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March 30, 2018

State lawmakers have adjusted their 2018 legislative calendar to delay the start of a recess period and allow the Senate and House to convene on Monday, April 2. They hope to have a final state budget agreement ready to be voted on that day.State lawmakers have adjusted their 2018 legislative calendar to delay the start of a recess period and allow the Senate and House to convene on Monday, April 2. They hope to have a final state budget agreement ready to be voted on that day.


FRANKFORT -- Efforts to reform the state’s public pension systems have taken a winding road and faced uncertain prospects at times since the issue came to the forefront of public discussion last year. But after making changes based on input received from stakeholders throughout the General Assembly’s 2018 session, public pension legislation reached the end of its legislative journey this week as lawmakers approved a bill on the issue and delivered it to the governor’s office to be signed into law.

One notable change to the legislation in recent days was removing a provision that would have reduced the cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers. The previous proposal would have reduced that adjustment from 1.5 percent to 1 percent, but there’s no such reduction in the plan lawmakers ultimately approved.

The goal is to stabilize pension systems that face more than $40 billion in unfunded liabilities. More funding is one part of the plan, according to the proposed state budgets both chambers have approved but, as of this writing, have not come to a final agreement.

Changes proposed by the pension reform legislation, Senate Bill 151, are aimed at shoring up the system in a number of ways, such as by placing future teachers in a hybrid “cash balance” plan rather than a traditional benefits plan and by limiting the impact of accrued sick leave on retirement benefit calculations.

While much of the focus at week’s end was on the movement of the pension legislation, a number of other bills also received final approval and were sent to the governor this week, including measures on the following topics:

Prescription medicines. Senate Bill 6 would require a pharmacist to provide information about the safe disposal of certain prescription medicines, such as opiates and amphetamines.

Terrorism. Senate Bill 57 would allow a person injured by an act of terrorism to file a claim for damages against the terrorist in state court.

Police cameras. House Bill 373 would exempt some police body camera footage from being publicly released. It would exempt the footage from being released when it shows the interior of private homes, medical facilities, women’s shelters and jails or shows a dead body, evidence of sexual assault, nude bodies and children.

Abortion. House Bill 454 would prohibit a certain type of abortion procedure, known as a D & E, if a woman is more than 11 weeks pregnant. The legislation does not ban other types of abortion procedures.

Lawmakers have adjusted their 2018 legislative calendar in order to convene the Senate and House on Monday, April 2, with hopes that a state budget agreement will be reached between the chambers at that time. A legislative recess is scheduled to begin on April 3, with lawmakers returning to the Capitol to adjourn the session by April 14.

Citizens who want to share feedback on the issues confronting our state can do so by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.

 

March 22, 2018

Easter Prayers In America - We Need It

by Glenn Mollette


The gospels of Matthew and Mark identify the place where Jesus prayed shortly before his betrayal by Judas and then later his trial and crucifixion as Gethsemane. Jesus was accompanied by three of his followers, Peter, John and James, whom he asked to stay awake and pray. During his agony as he prayed, "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44).

As much of the world will celebrate or at least recognize Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter a common ritual will take place at all the events - prayer. Every Holy Week service will have at least one if not several prayers. The same will be true with all worship, Christian events on Good Friday and Easter. Prayer is always commonly associated with worship, church events, potluck dinners and almost any activity associated with Christianity.

Prayer has been a point of focus for millions of Americans. We've even battled over whether we should pray at school, ballgames and political gatherings. Unfortunately many Americans may not be praying at home which is where everyone has the complete freedom to do so without harassment or consternation from anyone else.

Jesus knew he was facing more pain than any human being could withstand. What he would experience during his trial and crucifixion was evil and barbaric. Emotionally, spiritually and physically he tried to prepare himself for something that he or no one could really prepare for yet he realized how vital it was to pray with intensity never quite like anyone before. The scriptures say he prayed, "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground."

Many of us have prayed fervently. Many years ago I held my dead stillborn son for over two hours and wept without ceasing. I prayed as I wept that I would wake from this nightmare. I prayed that our little boy would awaken and cry as other newborn babies do but while I prayed with everything in me that little baby would not come to life and would later be buried in a grave where I still visit today. There have been many other times I have prayed in agony. I prayed for the healing of my wife of 27 years who died from a long illness of multiple sclerosis. I have prayed for other people and in other scenarios. The prayers did not stop death from coming to my wife nor has prayer necessarily changed a lot of other stuff that I prayed for or about along the way.

When Jesus prayed it did not alleviate the cruelty of the cross or make his treatment from evil people any easier or better. His treatment could not have been any worse. Why did Jesus even bother to pray? Why do you even bother to pray?
Prayer is a spiritual event of the heart and mind. Prayer often prepares you mentally and enables you to deal with what is going on. Prayer is about something that is beyond us. Prayer is about the unseen. It's about the spiritual and is all about bringing God into the scenario.

Jesus did not in any way fail in his prayer life. The intensity of his prayer was truly answered as Jesus accomplished what he set out to do and that was to take the sins of the world on him as he suffered, bled and died on a rugged cross. The ultimate victory is seen in that God empowered him to come back to life conquering the grave, death and sin for all of mankind. Nothing was more beautiful to the followers of Jesus than seeing a risen, living Jesus. Thomas a follower exclaimed in marvel upon seeing the risen Jesus and the nail prints in his hands, "My Lord and my God."

We need prayer in America. We need it bad. Our federal and state governments are in bad shape financially. Mismanagement, selfishness and chaos abound all around. Our schools need prayer. Our young adults in America are more lost than ever before. Families are suffering and torn apart. Homelessness continues to grow. We have become a nation that believes our only hope is to legalize more drugs, build more casinos, enact more taxes yet all the while we need more mental health workers than ever. We cannot hire enough security guards and arm them fast enough for our schools and other public places because our country is becoming scarier than what our soldiers are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the while little unborn babies are not safe in America and the aged in America continue to increasingly work out the rest of their lives in order to survive.

Are we a happy people in America? Happiness comes and goes based on the events of the day it seems but overall there is a sense of emptiness and struggle in many Americans.

While you are buying Easter candy this week take time to pray. Prayer doesn't always bring about what you specifically pray for. Sometimes it does and many times it does not. Just remember in his hour of greatest struggle that's what Jesus did - he prayed. More than ever we need to pray for others, our country and ourselves.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states.

READ HIS NEW BOOK - UNCOMMON SENSE

Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Learn more at www.glennmollette.com Like his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette

 

March 18, 2018

UPDATED 3/19/18

Fletcher cancels school for March 21 so teachers and staff can attend Frankfort ANTI-PENSION PLAN rally

 

Lawrence County teachers and Supt. Rob Fletcher joined in the protest against Gov. Matt Bevins budget and pension plan.Lawrence County teachers and Supt. Rob Fletcher joined in the protest against Gov. Matt Bevins budget and pension plan.

 

Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed a lean budget which contains the controversial "pension provision"  which has not yet made it out of the state senate.

State workers including teachers, who have a separate but equally in peril system should Bevin's budget pass,  are out in numbers against Bevin.

He asked for a reprieve in a statewide story this morning. Gov. Matt Bevin took to Facebook Saturday night, urging citizens to contact their legislators and ask them to address the ailing pension system for state workers.

Bevin said in a four-minute Facebook video that the teachers’ retirement system will likely run out of money in 12 to 15 years unless structural changes are made.

But opponents say Bevin is overstating the pension problem which has more solutions than cutting state programs to the bone and messing with inviolable contracts.

 

 KEA members protest with signs in the Capitol KEA members protest with signs in the Capitol

Many Lawrence County teachers, social workers, state employees, police, and any other state pension plan participant have voiced their disagreement to the plan which, they say violates their "inviolable" contract. 

Lawrence Co. Teachers association calls Bevin budget 'far right libertarian'

Scott Osborn is President of the local KEA affiliate, the Lawrence County Teachers Organization.

Here's his official statement requested by thelevislazer.com

LC Teachers Association president Scott Osborne is joined by LCHS Teachers Sue Schutzberg and Romana Short at the Capitol on March 7, 2018LC Teachers Association president Scott Osborne is joined by LCHS Teachers Sue Schutzberg and Romana Short at the Capitol on March 7, 2018

“...In response to the Governor’s far-right libertarian war on public education, law enforcement, local government, and state pensions, we are joining the demonstrations that have been going on across the state.  

Dr. Fletcher has supported us every step of the way, even standing on the line with us as we staged walk-ins this week.”

Dr. Fletcher, himself a member of the pension program,  has been sending small teams of teachers to represent Lawrence County at the Capitol.  

Teachers Scott Osborn, Romana Short, and Sue Schutzberg joined LC retirees Sam Lyons, Sharon Kinner and Rosemary Borders were even in the room when the Senate Budget Committee sent Senate Bill 1 to the Senate floor.  

 

They joined many angry state employees, including other teachers, road workers, the teamsters and law enforcement personnel.

“Right now, we are facing the prospect of a regional work stoppage on March 21 to rally in Frankfort.  As of now, Lawrence County schools will be open.  (UPDATE Dr. Fletcher has decided to cancel school on March 21 for the rally in Frankfort. At the board meeting tonight, there will be teachers, parents, and staff attending to show their appreciation for Dr. Fletcher and the Board of Ed through this trying time.)

LCHS teachers demonstrate during a Walk-In at LCHS on March 13, 2018LCHS teachers demonstrate during a Walk-In at LCHS on March 13, 2018

Dr. Fletcher and the BOE plan to send a delegation of 16 staff members by bus. Many of our members are in discussions with our Board members concerning this issue.”

KY educators raise their voicesKY educators raise their voices

LCOT members, KAPE members, and non-members plan to attend Monday night’s March Board meeting to seek clarification for our plans, as well as to see where the BOE truly stands in Popular LCHS Government teacher David 'Chico' Prince said: "I feel the time for action is now. Public education is under attack?...Popular LCHS Government teacher David 'Chico' Prince said: "I feel the time for action is now. Public education is under attack?...relation to the Governor’s plans for our pensions as well as his budget, which will kill the Lawrence County school system.

David Prince plans to speak on behalf of unaffiliated teachers (teachers who don’t belong to either KAPE or KEA)."

Here is what Prince released to The Lazer today:

 

"I feel the time for action is now. Public education is under attack and unless we take a stand, we will continue to see negative legislation that is detrimental to the system. Districts will suffer, teachers will suffer and ultimately, the students of Kentucky will suffer."