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Editor: Nancy Daly,, 578-1059


Bill designed to ‘let teachers teach’ Early mornings turned to late nights and spirited debate echoed through the House and Senate chambers as we closed in on the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session in Frankfort. A flurry of bills were sent to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk last week, highlighted by measures to empower our Kentucky teachers and create better learning environments for our Kentucky students. One of our top priorities in the Senate this session was Senate Bill 1, which is designed to “let teachers teach” by mirroring the Federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” to foster state and local decision making by our valued educators. The House passed SB 1 unanimously this week with a few minor changes. The Senate plans to accept those changes and send SB 1 to Governor Bevin to be signed into law. Senate Bill 1 will bring sweeping changes to reform education in our Commonwealth, and we are confident those changes will improve our schools for many years to come. Another education bill that was sent to the governor’s desk

this week was House Bill (HB) 520, which authorizes the establishment of charter schools in KenDamon Thayer tucky. Passage of a charter COMMUNITY RECORDER GUEST schools bill has COLUMNIST been a priority in the Senate for the past several sessions, and we were pleased to finally see its passage with help from our colleagues in the new House majority. With the passage of HB 520, Kentucky became the 44th state in the U.S. to pass a bill that permits school choice. None of the previous 43 states that have enacted charter school legislation have repealed it, which gives added confidence that this was the right move for Kentucky. In order for a charter school to be established, it first must be authorized by a local school board. Complementing the HB 520, we also sent HB 471 to Governor Bevin, which is the funding mechanism for charter

It’s about more than cookies Outside local stores, girls are participating in the largest girlled business in the world. They earn funds for their Girl Scout activities while learning five skills that will help them in business and in life. Goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics are all Lee Ann included in the Kramer big picture of the cookie sale. COMMUNITY RECORDER GUEST When you COLUMNIST see a 5-year-old approaching someone, she is beginning to learn people skills. An 8-yearold, who is just learning basic math fundamentals, is beginning to also learn the value of a dollar. A 12-year-old, who works each Saturday morning for two months at a cookie booth, learns that reaching goals requires determination and motivation. At 16, a girl may be organizing the entire business of cookie selling for her troop including organizing booth sales, calculating profits, deciding how best to use the funds for the greater good of the troop. The girls will use the funds for troop meetings, to attend events, go on outdoor adventures, to learn leadership skills, and to provide service to others. There are 37 troops in the Alexandria, Cold Spring, Highland Heights service units. Thirteen troops recently reported the service projects their troops had participated in this school year. Look at this amazing list of service to our community, led by local girls ages 5–18: Cookies donated to Melbourne Fire House Blankets donated to the Campbell County Animal Shelter Participation in the Crayola Incentive Participation in Operation Gratitude – First Responder Care Kits Provided two weeks of fresh

fruit and desserts to the Henry Hosea House Cleaned trails at Campbell County Environmental Education Center Carols and donations for St Elizabeth Inpatient Hospice patients Donations to the Emergency Cold Shelter of NKY Donated more than 20 dozen homemade cookies for the Bread of Life Food Pantry Purchased flags for buildings in Cold Springs Made first aid kits for the Women’s Reset Mission Held an Olympics Event at Brookdale Assisted Living Organized a book drive for the Brighton Center Made comfort bags for the Alexandria Police Department Made new pet owner bags for SAAP Rang bell for Salvation Army Participated in Operation Cookie Share. Cookies go to the military, local domestic violence shelters, and local food banks Raised funds for Hurricane Matthew victims Raised funds for local girl with a brain tumor Donated books for Reiley Elementary Tutoring Program Donated and worked at the CARE Mission in Alexandria These projects were completed by Troops 3095, 2877, 1949, 1702, 7007, 7293, 7294, 1984, 368, 1601, 9281, 1701, and 7332. This year, the Girl Scouts of America is celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies. To mark this anniversary, the new S’mores cookie has been introduced. When you see a troop selling, stop, buy a box of cookies, donate a box, or give the troop a donation. Know that your money goes a long way to helping the girls and, thereby, our community. Lee Ann Kramer is a Girl Scout Wilderness Road Council Leader. Rose Kuebbing is a Girl Scout Wilderness Road Council Leader and Alexandria, Cold Spring, Highland Heights Service Unit Manager

schools. It is important to note that HB 471 has been crafted to support, not burden school district funding systems. Based on projected enrollment, a school district would send its request for funding to the Kentucky Department of Education. That district would include charter school enrollment figures as well. A “base” guarantee of funding that is sent to a school district would include adjustments for percentages of students who are at-risk, special education, limited English proficient, home/ hospital, plus transportation costs. The formula also requires local fair share by each school district based on taxable property there. We value our public schools, our teachers, and our students. It is important to realize that charter schools were not designed to take anything away from our existing system but to provide new opportunities for our students at struggling schools. Several other important bills moved quickly though the legislative process this week and were delivered to the gov-

ernor for his signature: » Senate Bill 75 updates the state’s outdated campaign contribution laws that have previously encouraged “dark money” and discouraged free speech; » Senate Bill 89 removes barriers in health care plans to allow patients to access smoking cessation treatments; » Senate Bill 91, also known as “Tim’s Law,” is aimed at helping families of those with severe mental illness ensure that individual receives proper outpatient treatment; » Senate Bill 120, comprehensive justice reform that also provides methods for reentry and employment access; » Senate Bill 136, which offers in-state tuition for all active members of the Kentucky National Guard whether or not they are official residents; » Senate Bill 159, requiring all public high school students to pass a civics test in order to receive a regular diploma; March 15 marked Day 28 of the 2017 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The Senate is adjourned until March 29 and this brief period

of time is known as the “veto period,” during which Governor Bevin can veto any legislation that comes to his desk. When we return on March 29, however, the General Assembly has the power to override the governor’s vetoes, as long as the legislation was passed before the beginning of the veto period. We will still likely pass a few more bills on March 29 and 30, so I encourage you to continue watching the movement of legislation. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort, and I look forward to continue to work on your behalf in the General Assembly. If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at You can also review the Legislature’s work online at Sen. Damon Thayer, RGeorgetown, represents the 17th Senate District which includes southern Kenton County, as well as all of Grant and Scott counties.

Road rage causes problems Incidents of screaming, rude gestures, and sometimes even violence are reported frequently on our roadways to the point where the behavior has earned the name of “road rage.” “Road rage” incidents occur as a result of an aggressive driver, usually because of impatience or anger, who intentionally tries to threaten, injure or even kill another driver because of a traffic dispute. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that aggressive driving and road rage are causing serious problems on our roads. NHTSA estimates that twothirds of vehicle crash fatalities are due to aggressive driving and 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. Even worse, 2 percent of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressive driver off the road or highway. Inappropriate, aggressive driving or “road rage” can result in accidents, serious physical injury or death to the driver or another party. There are numerous possible traffic and criminal charges associated with “road rage” which can include from a minimum of

reckless driving and following too close, up to reckless homicide and manslaughter. Possible penalties range Steven J. from a mere Franzen monetary fine to 10 years in COMMUNITY RECORDER GUEST the penitentiaCOLUMNIST ry. Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive driving behavior admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves. We should all remember that everyone occasionally makes mistakes while driving. We probably all have at one time or another pulled out in front of another car that was closer than we thought or drove slower than the speed limit while day dreaming about something. We do not know what type of stress, pressure or other circumstances another driver may be experiencing that may result in what we consider inappropriate driving. That other driver could have serious medical problems, could have just lost a loved one, could be

thinking about an elderly parent or troubled child, etc. We all need to be more considerate of other drivers and not react with any form of “road rage.” Sometimes when another driver engages in a form of “road rage,” we are tempted to respond in kind by speeding up and not letting him pass or displaying an obscene gesture. That is certainly the wrong response. We should just ignore those types of drivers and not aggravate them more to where they really do something stupid such as intentionally cause an accident or pull a gun out. This may sound silly, but a good response may be to just think positive thoughts toward that other fellow so that his day gets better and he calms down before he causes an accident or before he gets home and takes it out on his family. If you have any topics you would like to have covered in this column, please contact my office by e-mail at, by phone at 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York St., Newport, KY 41071. Steven J. Franzen is Campbell County Attorney.

CH@TROOM Last week’s question What do you think of the American Health Care Act - the plan unveiled by GOP Congressional leaders March 6?

“Unfortunately, this weeks question has no good answer. I have yet to see any detail re ‘Trumpcare’ so it’s really impossible to like or dislike any features of the new health plan. Having administered employee medical plans for over 30 years, I can suggest that any fair comparison between ObamaCare and Trumpcare address the issues of 1) plan design (e.g. ‘what is covered, who is covered,’ etc.); 2) who will administer the plan; 3) how will plan participants access medical care providers; and 4) how will the plan be funded – who bears the cost and how are those

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION The legislature passed a bill encouraging school districts to wait until late August to start the school year. If Governor Bevin signs the bill, do you want your school board to delay the start of the school year? Why or why not? Every week we ask readers a question they can reply to via email. Send your answers to with Ch@troom in the subject line.

monies to be collected? Obviously there are many more details that will need to be sorted out; but this comparison would be a good place to start. “All we have now to go on is a Republican stampede to honor the president’s promise to end ObamaCare; and the Democratic pushback to oppose anything the White House says or does. We need a real solution not a political solution. Political solutions to

serious problems are the perfect recipes for disaster. We can’t afford another one.” Michael Hauer

“I dislike how it shifts benefits from the poor to the wealthy.” Sam Lapin

“It’s like Trump University... except you die.” S. Daniels

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