News briefs: Feb. 15, 2013

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By The Staff

Hornback’s Hemp bill

gets rousing approval


The Kentucky Senate on Thursday afternoon passed Senate Bill 50, the legislation filed by state Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) to set up an administrative framework for the re-introduction of industrial hemp into Kentucky’s economy.

The vote was 31-6.

“I am extremely proud of the Kentucky State Senate for its commitment to job creation in Kentucky,” state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a proponent of the bill, said in a statement released by his office. “Today’s bipartisan vote is the first step toward more opportunities for our farmers and jobs for Kentuckians.”

The ag department’s release said the passage occurred just hours after the release of a Harper Polling survey that showed that 65 percent of likely voters believe industrial hemp is not a drug and that legalizing the crop would create jobs. Only 19 percent believe legalizing hemp would hurt marijuana eradication efforts, and a mere 16 percent believe the issue needs further study.

 “I am grateful to Sen. Paul Hornback for taking the lead on this issue, and I am hopeful that the House will be inspired to act favorably upon his bill,” Comer said.

The bill on Monday had passed the Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Hornback, after testimony from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Kentucky), U.S. representatives John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) and Thomas Massie (R-Vanceburg) and former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey .

Yarmuth, Massie, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have signed onto federal legislation that would exempt industrial hemp from the definition of a drug.

Massie had cosponsored a bill in the House to allow for legalization, and on Thursday Paul and McConnell joined Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in introducing legislation to allow American farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp.

“The Industrial Hemp Farming Act paves the way to creating jobs for Kentucky,” Paul said in a statement announcing the bill.

In other developments in the General Assembly’s session:

  • A bill that would raise the school dropout age in Kentucky from 16 to 18 by July 2018 passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 87-10. House Bill 224, sponsored by House Banking and Insurance Chair Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, and Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, now goes to the Senate for consideration, according to a news release from the state's Legislative Research Commission. Kentucky’s compulsory school attendance age of 16 was set in 1920. Today, a high school diploma is necessary to join the military and for most types of employment, Greer said.
  • A panel of experts would provide comprehensive reviews after child deaths and near-fatalities caused by abuse or neglect under legislation that cleared the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday afternoon. House Bill 290 would establish, by statute, an external child fatality and near fatality review panel. The panel would continue the work of a panel created last year by governor to review child death and near death cases caused by abuse or neglect. The legislation would allow the new panel to view unredacted copies of case files regarding child deaths or near deaths, according to a news release from the Legislative Research Commission. “It’s the first time that we will finally get transparency,” said HB 290 sponsor Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee. “I think everybody now is on board.” HB 290 now goes to the full House for consideration.


Lincoln Day Dinner is Saturday

The Shelby County Republican Party on Saturday will hold its annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Claudia Sanders Dinner House. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m., with registration opening  at 5:30.

Rand Paul will arrive at 6 p.m. to sign copies of his latest book, Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds. Copies of the book for purchase will be available at the book signing, and the proceeds of $20 per book will go to the Shelby County Republican Party.  There also will be silent and live auctions.

Paul will also be the keynote speaker, but U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Vanceburg) and U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green) will be guest speakers, too.

To purchase a table or individual seats, contact Jennifer Decker at 502-773-2326. For more information, contact Decker or Debbie Riggs at 502-592-9058.


Rotary announces speech contest
The Shelbyville Rotary Club announces its annual high school speech contest. The theme for the contest is “Peace Through Service.” All interested high school students in Shelby County are encouraged to talk with their speech teachers or English teachers to secure additional information about the contest. Material regarding the contest has been delivered to all county high schools.

Competition will be at 10:30 a.m. March 2 at First Christian Church in Shelbyville. There are cash prizes of $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. Plus the winner will compete for sectional, regional and district prizes ranging up to $2,200.

The speech must address the topic and be 5 to 8 minutes in duration. No notes are allowed. Judges will consider delivery, originality and content.

For more information, contact J. Howard Griffith at 633-2763.


College, career night set

East Middle School, West Middle School and the Youth Service Centers from both schools will host a College and Career Readiness Parent/Student Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at West Middle.

John Leeper and Eddie Oakley, principals from Collins and Shelby County High Schools, respectively, will talk to parents and students about Project Lead The Way programs and the Accelerated Academy, along with highlights about all of the things that Shelby County students can take advantage of at area high schools.
Speakers expected to attend will represent Sullivan University, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Jefferson Community College, Shelby Area Technology Center, ROTC, and Kentucky State Upward Bound Program.


SCHS’s SBDM meeting 
Shelby County High School’s Site-Based Decision-Making Council rescheduled its monthly meeting to next Thursday. This regular called meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in the main office conference room.


I-64 lane closures possible

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from the Welcome Center to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the roadway-widening project. Lane closures are scheduled Sunday through Friday from 7 each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday. The eastbound exit to KY 55 South (Exit 32A) is closed for several months because of ramp construction. Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.