If you've done your time, voting is no crime
I am a longtime supporter of House Bill 70, which restores the vote to hundreds of thousands of felons who have paid their debt. This is critical to the health of our democracy.
I was deeply saddened to see how the Senate changed this common sense and fair legislation into an excessive bill that would hang more than half of the targeted population out to dry.
The five-year waiting period is extreme. There is a waiting period in the original bill in the form of probation and parole. The vote would be granted only after completing a sentence, not upon release from prison.
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Equally troubling is the exclusion of anyone with more than one felony. Prosecutors charge people with as much as possible. It should not matter how many felonies are on your record.
On paper HB 70 gives the right to vote back to those offenders who have paid for their transgressions. It is really about welcoming our fellow Kentuckians back into society and treating them with the respect that everyone deserves. I encourage all Kentuckians to voice their concerns with their representatives at 1-800-372-7181.
Health care a right
Affordable health care is not a legal right but it is right for all. It is not a constitutional issue but an issue of equality.
The Affordable Care Act is a proposition that has many early hurdles to overcome. But once properly implemented it will make us a more unified nation, one that is based upon the "proposition that all men are created equal."
America prides itself on overcoming the most difficult of challenges. And yet, there are naysayers who do not desire to help fellow citizens in this, our epic story of establishing the greatest civilization in history based upon that proposition.
We have established a school system that all children can attend, a military that defends the rights of all the citizenry, not a select few, an interstate transportation network that all can utilize and a judicial system that affords each citizen their day in court. Why not a national health care system, one that is the envy of the world instead of the most expensive and limited in scope?
The Fayette County Public School System has long been an innovative leader of excellence in education. We were completely surprised by the recent article about the budget cuts in which the only specific position mentioned for reduction was school librarians.
Are you serious? We need literate citizens who can competently read and research and use technology safely and appropriately, yet the person who directly supports these things is the only one whose position is listed as part of the budget cut?
Library services are especially crucial for low-income students who may have no other access to reading materials and technology. This budget cut compromises student achievement. The article said, "...everything is under consideration."
It will be interesting to see if administration and coaching will receive a reduction in their positions and ability to support student achievement.
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Wagoner
Nicholasville road rage
On Feb. 20, I approached the intersection of Man o' War and Nicholasville Road at 3 p.m. There was total chaos. The lights were not operating and I didn't see anyone obeying the four-way stop rule.
There were no public workers or police to be seen, so I called the Lexington police, the logical thing to do. I was shocked when a woman answered and I explained the traffic situation. She answered in a rude tone of voice, "We already know about it. It's been that way all day." Then she immediately hung up.
If this situation had been ongoing, why was there no one there to direct traffic and try to prevent accidents? I made it through the intersection by being very careful, once I saw an opening. Then, less than a block away, there was a Lexington police officer with a car pulled over and he appeared to be writing something. There was no way he couldn't see what was happening at the intersection with horns blowing and tires squealing.
I tried without success, to reach the mayor, so I called the police station again, and a different person answered. I explained the situation, and what happened with the prior call. This person said, "Oh, I know who you must have talked to."
How could this situation be ignored all day, with the potential of vehicle damage, bodily injury, or who knows what can happen when drivers get frustrated. This was a perfect setting for road rage.
I recently traveled to Washington to talk about geography education to each Kentucky representative and senator. There are many issues that we face today, like globalization, immigration, and yes, even Corvettes falling into sinkholes. Regardless of your personal affiliation, critical decision-making requires solid geographic analysis. Currently geography is the only content area recognized at the federal level that does not receive dedicated monies.
The Teaching Geography Is Fundamental Act, Senate Bill 370 and House Resolution 822, is federal legislation which would authorize grants to universities and nonprofit organizations for programs to expand geographic literacy and improve the teaching of geography at the K-12 level.
Please take two minutes, click on the link below and support my effort through the Kentucky Geographic Alliance and National Geographic. http://speakupforgeography.rallycongress.com/4342/teaching-geography-is-fundamental-act/.