Witt: Some legislative conundrums in Frankfort
It would seem to be virtually impossible to fathom the mindset that exists in Frankfort during those periods when legislation is being considered.
There are many rational and useful bills proposed, considered and, in some cases, actually passed into law.
At the same time, there are bills which are so ill-conceived or so heinous that their consideration boggles the mind.
Here are a few bills up for consideration.
House Bill 81 would allow a person to simultaneously apply for a driver’s license and to be registered to vote, unless the individual chooses not to do so.
House Bill 199 and Senate Bill 85 are both designed to ban conversion therapy in certain instances related to the age of the patient and some other factors. Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual intervention. The practice holds no credence among reliable medical sources.
House Bill 80 is designed to allow a person to register to vote on Election Day.
House Bill 111 would require candidates for all statewide office to publicly release five years of tax returns.
Senate Bill 90 would allow certain health care workers to refuse to provide services to individuals based on “conscience.” Not only is this bill deviously labeled “An Act Protecting the Exercise of Medical Ethics and Diversity Within the Medical Profession,” it is most obviously targeted at the LGBTQ community.
Depending on wording of this bill in its final form, it could also shield practitioners from legal action if their “conscience” directed them to refuse service to someone of a different religious faith, a different skin color or a different nationality.
The website kftc.org/bill-tracker contains a list of a great many more bills being considered in Frankfort and indicates which ones are supported by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and which are opposed.
There is also an additional conundrum coming from Frankfort right now.
There seems to be some confusion about the current effort to restore voting rights to non-violent felons who have completed their sentences.
While the restoration of these voting rights should, according to some, be automatically bestowed, there are other approaches which seek to place added burdens on those who wish to regain that right, burdens such as acquiescence of the legislature, additional paperwork requirements, etc.
Why voting rights should be denied someone who has completed a sentence is something that has yet to be explained.
But there is an additional conundrum affiliated with this proposal, and that is the likelihood that 152,000 Kentuckians would be eligible for these voting rights restorations while, at the same time, more than 200,000 Kentuckians — virtually all non-felons — are being denied voting rights because they are not registered — and refuse to register as — either Democrat or Republican.
To confound this issue even further, House Bill 596 would allow registered independents to serve as poll workers because of the lack of poll workers. It would be hard to imagine an independent working the polls at a primary election realizing that he or she could not vote in that election, although most independents are probably patriotic enough to volunteer even under those circumstances.
Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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