With all that being said I believe this has created a leadership mess within the legislature and the body politic in Kentucky. I'm fond of saying that political power is like money. It is never lost. One person's loss is someone else's gain and right now the only person winning is Sen. David Williams. We still have a ways to go in the Session but when it is all said and done it will be interesting to see who is left standing. If I had to bet, I guess I would bet on Speaker Richards and Greg Stumbo because they have the battle experience and the moxie to fight these wars.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Campaigning In Texas

An old friend of mine who is a photo journalist and a Kentucky native is covering the Texas Primary and provided me some pictures. These pictures are from Austin, Texas. I will be providing some thoughts as we get closer to the Kentucky Primary.

Pictured above is Mrs. Clinton who appears to be feeling some discomfort,is having trouble sitting down. Pictured right is a young lady from Austin showing her support for Obama.

Robin Moore Dies In Hopkinsville

It probably made national news before anyone in Hopkinsville knew that Robin Moore had died. Moore was famous for writing the Green Berets, The French Connection and The Happy Hooker.

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Moore served in World War II and later graduated from Havard where he was friends with Robert F. Kennedy. He used his connections with Kennedy to allow him access to the Special Forces for which he based the Green Berets.

Living in Hopkinsville for the last few years provided Moore with being close to the 5th Group which is attached to nearby Fort Campbell.

Friday, February 22, 2008

West Ky. In Frankfort: Rep. Yonts

Brent Yonts

H-15, Representing Muhlenberg, Hopkins & Christian

Primary Sponsor of (16) Bills

HB-46: Establish the Kentucky 21st Century Scholars Program and Fund to provide enrolled students with up to 100% of the total cost of education at any state public college or university minus any federal and state scholarship or grants they may receive. Jan 9th to Education Committee.

HB-50: Withdrawn

HB-54: Require counseling for tenth-grade students related to choosing an academic or career and technical track. Kentucky Board of Education shall arrange the courses of study in an academic track and a career and technical track: require that the state assessments not be given prior to the first week of May of each school year. Jan.10th to Education Committee

HB-65: Establish the Kentucky Medal of Freedom Award for soldiers killed on or after Jan. 1,1991. Must be a legal resident of Kentucky. Reported favorably and posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Feb. 25th

HB-83: Relating to Water Districts(Covers a lot of ground so go to Bill if interested) allowing County Judge Executive to appoint two additional Commissioners with Fiscal Court approval when two or more water districts merge. Allow districts to extend into one or more adjacent counties. Jan. 25 passed House 90-0. Jan.30th to Ag.& Natural Resources Committee in Senate.

HB-126: Require compulsory school attendance between ages of 6-17. Jan.11th to Education Committee.

HB-127: Relating to Guardians. Allowing a guadian to place ward's assets in a bank or federally insured credit union under the same terms and conditions as allowed currently when the fiduciary is itself a bank. Jan 10th to Judiciary Committee.

HB-128: Relating to Eggs. Jan.18th passed House 85-0, Jan.24th to Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

HB-129: Relating to the use of juries in competency hearings conducted in guardianship proceedings. Would allow a bench trial when the parties agree, there is no objection form interested parties and judge finds no cause for jury trial. Jan. 10th to Judiciary Committee.

HB-205: Allow adjacent property oweners that own land adjacent to a lake owned by the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources to apply for a permit to erect structures on the banks, shoreline, orinto the water of the lake. Jan. 10th to Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

HB-251: An act relating to Government Contracts. Jan. 28th passed House 87-0 as amended, Jan. 31st to Senate State & Local Government Committee.

HB-342: Require a child be 5 years of age by Aug. 1st to enter a primary school program. Jan.24th to Education Committee.

HB-379: Establish due process and hearing procedures for classified employees notified that their contracts will not be renewed. Establish right of appeal to Circuit Court. Passed House 94-3.Feb 20th to Senate Education Committee.

HB-463: Relating to Credit Card Accounts. Payment shall be deemed received by the payee on the date of the U.S. Postmark stamped on the envelope. Feb. 6th to Banking & Insurance.

HB-534: Require Insurance carrier to provide notice to a certificate holder, beneficiary, or any individual provided proof of insurance if a workers compensation insurance policy has lapsed, expired, or has been cancelled, terminated, or not renewed. Feb.21st reported favorably by Labor & Industry Committee, 1st reading, to Calendar.

HB-148: Honor former winners of the title of Kentuckky Mr. Basketball upon the occasion of their visit to the chamber. Adopted by voice vote.

West Ky. In Frankfort: Rep. Ballard

Rep. Eddie Ballard

H-10, Representing Hopkins County

Primary Sponsor of (6) Bills

HB- 207: An Act relating to vehicle license plates. Creates a "In God We Trust" license plate. Passed House 98-0 with Committee Substitute. Received in Senate on Feb. 21

HB-284: Relating to Disabled Veterans. Exempts 100% disabled veterans from having to file paperwork with the PVA annually. Passed House 92-0. Reported favorably, 1st Reading in Senate.

HB-303: Related to single family dwellings. To require the adoption of administrative regulations concerning smoke detectors in single family dwellings. Posted Feb. 5th to Local Government Committee.

HB-554: Relating to trespass on retail or commercial premises. To establish the crime of trespassing on retail and commercial premises when a person enters a driveway or parking lot of a business without conducting business, or in violation of posted signs specifying property regulations. Feb 21st to House Judiciary Committee.

HB-593: Relating to Jury Service. Would allow anyone 72 years of age or older to be exempt from jury duty if the so choose. Introduced in House Feb. 20th.

HB-594: Relating to Public Health. Establish that a person with an "eligible medical condition" shall have access to an employee toilet facility in a public and semi-public building.

Logan County Visit

Member of Boy Scout Troop #303 from Logan County spent the day in Frankfort. The Scouts are shown visiting with Sen. Joey Pendleton.

Local Groups Visting the General Assembly

James Madison Middle School

Members of the Patriot Academy at James Madison Middle School in Madisonville, Ky. traveled to Frankfort this week with Mayor Will Cox Jr. to visit the State Capitol.
The students got to meet with their legislators, Rep. Eddie Ballard and Sen. Jerry Rhoads.

Miss Kentucky USA

Sen. Joey Pendleton has been one of the busiest legislators in Kentucky this session. I will be talking about all of his legislation soon. I am pleased that he did take the time to help honor Alysha Harris who is the first African-American to win the Miss Kentucky USA title.

West Ky. In Frankfort: Rep. Tilley

Madisonville Mayor Will Cox gave me a gentle nudge concerning my lack of reporting on what our Legislators are doing in Frankfort this session so I will take that and run with it. I will try to outline what Bills our Legislators are primary sponsors of and their status as well as share what our local politicians have been doing in Frankfort this session.

This will be done in sections to cover Representatives: Tilley, Baugh, Yonts, Dossett, Henley, Ballard and Cherry along with the State Senators from the Pennyrile Region.

One can connect to the General Assembly Home Page and click Legislative Record to go to "Bill Watch". Bill watch is free and all you need to do is sign up by giving a name and password. It allows you to view legislation as well as track it.

We will start with everyones favorite:

Rep. John C. Tilley

H-8 Representing Christian and Trigg

Primary Sponsor of (9) Nine Bills

HB-120: Ky. Education Excellence Scholarship Program

HB-132: Would allow District Judges to approve Notary Publics

HB-147: Would allow Kentucky Dept. of Veterans Affairs to act as a Fiduciary.(As I understand it this would allow KVA to act as a legal guardian for a disabled veteran)

HB-162: Would require Insurance companies to cover the cost of test for Colorectal Cancer Detection. (Tilley has put a lot of time into this legislation) I believe it has been reported favorably twice by the Committee and is ready for the Orders of the Day on Monday)

HB-163: Regarding Military Pay

HB-244: Regarding Edcuation opportunities for Military Children

HB-277: Property tax exemption for broadcasting equipment.(It is important to have a healthy respect for the media when your in politics)

HB-318: Regarding unemployment insurance for military dependents( I think this allows dependents to keep their benefits even if they are transfered out of state)

HB-546: Regarding Domestic Relations.(Who can be against Domestic Relations)

Tilley also has been holding on to his State Income Tax Military Exemption Bill but this legislation will struggle this session because of the financial crisis in Frankfort.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kentucky Democrat Primary and Conventions

Kentucky Democrats

Whereas I have recieved so many emails and calls wanting answers to questions about the Democrat Primary, County Conventions ect.. I am glad to finally provide this information, I think. I would like to thank Jeff Noble of Lousiville who I have relied on to answer some your questions. In my third attempt to get this on my blog tonight I can only hope this works whereas I have been unable to down load it from my files.

This is from the Kentucky Democrat Party and you can go to the KDP web page for more information at

Kentucky Voting and Conventions

Here is a schedule of events for the Democrat Party. Please go to Kentucky Democrat link above for complete details.
Precinct Conventions/ April 5th at 10:00 am
You will meet at your polling location at 10am to elect a man, woman, and youth to represent your precint at the County Convention.
County Convention/ April 12th at 10:00 am
Location to be decided by County Executive Committee. County Democrat Executive Committee shall be elected.
May 15th
Statement of candidacy for National Convention due at KDP HQ by 5pm.
Kentucky Presidential Primary/ May 20th
County/LD Caucuses for National Convention/ May 31st
Delegates to Congressional District Caucuses are chosen to attend the State Convention. These delegates will choose delegates to the National Convention.
Kentucky Democrat Party State Convention/ June 7th
To be held in Lexington at the Lexington Convention Center at 10:00am

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Steve Collins Appointed to Advisory Commission

Governor Beshear has appointed Steve Collins to serve as Chairman of the Historic Properties Advisory Commission. Knowing Steve as well as I do, I think this was a great appointment for both Steve and the Commonwealth.

Steve's appointment brings much more to the table than just being the son of a former Governor. Anyone who knows Steve can attest to his knowledge and passion for Kentucky History. I got to know Steve well while traveling with him during his campaign for Lt. Governor in 1991. I have never met anyone who has the recall for historical facts, names and places as does Steve.

I asked Steve today how he felt about the work of the Commission and he replied "Kentucky has a wealth of historical properties and it is important that we promote good stewardship of those properties and their contents."

Having an appreciation for Kentucky history myself, I have always thought it was pretty neat that Steve and his wife Diane go to sleep every night in the "Veeps" bed. The "Veep" being of course Vice President Alben Barkley. The bed was purchased by Governor Collin's staff as a wedding present to Steve and Diane. I mentioned the bed today in our conversation and Steve shared with me that Alben Barkley had been laying in the bed when he heard the news that he and Harry Truman had been elected. Apparently Barkley had gone to bed when is seemed as if Dewey was going to be elected.

In the Governor's press release the Commission is charged with the responsibility of "providing continuing attention to the maintenance, furnishing and repairs of the Executive Mansion, the Old Governor's Mansion and the State Capitol."

In regard to the Commission's projects Steve said, that at present he knew that there have been some discussions to restore the Vest-Lindsey House in Frankfort.(Vest-Lindsey House pictured above)

My congrats to Steve and I know he will do a great Job with this task.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Momma Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Governor Beshear has released his proposal outlining the specifics for a Bill on expanded gambling:

Who gets what:

-7 racing association licenses available to the following venues. Churchill Downs, Keeneland/Red Mile, Turfway, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Bluegrass Downs and Thunder Ridge.

-5 Free standing casino licenses available in the counties of Daviess, Kenton or Campbell, Boyd or Greenup, Christian, Laurel or Whitley.

-Following preliminary Commission approval, placement of casinos is to be subject to a vote of the residents of jurisdiction.

I guess this is where my questions are. What is the definition of jurisdiction? Will the entire County in which the casino is proposed be considered the jurisdiction or will it just be the city where it will be located.

Here in Christian County the location would probably be near Fort Campbell next to I-24. It could be located in the County or it could be located within the City of Oak Grove. Would all of Christian County vote including Hopkinsville? Would only the County precincts vote or would only the City of Oak Grove vote if it was to be located within their City limits?

Oak Grove City Council has already voted in favor of having a casino but if the entire County voted it would probably be a close vote.

What Will It Cost The Casinos

Casino license fee $50,000

Initial License Fee:
Churchhill Down-$100 million
Turfway-$75 million
Keeneland/Redmile-$100 million
Kentucky Downs-$75 million
Ellis Park-$50 million
Bluegrass Downs-$50 million
Thunder Ridge-$50 million

The Tax They Will Pay

25% of adjusted gross receipts
35% after 5 years
15.65% of AGR rceived by free standing casinos

Who Gets The Revenue

Commisson will retain up to 5 million for operation.
A program on compulsive gambling will receive up to 2 million per fiscal year.

50% to education, including early childhood, primary, secondary and post-secondary.
20% to health care, for those including indigent, seniors and children.
3% to host jurisdictions
5% each to support cities and counties.
17% divided among: Veterans programs, tourism, fish and wildlife,environmental protection, agriculture,livestock research and agricultural easements, substance abuse and economice development in non-host communities.

Creates a 9 member Equine Breed Authority, funded by 1% of adjusted gaming receipts from Racing Association licenses.

It sounds good. Almost too good. I just sure hope that we have a plan "B" if this does not work. I'll let each person be the judge.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Expanded Gambling: Referendum Not Needed?

Do we need a referendum to decide the merits of expanded gambling in Kentucky? Maybe not according to Hopkinsville Attorney and Assistant Christian County Attorney John T. Soyars. Mr. Soyars brought something to my attention this week that he found while taking a cursory look at the website and

I found this interesting and he provided me a copy of an opinion issued in 2005 by Attorney General Greg Stumbo. The opinion written by Robert S. Jones, Assistant Attorney General provides a legal basis for one to assume that Kentucky's Constitution does not require a change in our Constitution to allow for expanded gambling.

The opinion which was requested by State Senator Ed Worley, rest on case law handed down by the Supreme Court {Phalen v. Virginia, 8 Howard 163,12L Ed 1030,1033(1850)} and{ Stone v. Mississippi, 101 US 814,818,25 L Ed 1079(1880)} and goes on to lay a foundation that the framers of the Kentucky Constitution (1890) intended to address "lotteries" not other forms of gambling.

The opinion cites two cases{ Commonwealth v. Douglas,100 ky. 116,24 S.W.(1893)} and {Commonwealth v. Kentucky Jockey Club, Inc., 238 Ky 739, 38 SW2d 987 (1931)} which in the latter case the Court pointed out regarding section 226:

"At the time section 226 was being considered in the convention that framed the Constitution, and amendment was proposed forbidding every species of gambling. Debates of Constitutional Convention p.1172. The delegate who proposed the amendment was asked whether his proposition embraced the prohibition of betting upon the speed of horses, to which he responded that it was his purpose to forbid all species of gambling and all games of chance in every conceivable form. He argued that all gambling was equally wrong, and that it was unfair to denounce gambling in the form of a lottery and to countenance it in other forms, such as betting upon horse races, and the like. The delegate from Lexington argued that it was not the appropriate place to deal with pooling privileges upon race courses, and other forms of gambling, because lotteries theretofore had been licensed by the Legislature, and the object of the pending section was not to deal with any other species of gambling, but to prohibit the Legislature from granting licenses to lotteries. The amendment was rejected, thus indicating that it was the intention of the Convention not to include in section 226 anything but lotteries of the type familiar at the time." Id. at 993.

I'm not an attorney and the opinion does offer up a little more information but none that argues against the above. I think the opinion makes it clear that section 226 and later court cases have dealt with lotteries and the definition of lotteries. Furthermore it seems evident, at least to me, that the power and responsibility to vote on expanded gambling falls squarely on the shoulders of the General Assembly.

Kentucky is not referendum state nor should every controversial issue be put before the voters because if that is the case then we don't need a General Assembly. I personally don't care one way or the other regarding expanded gambling but it does concern me that so much of Kentucky's future is being invested on a issue that the General Assembly could vote on this afternoon if they wanted to. Vote up or down. Let's take a vote and move on so we can sit down and see how much revenue were going to have and where the revenue is going to come from.

I can appreciate Legislators wanting to give the folks back home the choice on such a controversial issue but it's not our job- it is theirs. Kentucky is not a Baptist church and were not operated by the congregation. We have a representative form of government and it needs to carry out its responsibilities. If we vote to have a referendum then at what point do we really know how much revenue will be coming in other than estimates. Kentucky is at a point where we either have to decide to borrow and spend, cut government or raise taxes. As much as I hate taxes and believe as most that we pay too many, the reality is that Kentucky is a poor and small state that has to make some quick decisions. I believe we need to move on accordingly without factoring in expanded gambling. If it happens then great. If it does not happen then great. We are going to have to raise the cigarette tax, cut government and issues some bonds. So let's quit dragging this out and move on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Col. Andrew Horne Quits Senate Race

The Rural Democrat is reporting that Col. Andrew Horne is withdrawing from the race for the Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senate. I met and really liked Horne and thought he would be a fresh face that would sell well in Western Kentucky. I'm sure the reality check for Horne was the uphill battle to finance a Senate race against candidates who have millions to spend. I hope Kentucky politics affords Col. Horne the opportunity to be involved.

Go to my link for The Rural Democrat

Sunday, February 10, 2008

West Kentucky AFL-CIO Labor Council

I traveled to Paducah this past week to the West Kentucky Labor Council to see and hear for myself what has led to the resurgence of organized labor in West Kentucky. As I said after the November elections, I had not been overly impressed with the Unions for many years because of the lack of their membership turnout in elections the past 20 years. In November, the Union influence was heard loud and clear across the First Congressional District. Labor rose to the occasion and made a big difference.

My questions have been why now? and was this a one time fluke? or is Labor really organized and ready to fight for the working men and woman of Western Kentucky on a consistant basis? I think part of that question was answered last Tuesday night when labor again showed up at the polls in numbers to give Will Coursey a huge victory in the Special Election to fill J.R. Gray's House Seat.

I admit that I have been bias in my opinions of Labor for many years. Growing up and participating in politics in the Southern Pennyrile has not provided much of an opportunity over the years to associate with Labor leaders on a regular basis. I was a Teamster for a while in the 90's and my Father's family were and still Union leaders in Cleveland, Ohio. I felt pretty let down when Tom Barlow was defeated and I think that really left a bad taste in my mouth when Tom had dedicated so many staff positions to Labor Folks.

I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to meet and discuss issues with the members. Everyone was gracious and very hospitable. I met Larry Johnson upon arrival who explained to me how the meetings were conducted. Larry also mentioned that there was a great deal of concern for George Wiggins who was in the hospital. A life long member, Wiggins, is the Father of Council President Jeff Wiggins.

I met with Jeff Wiggins who is the President of the West Kentucky AFL-CIO Labor Council (Zone 1) and he afforded me the opportunity to ask a few questions. I asked Jeff what made this past General Election any different from past elections and how did one explain the large Union influence. Jeff said that Union issues were starting to resonate with voters and the Union effort was as organized as he had ever seen it. "We sent letters, we walked the districts and for the first time everyone was accountable for what they were doing." Jeff pointed to Will Coursey's election as a big achievement. "Will Coursey's Mother is a Steel Worker," stated Jeff proudly.

"The Voice of Labor is Being Heard by More People"

Benny Adair who is Vice-President is also KSCM President and the Directing Business Representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. I asked Benny the same questions and Benny stated regarding the recent Union success "the voice of Labor is being heard by more people." Feeling that workers are starting to wake up to the reality of the economy and the present atmosphere in which American workers are having to deal with Adair said, "Non-Union employees are losing everyday and there is a culture of corporate greed."

I would be remiss if I did not take the time to remember W.C. Young (Pictured above with Gov. Julian Carroll). I worked with W.C. on Barlow's staff and he was a fine gentleman. Fighting a life-time of injustice and working to further the cause of Civil Rights in Western Kentucky as well as Africa, W.C. Young blazed a trail helping those who could not help themselves. I am embarrassed to say that I did not know that one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a Union Member is the W.C. Young Award. I have included a picture of Paducah City Commissioner Robert Coleman who is not only a past recipient of the award but also a cousin to W.C. Young. Commisioner Coleman stated at the meeting that it was the "Blood, Sweat and Tears of the Unions that made the Middle Class in America."

A large sign hung on the wall which read: Mourn the Dead, Fight for the Living. I remember seeing this in college with the United Mine Workers. The UMW also made their presence felt this past November in places like Muhlenberg County.

A number of candidates spoke to the group that night and included: Mike Lawerence(who is taking me duck hunting in Ballard Co.) Mike is the Democrat nominee for the House Seat in District 1. Carroll Hubbard and Rick Johnson addressed the Council. Both are candidate for the State Senate. City Commissioner candidates Robert Coleman, Gerald Watkins and Richard Abraham also made their case for continued support from the Council. (Pictured below is State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan with House Speaker Jody Richards)

With the influx of illegal immigration combined with cheap labor and the continual depreciation of the value of the American workforce by big business, I think Labor Unions will continue to have success in places like the Southern Pennyrile. Dana Corp, which voted in the Union left its employees with little choice. I have a number of friends who work there and asked my opinion regarding the vote and I encouraged and supported them to vote Union after hearing about the beating they were taking. As I told them, at the end of the day nobody is going to stand up for you and your family except you. The working men and women of Western Kentucky are going to have to stand up for themselves and if it means more Unions then so be it!!

It was apparent to me that the Union leadership is finally backing up their issues with passion and organization that will lead to continued success throughout Western Kentucky. I believe with strong leaders who are well spoken like Jeff Wiggins and Benny Adair, the Unions will continue to be successful in organizing Western Kentucky.
*All pictures shown by permission of Berry Craig.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Conway Announces Settlement

Jack Conway's office issued the following today:

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that the Commonwealth of Kentucky will recieve more than 1.4 million as part of two separate global settlements totaling 649 million with Merck & Co., Inc.

The settlements involve 49 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Government. Merck is the manufacturer of the drugs Zocor, Vioxx, and Pepcid.

"This is a significant recovery for our Medicaid Program," Conway said. "This case should send a clear message to other pharmaceutical companies that Kentucky will not tolerate blatant disregard for rebate rules."

London Quits Second Congressional Race

The DCCC has quoted a report from Roll Call that Daniel London has decided to step aside and throw his support to Sen. Brett Guthrie in the Republican Primary in the Second Congressional District.

London who is an aide to Congressman Ron Lewis had filed to run at the last minute in an orchestrated attempt by Ron Lewis to hand off the seat to his aide. McConnell got wind of the scheme and was able to talk State Senator Brett Guthrie into running.


It is being reported that yesterday Ron Lewis apologized to Party leaders for the way he handled his exit and is now supporting Sen. Guthrie. Also, London is calling his supporters and asking them to go with Guthrie.

Sen. David Boswell of Owensboro is considered the front runner to win the Democratic Nomination for the Congressional Seat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dawson Springs Votes to Party

I thought that I would never live to see the day that Dawson Springs would vote to go wet. The sleepy little town on the Hopkins County-Christian County line has always been known for its strict morals and staunch conservatism. The home of Steve Beshear. Dear God what is the world coming to.

It appears that the wet forces carried the day with 54% of the vote. I have contacted a couple of friends to get their take on the outcome of this election and this is what I got.

"The local bootlegger died and no one stepped up to fill his shoes or his bottles."

"The thought of having a woman president or a black president was too much for them to take so they have been forced to start drinking".

"Dawson Springs has had everyone coming and going for years, they were never that conservative to begin with"

OK, enough of letting my friends weigh in. Dawson Springs lost the Buckhorn plant which hit their city budget hard so liquor sales was the quickest and maybe only option to make up the lost revenue.

With Pennyrile State Park close by it may be a place for a few slot machines. Now that this issue is on my mind I'm not sure that if Kentucky chooses to have expanded gambling then I think that the State should operate it and it should only be allowed at State Parks. How's that for an idea.

I guess we will never think of Dawson Springs the same way again.

Hopkinsville Rallying Around Abandoned Baby

The Hopkinsville community has come together in a show of support for the new born baby that was abandoned in a church bus at the First Street Baptist Church. An emergency hearing was held today in Christian County Family Court where Circuit Judge Jason Fleming presided over a motion by the Commonweath to give temporary custody of the baby to the Cabinet for Health and Human Services.

Representing the Commonwealth on behalf of the baby was Assistant County Attorney John Lindsey Adams. Adams I'm told work feverishly to expidite legal matters so the Cabinet could place the baby in a foster home.

Sources in the Justice Center have told me that numerous phone calls have come into Judge Fleming's office offering assistance to the baby. I also learned that Judge Fleming also approved a request by the Cabinet to provide the baby boy a name whereas the child has been referred to as the "John Doe Baby". I was informed that the boy was named Matthew Lindsey. Matthew because the child was found in a church bus and Matthew having been an apostle of Jesus. Matthew meaning "gift of Jehovah". Lindsey being the middle name of Assistant County Attorney John Lindsey Adams who took on the childs cause as his advocate.

After hearing this I paid a visit to the County Attorney's Office to try to verify this story about the name. I asked John Lindsey Adams if the story was true and Mr. Adams reply was " I can't confirm or deny the story because of the confidential nature of the case and the fact that the person in question is a minor".

Adams did say " I think it speaks well of our community that so many have come forth to offer help." Adams stated that he had received a number of phone calls from members of the community offering to take care of the child. When asked about the status of the childs health, Adams said that the baby was ok but beyond that he could not discuss any details.

There has been a whirl-wind media storm the last 24 hours surrounding this story and I asked Christian County Attorney Mike Foster what he thought about this incident.

Foster said, "The bad news is that someone abandoned a child in a parking lot rather than taking the child to a hospital or an emergency care facility as authorized by law. The good news is that the baby is doing well and will be placed in a loving home that will hopefully provide the child with a bright future."

Will Coursey Wins House Seat

Democrat Coursey Wins in 6th District

The Democrat nominee Will Coursey won an easy race for the 6th District which includes Marshall, Lyon and part of McCracken Counties. Coursey out paced his opponent by winning margin of 6,136 to 3948.

Republicans Win Senate Race in the 30th

Brandon Simth has defeated Democrat Scott Alexander in the 30th Senate District which includes Bell, Harlan, Leslie and Perry Counties. It is expected that the Republicans may very well pick up a net of 3 seats this Fall. Hubbard is expected to gain one for the Democrats in Western Kentucky.

Stumbo Wins House Seat Back

Link to Rural Democrat to check out East Kentucky Special Elections.

Link also to Pol Watchers for more information on Special Elections.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Campaigning in the House District 6

House Speaker Jody Richards spent the day in Eddyville campaigning for Will Coursey. Speaker Richards was joined by Rep. John Tilley, Rep. Cherry, and Brian Roy in the effort to elect Coursey to fill the vacant seat left by now Labor Commissioner J.R. Gray. The group also consisted of about 15 volunteers who are working hard to carry Lyon County. House District 6 consist of Marshall, Lyon and part of McCracken Counties.

Defense Secretary Visits Fort Campbell

Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates visited Fort Campbell yesterday to meet with the spouses of soldiers who are deployed and getting ready to deploy. This trip marked the first visit by the Secretary to Fort Campbell.

Gates met in private with spouses to hear their concerns and suggestions. 15 soldiers have died since the latest deployment began in October. The last month has been deadly with 8 soldiers beeing killed. More troops from Fort Campbell are getting ready to deploy again.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Corley C. Everett Seeking 3rd Congressional Seat

Louisville native Corley Conrad Everett is seeking the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District. Everett is making such issues as illegal immigration and energy the cornerstones of his campaign.

Everett has been active in Jefferson County Republican politics for a number of years and has also sought office before. Recently, as the committee treasurer, Everett worked to defeat the proposed Library tax in Jefferson Co. The tax referendum failed by a large margin due to the efforts of Conservatives like Everett and Chris Thieneman. It must be noted that Thieneman, a former U&L standout football player had filed for the 3rd Congressional seat but withdrew this week. Thieneman withdrew stating that Mitch McConnell and his staff had pressured him to get out of the race. In disgust at McConnell' tactics, he withdrew and stated that he was switching to the Democrat Party.

In an interview this afternoon with Corley Everett, he offered up some of his positions as well as the difference between him and Anne Northup who is trying to win her former seat back. Everett stated that he was Pro-life and supported agriculture. "Anne Northup was no friend to Kentucky's agriculture community" said Everett.

I think it would be safe to say that Everett is a true Conservative. He supports the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms and believes in government being fiscally responsible. An ardent supporter of a strong defense, Everett said "I would support writing a check for anything that Fort Campbell or Fort Knox needs to carry out their missions".

Stating that he believes that he may be a politcally incorrect conservative, Everett said that he was not convinced of the global warming arguments whereas he believes they are enviormental trends. Everett did go on to say that there are things we can do to protect our enviorment but does not feel it is necessary to go to the extremes as called for by global warming enthusiast.

Everett stated that the Nation needed to be more energy dependent and he strongly supported opening up the Anwar National Wildlife Refuge for drilling oil. "Had Bill Clinton not vetoed this American could have created an estimated 500,000 new jobs". Everett also said that he believed that the opportunity to drill in Alaska would have provided the oil industry the incentives to build new refineries. Advocating coal, Everett said that Kentucky needs to have the opportunity to harvest its coal which would create new jobs and energy for Kentucky.

Regarding the Washington proposal for tax rebates, Everett stated that he did not support this measure for stimulating the economy. Everett said he was opposed to giving rebate checks to people who did not pay any taxes. "Across the board spending cuts and cracking down on Social Security fraud are better ways to stimulate the economy,"said Everett.

Illegal imigration seems to be the biggest issue for Mr. Everett. He advocates no new immigration as well as deporting all illegal immigrants. You can learn more about Corley Everett's campaign for Congress by going to his website:

Domestic Partner Benefits


The State Senate passed SB-112 by a vote of 30-5. The Bill would ban universities and public agencies from providing health insurance benefits to domestic partners. A similar Bill HB-118 is in the House Health and Welfare Committee but it remains to be seen if it will be called up.

The votes are probably there to by-pass the Committee and bring it to the floor since so many Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation. Many West Kentucky Representatives have co-sponsored the Bill. They include: Mike Cherry-Caldwell Co.,Tommy Thompson-Owensboro, Jim Gooch-Webster Co., Brent Yonts-Greenville, Eddie Ballard-Madisonville, Melvin Henly-Murray, and Fred Nesler-Mayfield. A total of 20 House members have signed on as sponsors of the Bill.

Andrew Horne
Lt. Col. Andrew Horne, democrat candidate for the U.S. Senate has released some of his platforms says the good folks at . You can also use my link to your right. You can also go to Horne's website to check him out.