Letters to the Editor

Eyes, teeth and Capitol access

Officer Chris Smith, with Facilities Security for the Kentucky State Police, worked at a new security station at the tunnel leading from the Capitol annex to the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Several new security measures have been put into effect at the Capitol. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on Jan. 4 signed an emergency regulation outlining procedures for the state Finance and Administration Cabinet to implement to “protect the health, safety and welfare of visiting members of the public, as well as staff” in the two buildings and other state facilities and grounds.
Officer Chris Smith, with Facilities Security for the Kentucky State Police, worked at a new security station at the tunnel leading from the Capitol annex to the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Several new security measures have been put into effect at the Capitol. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on Jan. 4 signed an emergency regulation outlining procedures for the state Finance and Administration Cabinet to implement to “protect the health, safety and welfare of visiting members of the public, as well as staff” in the two buildings and other state facilities and grounds. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Marijuana won’t treat glaucoma

There is an important conversation about the use of recreational and medical marijuana across Kentucky and the United States. While the use of alternative and complementary medicines is increasingly being recognized, I urge caution with any suggestion that marijuana is an appropriate treatment for the eye disease glaucoma.

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States, and the biggest risk factor and modifiable treatment parameter for the disease is intraocular pressure. Since the 1970s, we have known that using marijuana lowers intraocular pressure; however, the effective duration is a maximum of four hours. Unlike other approved therapies, this effect of marijuana is very limited and subsequent fluctuations in the intraocular pressure may be harmful for patients with the disease.

At therapeutic doses, marijuana lowers blood flow to the optic nerve, which may counteract any potential benefit of lowering intraocular pressure. The Institute of Medicine, American Glaucoma Society and American Academy of Ophthalmology have all taken positions that marijuana isn’t an appropriate treatment for glaucoma.

Marijuana isn’t currently a recommended treatment for glaucoma. If a patient has glaucoma or is interested in treatments for glaucoma, they should consider discussing it further with an eye care professional.

Daniel B. Moore, M.D.

University of Kentucky

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Lexington

Keep access open

There’s an emergency regulation (200 KAR 3:020E) up for public hearing on on Feb. 22. It’s no secret Gov. Matt Bevin has a poor relationship with Kentuckians. It’s also no surprise legislators felt the pressure from state employees. However, this regulation continues to block constituents’ access to legislators and the democratic process with an added financial barrier.

I understand the need for safety measures; however, that should not mean we sacrifice our ability to be heard and seen by our legislators. It’s easy for staffers and legislators to ignore emails or letters. It’s much harder to ignore people expressing their concerns.

We should not have to fight red tape, one of Bevin’s pet peeves, and pay fees to apply for access to the people’s house. We also should not be barred from access to special sessions because the application process will prohibit constituent access (given the four hours’ notice of the latest special session).

This regulation makes unburdened access to the Capitol more difficult for the elderly and those with disabilities. This regulation is ripe for potential lawsuits, and though the governor is no stranger to this, our budget could use a break.

Rachel Newton

Florence

Capitol belongs to people

For many years I have given my time to help the citizens of Kentucky by working on laws to improve government. For nearly 30 years I have been going to Frankfort regularly, sometimes as a registered lobbyist and sometimes as a concerned and interested Kentuckian. Registered lobbyists don't (or shouldn't) get exclusive access to lawmakers by paying fees. They are registered so regular citizens will know what the paid lobbyists are doing.

Gov. Matt Bevin's latest rule says that “groups must register to assemble” at the people’s house. According to the Bevin rule, "rally" means a gathering of four or more visitors for the purpose of actively promoting a cause.

Maybe the State Police in the capital should be wary of the rally of men wearing ties and suits assembling every day in the Capitol and Annex. Bevin isn’t worried about AT&T or the Chamber of Commerce showing up with hordes of lobbyists. But four or more teachers, or folks from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, now they need to be “regulated”.

Bevin doesn’t want to govern so much as he desires to rule.

Ray Tucker

Somerset

Waffling mountain Dems

If the Democrats in Eastern Kentucky would stand behind their political party, we would not have all these Republican problems. Amen.

Duke Martin

Lexington

Fluoridation crucial

As a 30-year dental hygiene professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, I oppose Senate Bill 37 and House Bill 97 allowing communities to stop fluoridation of their water. In some states there is constant turmoil because each city has its own fluoridation policy. I’ve always been relieved we have a Kentucky mandate requiring a very minimal amount of fluoride be added to community water systems.

If you picture a one-liter bottle filled with water, then the amount of fluoride in it is the size of a granule of sugar. This amount of fluoride has reduced decay by 25 percent in two ways. Systemic fluoride works in children by strengthening enamel in teeth that are still forming and then in all ages by bathing fluoride (carried in saliva) over already-formed teeth. If you have seen the children who come to our dental hygiene clinic in pain due to dental decay and abscesses you would never want to lessen the amount of fluoride available to them.

Please look at the 70 years’ worth of scientific evidence and listen to the dental professionals who work in public health. Tell your state legislators to vote no on these bills.

Janella Spencer

Coordinator/Professor of Dental Hygiene

Bluegrass Community and Techncial College

Lexington

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