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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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March 9, 2018

The people came to the Capitol today to show their opposition to Senate Bill 1, the Pension Reform Bill. The Senate Democratic Caucus stood with teachers, school employees, public employees and retirees.

The bill did not get a vote on the floor and has been recommitted to committee. The people’s voices are being heard. Democracy in action.

Above, Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, and other members of the Kentucky Democratic Caucus, went down to talk to protesters and show support.


Rosalind Turner
Leadership Staff
Senate Minority
Legislative Research Commission


March 9, 2018


Is Lawrence County next?

A walk-in was scheduled and carried out for Friday morning at Boyd County Schools to raise awareness for a pension bill and what the proposed changes could do. Kentucky state Senators say the bill would save taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next 20 years and stabilize one of the country's worst-funded public pension systems.


Opponents say all it does is change and reduce the retirement for state employees.

"They're taking away money that was promised," Missy Conley, president of the Boyd County Education Association, said. "Our pension was a promise to us many years ago. They borrowed money from it, and now they can't pay it back."

"We're going to be losing all of these qualified teachers because they're not going to want to teach in Kentucky," teacher Angie Heyerly told WSAZ.

Conley says the teachers were inspired by the actions of West Virginia teachers during their walk-ins and eventual strike.

"They were trailblazers," Conley said. "They kind of set the stage for us."

The walk-in did not impact the school day. Teachers were out with their signs and waving as students were being dropped off, and when the bell rang they went inside and started the day as normal.

However many state employees have spoken and made it very clear that It’s only a matter of time until Kentucky stands up for the promises made to them.

Melissa Gray, 7th Grade EXPLORER TEAM Collaborative TeacherMelissa Gray, 7th Grade EXPLORER TEAM Collaborative TeacherI reached out to a 7th grade teacher, Melissa Gray at Boyd County Middle School and she stated, “We are not only fighting for our pensions, we are fighting for our students! They deserve adequate funding and we believe that a promise of a pension should be kept," Ms. Gray said. "This not only affects teachers but it will have an impact on the entire state of Kentucky. It is time to come together and support each other, cuts in education never heal and we are never better for them."

"Our Kentucky kids deserve the best. We have done our part funding the pension, now it is their turn and they need to do so without punishing the teachers."

"Thank you to all that have shown support. I have also reached out to a couple of Lawrence County teachers, and they were busy with the professional development training today, but I’m certain that this is not the end of Kentucky’s stand."


March 8, 2018

Grimes says there is still time for a compromise

Ky. Secretary of State Allison Grimes spoke at a Medical Cannabis Press Conference earlier this year. Ky. Secretary of State Allison Grimes spoke at a Medical Cannabis Press Conference earlier this year.

FRANKFORT - Kentucky lawmakers shelved Wednesday a controversial bill to legalize medical marijuana, but supporters of the measure pledged to continue their fight.

Some backers of House Bill 166 were in tears after the House Judiciary Committee voted 14-4 to “pass over” the measure. That’s a procedure to put off voting on the bill until a later date.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, said it’s doubtful the proposal will be revisited in this year’s legislative session but “anything is possible.”

Eric Crawford, a quadriplegic from Maysville who supports medical marijuana to ease his pain from glaucoma and a 1994 accident, said after the vote that he is more optimistic than ever that Kentucky eventually will join the 29 other states and District of Columbia that allow the use of marijuana to treat certain illnesses.

“I will be here next year during the session to get medical marijuana legal,” Crawford said.

Virginia and Tennessee are considering similar proposals this year.

The Kentucky bill would require a doctor to recommend medical marijuana before a patient could get it. It would be distributed through a state-regulated dispensary.

A city or a county would have a local-option vote to allow medical marijuana. If the local government didn’t act within two years, residents could petition for a vote, similar to a wet-dry vote.

Rep. Jason Nemes, a Louisville Republican who made the motion to pass over the bill, said there’s still a chance the bill could be considered again this year if some changes are made to it.

Nemes said he believes medical marijuana can help people but he does not like several provisions in the bill, especially one that would allow each medical marijuana patient to possess up to 12 mature cannabis plants. “That seems excessive,” he said.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who formed a special panel last year headed by Sims to work on medical marijuana legislation, said she hopes Nemes is serious about reaching a compromise.

“I truly hope this is not a tactic to stall or kill the bill,” Grimes said in a statement. “I’m counting on Rep. Nemes to keep his word, craft a meaningful compromise, and work to get House Bill 166 passed this session. Kentuckians overwhelmingly support medical cannabis. They are tired of waiting and will remember inaction at the ballot box in November.”

The House committee held three hearings this week to hear from supporters and opponents of the bill.

State Rep. Tom Burch, a Louisville Democrat who supports the bill, predicted Kentucky will be the last state to legalize medical marijuana.

By Jack Brammer
Lexington Herald-Leader