- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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March 19

The Gleaner, Henderson, Kentucky, on fixing Kentucky’s DUI laws:

Some would say that Kentucky DUI laws just aren’t stiff enough. Senate Bill 34 is designed to address that issue and hopefully create a higher level of awareness associated with the penalties for driving under the influence.

Sen. Dennis Parrett, D- Elizabethtown, introduced the bill in recognition of Brianna Taylor, an Elizabethtown High School graduate who lost her life in a terrible crash on Patriot Parkway.

The driver of the other vehicle - who faces a murder charge - had been arrested six times previously for driving under the influence.

But because Michael Todd Hilton’s most recent conviction for drunken driving was more than five years before the fatal crash, this charge is considered a first offense under current law.

This bill would change what is called the “look-back period” in judicial circles. Rather than the current five-year period, the revised law would allow a full decade.

Prosecutors would be able to bring more serious charges for people convicted of multiple DUIs within 10 years. That means potentially stronger penalties and hopefully through jail time and counseling, help reform the repeat offenders of this deadly offense.

Getting a DUI means you have a lapse in judgment. Getting multiple DUIs means you simply don’t care about yourself or the safety of others.

This bill is intended to address habitual offenders and rightly so. Society and the law needs to do everything possible to keep repeat offenders from endangering others.

The Brianna Taylor Act is a step in the right direction.

After passing the Senate and being favorably approved by the House Judiciary Committee, Senate Bill 34 has stalled.

Parrett said the House Floor Leader delayed action because of an unfavorable corrections impact statement. Basically, it is being held because it could cost too much.

The House has a dollar threshold for all bills. If it exceeds that amount, Parrett said it also must be reviewed by the Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

Because his concern has been focused on the cost in terms of human life, Parrett said he was heartsick to learn the bill would be held.

With only two days remaining in this session of the General Assembly, holding is the same as dooming the bill.

But there is hope. In reviewing numbers in the corrections impact statement, a possible flaw has been found. Parrett said when the legislature returns to Frankfort on Monday, he plans to resume the fight for this legislation.

Research has determined that 33 percent of drunken driving convictions are attributed to repeat offenders. This is a habitual problem that needs more attention.

Parrett is to be commended for his continual commitment to this measure. Hopefully, Senate Bill 34 will get the opportunity it deserves.

Online:

https://www.thenewsenterprise.com

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March 25

Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on President Obama trying to bypass Congress in Iran talks:

Because the facts of this matter are so astounding, let’s make sure we have this straight.

President Barack Obama is attempting to deny Congress a voice on a possible deal being negotiated with Iran that has huge national security implications.

At the same time, the media is reporting Obama may submit such a deal to the United Nations Security Council for approval. The implications of this are simply staggering.

With “friends” like Russia and China on the Security Council, could the U.S. expect meaningful help down the road if Iran chose, for example, to deny inspectors access to their nuclear sites?

A bipartisan bill is pending in Congress, with 65 supporters, that would allow Congress to approve any pending deal. The administration has threatened to veto it if passed.

Quite clearly, this is part of a continuing pattern by this White House to try to govern by executive decree.

During the Cold War, presidents of both parties submitted nuclear arms control agreements to Congress for approval.

Admittedly there have been other accords the administration correctly points out where this didn’t happen.

One that comes to mind was a nuclear accord with North Korea over 15 years ago. We all know how well that turned out.

One point reportedly being negotiated with Iran is the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on that country. The fact Congress enacted the legislation imposing sanctions only strengthens the argument that they should have a voice in any agreement that lifts those sanctions.

Given Obama’s effort to bypass Congress, it should not surprise anyone that 47 Senate Republicans took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to Iran’s supreme leader pointing out the unstable foundation of any accord not reviewed by Congress.

Obama was quick to denounce their action, but the aforementioned bill now pending clearly demonstrates that unease over this deal and the administration’s track record in foreign affairs extends across party lines.

Given some of Obama’s debacles in foreign affairs, this is hardly surprising. We submit his dismissal of ISIS and the admission there was no strategy for combating ISIS as junior varsity.

In his January State of the Union, the president cited Yemen as one of our success stories.

Another case in point is Syria. Obama drew red lines warning the U.S. would take action if the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

After Syria repeatedly ignored these red lines, our commander in chief passed the ball off to Congress to decide whether to respond.

It’s rich that Obama passed this hot potato to Congress to deal with and can now argue with a straight face that the people’s representatives have no role to play in a nuclear agreement with a radical regime that not only hates us, but is a threat to our safety and to the safety of our allies in the Middle East.

Online:

https://www.bgdailynews.com

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March 17

The Daily Independent, Ashland, Kentucky, on legislation to help feed the hungry with wild game:

A bill sponsored by State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, should result in nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry (receiving) more of something they now rarely receive: fresh meat in the form of wild game killed by Kentucky hunters.

Webb, an avid hunter, said Senate Bill 55 clarifies the law for donating game meat to nonprofits (and) is on the fast track to becoming law. It passed both the Senate and the House Senate without a dissenting vote and has been sent to Gov. Steve Beshear for his signature, which it is certain to receive if for no other reason than the General Assembly could easily override any veto.

Her bill “would allow for the continued operation of Hunters for the Hungry, a charitable organization made up of sportsmen and women who provide food - mostly deer meat harvested throughout the commonwealth - to food banks and other organizations,” said Webb, the founder of the Kentucky Sportsmen’s Caucus and president of the Executive Council of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses. …

“Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry is a statewide hunger relief program dedicated to providing a healthy source of protein to needy Kentuckians,” said Webb, who represents Boyd, Greenup and Carter counties in the Senate.

Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry says in recent years, the average harvest has grown to 60,000 to 70,000 pounds of meat, which is used to serve more than 560,000 meals a year.

“This is a wonderful use of the resources God gave us,” Webb said. “I am pleased the General Assembly has passed my legislation to allow these charities to continue to feed the hungry with the bounty of the hunt.”

It is not unusual for charities that feed the hungry to receive canned goods, fruits, cereals, desserts and fresh fruits and vegetables from gardens, but gifts of fresh meat are a bit more unusual.

Donating the meat from animals killed by hunters should even be supported by those who are opposed to hunting. After all, it helps assure meat from the animals is not wasted but it instead going to feed people in need.

Online:

https://www.dailyindependent.com


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