Editorial Cartoon

Legislators returned to both Frankfort and Washington, D.C. this month to do what they were elected to do: represent us, the people.

We encourage our readers to help them do that.

The U.S. Constitution starts with these three words, “We the People.” That’s because democracy does not work without its people — the folks who are out here working and living in this country every day.

As Americans, we have the right, the honor and the privilege of living in a democracy, a form of government that allows —  and also requires —  us to be part of the solution. If our citizens are not active in the processes of our government, then how can democracy thrive? If we’re not talking to those who are leading us, how do they know what we want or need as Americans?

If we’re not there to tell our legislators what we think, then how can they understand what voters from their home districts really want? If they received no input from the people they represent, does that force our legislators in Kentucky or Congress to rely on polls or lobbyists to tell them what they should vote for or against?

Our representatives have a lot on their plates. On the federal level, our congressional leaders have a pile of legislative matters — things that impact how your federal tax dollars are spent as well as a historic impeachment trial planned to start this year. On the state level, our leaders are charged with setting a budget that this state will adhere to for the next two years — deciding where to spend billions of tax dollars paid by Floyd County residents and businesses, as well as a slew of other matters.

In the Kentucky General Assembly, legislators have already filed several measures, including bills that would:

• Increase minimum wage

• Require some employers to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave for a for employees

• Prohibit flavored vaping products and/or tax them

• Waive fees for driver’s licenses and ID cards for disabled veterans

• Allow fiscal courts to levy a fee on property tax bills for the provision of emergency medical services

• Increase the pension income exclusion from $31,110 to $41,110

• Protect pay for coal miners when coal companies go bankrupt

• Provide financial help to buy insulin

• Urge Congress to enact the Lower Health Care Costs Act

• Expedite research about the safety and efficiency of using medical marijuana

• Decriminalize the use of recreational marijuana and regulate the production and sale of it

• Create a task force to study how state agencies collect and share data

• Propose a change to the Constitution stating that Kentucky does not protect a right to abortion or funding of abortion and keep state funding away from organizations and people that support abortion

• Provide scholarships to spouses and children of emergency response personnel and public employees who die in the line of duty

• Require statewide candidates to provide five years’ of federal income tax returns to the Registry of Election Finance

• Abolish the office of lieutenant governor

• Prohibit legislators from getting paid for a special session if they failed to pass a budget in the regular session

• Establish term limits for senators and representatives

• Allow persons who obtain a drivers license to automatically submit an application to vote

• Require law enforcement to enforce immigration laws, prohibit local governments from adopting sanctuary policies and withhold funds from colleges that enroll, employ or contract with illegal aliens

• Repeal the law allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit

• Permit casino gaming, sports wagering

• Adopt year-round daylight saving time in the state

Those are just a few of the thousands of things legislators will be pondering this session. Are any of them important to you and your family? If so, why wouldn’t you want to share your thoughts with your senator or representative?

There are many ways for Floyd County residents to contact their representatives. When contacting legislators, you should include your name, address, email address and your phone number.

Here are some ways you can connect with the Kentucky General Assembly and Floyd County  legislators this session:

Kentucky General Assembly

• Website: legislature.ky.gov

• Phone: 502-564-8100

• Senator Johnny Ray Turner

702 Capital Ave.

Annex Room 254

Frankfort, Ky. 40601

(502) 564-2470

• Rep. Ashley Tackett Laferty

702 Capital Ave.

Annex Room 432D

Frankfort, Ky. 40601

(502) 564-8100, ext. 636

U.S. Congress

• Website: congress.gov

• U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers:

2406 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

(202) 225-4601

• U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-2541

•U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

167 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-4343

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