Posts Tagged ‘Renee Shaw’

Rep. John Yarmuth: KY’s Lone Democratic Ranger in Washington

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Bill Goodman’s interview with Rep. John Yarmuth airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

As a one-time legislative aide on Capitol Hill, newspaper publisher, television commentator and host, it would be safe to assume Louisvillian John Yarmuth had a pretty good warm-up before claiming a seat amongst the other 434 United States representatives back in 2006. Yarmuth’s victory back then against five-term GOP Congresswoman Anne Northup was due, in part, to a national wave of growing discontent over George W. Bush’s Iraq War.

Now, in his fourth term and the only democrat in the Kentucky congressional delegation, Yarmuth is sharply critical of the political molasses that mires even the most seemingly benign and simple measures.

Rep. Yarmuth, who defected from the Republican Party in 1985, scoffs at the unyielding gridlock in Washington and declares the system “irresponsive to problems, voter opinions or challenges.” “(Washington)…is not functioning with any degree of efficiency, and it’s giving the public a bad impression of our democracy and leaving them frustrated and unfulfilled,” he laments.

So, the logical follow-up by host Bill Goodman is ‘how to loosen gridlock’s grip?’  Yarmuth claims district apportionment has a lot to do with it in this clip from Bill’s interview.

On the sluggish pace of lawmaking, Yarmurth asserts that “… at its optimum, our system is designed to move at about 20 miles per hour, and the world’s moving at 100 miles per hour. We’ve got to figure out how to narrow that gap.”

In assessing President Obama’s second term agenda, Rep. Yarmuth says in one sense he’s very impressed with Obama’s outspokenness on a number of issues including gun legislation, immigration reform, early childhood education, and standing up for an increase in the minimum wage. But, Yarmuth reserves praise of Obama pending actions that result from the rhetoric.

As a member of the Gang of Eight working on the House version of an immigration bill in Congress, Yarmuth talks about the near-secret group that’s worked out of the press limelight to forge consensus and work toward a shared goal. He believes both parties are highly motivated to broker a deal, even though he anticipates some rough patches on the way to reaching a resolution.

Bill Goodman talks with Rep. Yarmuth about the practice of mountain top removal, sequestration and a Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night, the special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation continues with 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie.

Child Care Providers, Advocates Talk About Hardships from Funding Cuts

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The chair of the Senate health and welfare committee sympathizes with child care providers and advocates aggrieved by spending cuts to a program that many low-income parents depend on to help with child care costs.

Louisville Republican Julie Denton expressed fear in a Wednesday hearing that children could be endangered, their parents forced to quit work, and some child care centers forced to close if the cuts aren’t reversed. The cuts were made to help the Department for Community Based Services shore up a more than $86 million deficit.

A long-time advocate for consumer, health, and social services, Gerry Roll heads a philanthropic foundation in eastern Kentucky called the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. She said that Kentucky should not take out its financial woes on its children and lamented that working families will buckle under the weight of an unaffordable, yet necessary expense. Asserting that child care subsidies are part of the infrastructure of the state’s economy, Roll detailed the domino effects of the cuts on a child care operation in her native Perry County.

Jack Burch is executive director of the Community Action Council in Lexington. The CAC serves low-income citizens in Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas counties. Burch decried the child care assistance cuts as the worst action the state government has taken against low-income people in more than three decades. He expounded on the math problem low wage-earning parents will scratch their heads to figure out.

Teresa James, head of the Department for Community Based Services, testified that the decision to cut child care assistance was one of the toughest of her tenure. The state will end the program for new applicants on April 1st and significantly limit eligibility based on income starting in July.

A child care provider in Southern Jefferson County, Kristen Tipton, echoed Gerry Roll’s statement that even cheap child care is cost-prohibitive – especially for families that are hanging by a thread.

A Louisville child care director said child care assistance enabled her to adopt two related boys who otherwise would have gone into foster homes. Lakisha Hopson praised the subsidy as a hand up – as opposed to a handout.

Finally, Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chair Julie Denton minimized the challenge of restoring the shortfall in the state Department of Community Based Services. Denton claims the budget gap may be about $20 million dollars less than anticipated. Her commentary drew applause from the nearly capacity crowd of child care assistance providers and other advocates who also believe that the state agency’s deficit is not that much to overcome in order to guarantee safe, clean, affordable child care to cash-strapped families.

There was only public testimony taken on the issue as it is unrelated to any proposed legislation at this time.

Tune in each weeknight at 11pm ET on KET for a daily digest of legislative activities. Follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for continuous updates throughout the session.

Dueling School Dropout Bills in Ky. Legislature

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Meade County Democrat Rep. Jeff Greer says he won’t give up on getting his school dropout prevention bill passed. This is the fourth consecutive year he has championed a bill to gradually raise the legal school dropout age from 16 to 18.

Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are behind Greer’s bill. In sessions past, Mrs. Beshear has given a full-throated endorsement of the bill in committee. In his State of the Commonwealth Address on February 6th, the Governor said the “graduation bill” is a big priority. “Every Kentucky school district now has alternative and support programs available for students at risk of dropping out,” said Beshear. “We just have to keep them in school and take advantage of these programs. Every education group supports this legislation, and now a new survey reveals that 85 percent of parents favor it,” he added. Like the Governor, Rep. Greer believes this is the year to get it done. Greer talked about how times have changed since the original law was passed.

Nearly 6,000 kids in Kentucky dropout of school each year. The bill ups the legal dropout age in stages. In July 2017, it rises to 17. In July 2018, it will go up to 18. Senator Jimmy Higdon has a companion school dropout measure in the upper chamber that’s still waiting for committee action. Shelbyville Republican Brad Montell voted in favor of the bill on the House floor last Thursday, but seized the opportunity – as he’d done on numerous occasions before – to vocalize an educational issue he’s been urging the chamber to seriously consider — charter schools.

After about 30 minutes of floor debate, the bill to gradually raise the school dropout age to 18 by the year 2018 cleared the Kentucky House on a vote of 87 to 10. It now heads to the Senate for consideration there, where a competing school dropout bill is in the Senate chamber cache.

Green County Republican David Givens has a bill that was green-lighted by the Senate education committee on the same day the Democratic-controlled House advanced Greer’s bill.
Givens’ Senate Bill 97 would allow, not mandate, local school boards to require kids to stay in school until they turn 18.

Givens’ measure cleared the Senate education committee and now waits for action by the entire Senate chamber.

Tune in each weeknight at 11pm ET on KET for a recap of the day’s activities in Frankfort on “Legislative Update.” And, follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for constant updates.

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