McConnell's grasp of facts not powerful
Sen. Mitch McConnell's harsh statements on the Clean Power Plan (op-ed, March 3) are not grounded in a factual understanding of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed plan and fail to recognize the serious threats facing our public health and environment from carbon pollution.
Contrary to McConnell's claims, the Clean Power Plan allows states genuine flexibility in their efforts to reduce carbon pollution — while protecting our electrical reliability and economy and taking a powerful step toward curbing carbon pollution.
It is unfortunate that McConnell has ignored several important facts:
■ The EPA is required to control carbon pollution after the U.S. Supreme Court found that greenhouse gases are pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
■ Americans already are facing the costly impacts of climate change.
■ The U.S. power sector is responsible for one in every 15 tons of carbon pollution anywhere in the world.
What we need is to engage in a meaningful conversation about the plan, something that most Americans support.
Former assistant secretary for policy, U.S. Department of Energy; senior advisor, the Analysis Group
Overdose calls can save lives
Overdoses killed 1,007 Kentuckians in 2013 and addiction continues to break apart families across the state.
I know their struggles. My son Alex fought addiction for years. We all suffered as he lost relationships, education, possessions, trust and hope. Because he was able to stay alive long enough to enter treatment and begin recovery, we are a family restored. Alex has finished his degree and looks forward to continuing his education to someday counsel others suffering from this disease. I could not be more proud of him. Those who continue to battle addiction remain at risk for overdose and death.
Kentucky lawmakers should approve legislation that will protect bystanders who call 911 after an overdose, thus increasing the chances of saving a life. Essential is a "no-charge" provision, which will prevent a caller from being charged or arrested for dialing emergency personnel. Alex has testified to the need for such protection before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I hope this measure will pass. We need it to keep our sons and daughters alive.
Land line a lifeline?
A number of people have pacemakers. I have been told that these pacemakers are monitored by a device that needs a land line in order to work. If this is true, then to limit land line connections will be life threatening to a number of people.
Is Gov. Steve Beshear signing the AT&T bill a threat to the lives of these people? This should be verified.
Vote yes on syringe exchanges
The Senate is on the verge of looking as stupid as Speaker Greg Stumbo did last year when he killed the Senate's anti-heroin bill by junking it up at the last minute. Sen. John Schickel and the right-wingers are refusing to approve a House provision permitting local health districts to set up syringe exchange programs (SEPs).
These programs work by giving value to the syringe. Addicts will turn in the entire syringe, not just the needle, instead of throwing them away. This protects children and first responders.
Addicts must comply with SEP rules. Before they get new syringes, they undergo an examination and any infected needle puncture wounds are cleaned and treated, they are tested for hepatitis C and HIV and given counseling on drug treatment.
The centers distribute naloxone inhalers to addicts and their families and friends. Since naloxone has been available in Northern Kentucky, first responders, emergency rooms or friends have used it 25 times to bring back overdose victims from near death. Addicts going to SEPs are demonstrating they want help. Give it to them.
One out of three police officers has been stuck by needles carried by addicts or found on the street. Think of their safety.
Edward L. "Ted" Smith Jr.
Count 'em for teachers
In case there was any doubt, a tally of the House vote on House Bill 4, which would shore up Kentucky Teachers Retirement System pensions, reveals which party cares more about our teachers.
The "yes" votes: Democrats, 53; Republicans, 8. The "no" votes: Democrats, 0; Republicans, 31. Abstaining: Democrats. 0; Republicans, 6.
It will be interesting to see how the Senate vote plays out. It would behoove anyone who cares about this issue to make your voice heard.
Keeping restrooms comfy
The Senate decided people who make other people uncomfortable shouldn't be allowed in school restrooms. This is fantastic news. While I have no beef with transgender folks, I do not want one portion of the population in the restroom at the same time as me: Other men.
I'm not saying there's any legal, ethical or moral reason that other men shouldn't be allowed in public restrooms. I just think they're gross. And based on the Senate debate, the reason for feeling uncomfortable doesn't really matter.
The Kelty family doesn't explain why their daughter, Christina, is uncomfortable with transgender girls using her restroom. It must not matter. Because if it did matter, if there were a reason like, let's say, the misguided belief that all transgender people are immoral and sexually-charged, that a girl with male genitalia in the next stall would be more inclined to commit sexual harassment or assault than a cisgender heterosexual girl, if there were a reason like that, someone would immediately point out that believing such a thing is extremely ignorant and highly offensive. But no one's asking why they are uncomfortable, so I assume it doesn't matter, just as long as I'm comfortable.
For felon voting rights
I strongly agree with columnist Merlene Davis that ex-felons should be allowed to vote. For several years I have joined with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to lobby in Frankfort for the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons who have paid their debt to society and whose crimes were non-violent. I think it is time for House Bill 70 to pass out of the Senate, be placed on the ballot and voted on by the people of Kentucky.
I believe that not only should everyone have a voice in how our government is run, we also have a responsibility. So many people who can vote choose not to, while the people I have met who are trying to get their rights back, want to fulfill their responsibilities. It's time to give them the opportunity.
Privacy for non-transgender
As one who experienced the pain and humiliation of being bullied in junior high school, I want the safety and dignity of transgender students to be protected. On the other side of the coin, I have not heard any opponent of Senate Bill 76, the Student Privacy Act (a good bill), express any concern about the privacy needs of non-transgender students.
During my grade-school study of civics, I learned that a legislator's job is to enact legislation that will be best for society as a whole. It is imperative to provide for the needs of both transgender and non-transgender students. It is unacceptable for one group to have its needs met and the other having to just suck it up.
SB 76 provides for separate facilities for transgender students. which opponents say will result in transgender students suffering more bullying. School administrators can proactively deal with this by issuing a stern warning that no bullying will be tolerated and then back it up with strict enforcement. Please urge your representative to pass SB 76.
John D. Boone