- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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March 17

The Ashland Daily Independent on local school employees supporting the community:

Area schools and their employees never cease to amaze.



Given all the uncertainty of the current times, we adults have a pressing responsibility to establish a sense of structure for our children. We must not let any panic permeate to them.

It’s difficult enough for us grown-ups to fathom the mysteries we face. Instead of pretending everything is fine, we can communicate to our kids that, even when we plunge into a block wall of adversity, we can persevere.

Last week as schools heeded orders to close, employees penned a plan to help the kids about whom they care so much.

Food service workers passed out breakfasts and lunches and they’ll continue to do so as long as possible. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted Kentucky schools a waiver under which they can receive reimbursement for the cost of meals.

This service will impact our kids in such a positive way. It will instill in them the desire to always help others in times of an apparent crisis.

These wonderful area teachers and administrators prepared thorough plans to help push through these tough times all while maintaining some semblance of “normalcy.”

Understandably, not every area child has the luxury of depending on someone to apply these NTI lesson plans, but the teachers are working hard to do their part.

Parents and guardians must also do theirs. It’s time to step up and put your children first.

Can you imagine a young mind trying to comprehend all of this?

Let’s take advantage of this time, too - if feasible - to teach our children basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, maintaining a vehicle and treating others with respect.

A big “thank you” is appropriate for area school employees as they continue serving our kids.

Online: https://www.dailyindependent.com

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March 17

The Lexington Herald-Leader on the status of the General Assembly’s session:

We are in a crisis and we are pulling together as #teamkentucky to battle our way through a global pandemic that could change our lives dramatically and forever. We very much want to believe Gov. Andy Beshear when he says there should be no politics right now, only Kentuckians.

Unfortunately, cynicism is winning at the State Capitol, as Republican lawmakers make very clear that COVID-19 -and a locked-down Capitol building - is also a great opportunity to sneak in some legislative victories away from the public eye. On March 17, the House Judiciary Committee posted the agenda for its March 18 meeting, which includes Senate Bill 1, a controversial and unnecessary bill to talk big about immigration, while confusing state agencies about what they’re supposed to do about it.

Under normal circumstances, people would come to the Capitol to protest and rally against such a poor piece of legislation. But these are not normal times; they are so abnormal that the General Assembly should obey the recommendations of our federal government to not hold meetings of more than 10 people.

On March 17, Gov. Beshear gave the General Assembly two very reasonable choices: pass a budget quickly and go home, and don’t bother with non-essential legislation (such as SB 1). The other? Go home and let him call a special session to pass the budget and any legislation related to COVID-19. “Don’t consider laws that get people fired up,” Beshear said at his briefing. “It’s not healthy, it’s not what we should be doing.”

What he won’t do is call an open-ended session where lawmakers can do whatever they want. Beshear also noted he’s done with politics, and he’s right.

Lawmakers can parade their favorite causes when the world is no longer falling apart. It’s not just that most lawmakers are in some kind of high risk category of age or ill health and should stay home to avoid enacting some grand Darwinian experiment. It’s that the people’s business must never be conducted in this crisis-filled, closed-door reality in which we are living right now.

Lawmakers should rise to the occasion and show the kind of leadership that we’re seeing in the governor’s office. Be part of #teamkentucky. Go home.

Online: https://www.kentucky.com

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March 13

The Bowling Green Daily News on possible cuts to public library funding:

It is hard to imagine a community in Kentucky without libraries.

Libraries are a staple of life, where our children go to check out books to read for entertainment and for school. They also provide many other fun activities, with science labs for children, computers with kids’ games, and classes where kids gather to hear a library employee read to them a Dr. Seuss book or some other children’s book, as these are learning tools for them. Overall, libraries are a place to relax with a good book or computer program for children and adults to gain knowledge.

Every community of a certain size should have a library in this state, period.

We believe the majority of our readers would agree with this, as well, and you would think our elected officials in Frankfort would agree. But this year’s budget bill passed by the House on March 6 would cut funding for libraries by $5 million over the next two fiscal years.

Additionally, of the $5.38 million remaining in annual direct local aid for Kentucky library districts in the House budget, the bill includes a provision requiring that those funds can be used only on constructing new facilities.

With these massive cuts, some libraries across our state may be forced to close, which is very disturbing, because it would leave a great void in any community impacted.

This we simply cannot allow to happen.

The administration of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told the Courier Journal that this cut could cost the city’s public libraries up to $570,000 of funding over the next two years.

Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Fischer, said losing these funds “would exacerbate the budgetary challenges our libraries are already facing.”

Louisville is the largest city in our state, so it might be able to sustain these hits a lot better than smaller cities. But having said that, we don’t condone the legislature picking on any city, no matter how big or small.

What’s even more concerning about this is the impact on the smaller, rural communities who depend on this money to keep their doors open. Some smaller communities rely on the state for up to 20 percent of their operating budget.

Citizens in some of these smaller, rural communities don’t have access to the internet and depend on their local libraries to gain access to news and to check out books.

We would really hate to see any library close, especially those in smaller communities, because as we said, they are a much-needed staple in those towns that people depend on.

This House budget is now in the Senate for consideration, where members are expected to make considerable changes before the differences in the chambers’ budgets are hammered out in a conference committee.

Online: https://www.bgdailynews.com

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