- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


March 3

The Morehead (Kentucky) News on non-judicial foreclosure bill:

Thank goodness that last week’s effort - apparently supported by mortgage lenders - to sneak a bill through the Kentucky House of Representatives on real estate foreclosures was exposed and then hastily abandoned by its sponsor.

We understand that the mortgage business is not flourishing these days but House Bill 470, identified as non-judicial foreclosure, surely cannot be the fairest and most sensible solution.

The legislation’s apparent purpose was to make it easier for mortgage lenders to foreclose on borrowers who have fallen behind, even slightly.

Why would we give an unfair advantage to bankers at the expense of individual homeowners, many of whom find themselves in such situations through no fault of their own?

And we want someone to explain why the bill received two floor readings before it was to be heard in the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

Rep. Jeff Greer, the sponsor and committee chair, was bombarded by objections and wisely canceled the committee meeting and announced he would withdraw the bill.

Essentially, HB 470 would have allowed a lender to quickly foreclose a mortgage without going to court and without giving public notice to the borrower.

Under current law, a lender must go to court to prove it has the right to foreclose and to show that the borrower is in default. And all of that must be reported publicly through published legal notices.

If HB 470 had become law, the burden of going to court would have fallen on the borrower whose only notice would have been three mailed notices, none of which would have required a return receipt.

The proposal also would have set up a fast track process of 120 days, the same as currently allowed when the lender can show a property has been abandoned.

The loss of a family home is a traumatic event, regardless of the circumstances. Surely we don’t want it handled like a drive-by shooting




March 3

Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Israel needing U.S. support:

The U.S. has no better ally in the Middle East than Israel.

Israel has always had our back. Before President Barack Obama became commander in chief, we always had Israel’s back. Since he became president, relations between our countries have become strained. Obama has visited Israel only once and that wasn’t until after he was re-elected in 2012.

These aren’t the actions of someone who respects and supports one of our strongest allies in the region.

As many know, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the United States at the request of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and was to appear today before a joint session of Congress to discuss the looming Iranian nuclear threat.

Netanyahu is addressing a serious issue. Iran has publicly vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

Out of respect for our strongest ally in the region, you would think Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, who also is president of the Senate, and Secretary of State John Kerry would take time out of their schedules to meet with Netanyahu after ample notice was given of when he would be here. None planned to be at the meeting with the Israeli leader. In fact, Biden and Kerry scheduled plans after it was announced Netanyahu was coming to the United States.

Kerry was in Geneva on Monday beginning a new set of talks aimed at reaching a framework nuclear deal ahead of a late March deadline. Some have argued negotiating with Iran, which last week blew up a replica U.S. aircraft carrier with rockets and artillery rounds near the Strait of Hormuz, would leave Iran on the cusp of developing a nuclear weapon.

Their avoidance of Netanyahu sends a horrible message to the people of Israeli and our country’s Jewish citizens. It sends a message that we don’t have their back and are more concerned with working with a terrorist country such as Iran than we are working with one of our biggest allies.

Speaking ahead of his address to Congress at the annual conference of American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, Netanyahu said his intentions aren’t to disrespect Obama, but are to speak up for his people who are under a looming threat from Iran.

Netanyahu made a very good point when he said, “U.S. leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”

He was referring to the possibility of the United States reaching a bad deal with Iran that could threaten his country’s survival.

We don’t believe Netanyahu or most Americans object to negotiating to halt to development of nuclear weapons. A bad deal that just delays development or lacks foolproof verification is where his concern is. Since Iran is now developing ICBMs, our country fails to take these concerns into account at our peril.

Critics of Netanyahu speaking before Congress say Boehner didn’t follow proper protocol in inviting him to the U.S. We simply disagree. Mr. Netanyahu would’ve been waiting a long time before he got an invitation to the White House. Boehner gets it. He realizes the ally we have in Israel. By inviting him, he is showing Netanyahu and his countrymen that we have their backs. It’s a shame 55 Democrats in Congress are also boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said in so many words that is was shameful that these Democrats weren’t attending the joint session and he, too, took issue with the silent treatment Netanyahu is getting from the Obama administration.

The Obama administration from time to time says it supports Israel, but top officials’ absence from his visit to the United States certainly doesn’t support that assertion.

Netanyahu’s concerns must be viewed through the prism of centuries of persecution of Jews culminating in the Holocaust when an estimated 6 million Jews lost their lives. If “never again” means anything, we should carefully listen to his misgivings about the framework of an Iranian deal to ensure that any deal is adequate to not only protect our Israeli friends and other allies in that region, but ourselves as well.




March 3

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on smoke-free bill:

If the Kentucky state Senate includes any “Trekkies,” they ought to step up now in support of a bill to make public places throughout Kentucky smoke-free.

“Live long and prosper” was the signature line of “Star Trek’s” beloved Mr. Spock, the character played by Leonard Nimoy.

Except Nimoy couldn’t live by that advice. He died last week of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a lung condition brought on, he acknowledged, by years of smoking.

COPD is just one of a host of deadly diseases that afflict at some of the nation’s highest rates Kentuckians who smoke as well as people exposed to that smoke. Lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other smoking-related illnesses kill Kentuckians by the thousands each year.

Nearly another 1,000 die from exposure to cigarette smoke of others - secondhand smoke.

In a refreshing display of political courage, the Kentucky House on Feb. 13 summoned the votes needed to approve House Bill 145, which would make most public places such as offices, stores, restaurants and bars, smoke-free.

But the bill has run into inexplicable obstruction in the state Senate.

Some are declaring the bill dead for this year, The Courier-Journal’s Tom Loftus reported Tuesday.

Senate leaders signaled their lack of interest by offloading HB 145 to the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, where the chairman, Sen. Al Robinson, a London Republican, opposes it. By doing so, they bypassed the more logical committee assignment to Health and Welfare, where the chair, Julie Raque Adams, a Louisville Republican, supports HB 145.

Senate President Robert Stivers, who claims to care about the health of Kentuckians and is actively lobbying for a cancer research center at the University of Kentucky, has done nothing to advance HB 145 in the Senate.

“I just don’t think it is the role of government to start telling private businesses what they can and can’t do from that perspective,” Mr. Stivers told Kentucky Health News.

And Senate Republican Leader Damon Thayer, of Georgetown, fell back on the usual squishy legislative excuse of lawmakers who just don’t want to deal with anything too challenging.

“We’ve got a lot of other things we’re trying to get done this week and that’s just not a priority,” he said.

Really? The lives of Kentuckians aren’t a priority?

Workers exposed to smoke of others don’t count?

Children who suffer and could die from asthma aren’t a priority?

The fact that Kentucky leads the nation in smoking and has the highest rate of lung cancer and lung cancer deaths isn’t a consideration?

The fact that a broad, bipartisan coalition of groups such as the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Hospital Association, hundreds of health advocates and a majority of Kentuckians favor such a law doesn’t matter?

Lawmakers are claiming it’s too late to deal with the smoke-free bill in this session, which ends March 24.

That’s hogwash. Or as Spock might say, “Highly illogical.” Lawmakers can do just about anything right up to midnight on the last day if it matters enough.

Kentuckians who believe the HB 145 matters should contact the legislature at 1-800-372-7181.

Better yet, tell lawmakers in person. Mr. Robinson’s committee meets Thursday in Frankfort at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Annex, room 169.





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