Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth’

KET in D.C. — Day One

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

All this week, KET is inside the Beltway talking with members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation. We launched our D.C. excursion with a live broadcast of Kentucky Tonight last night from the Cannon House rotunda balcony. All of the members of Congress representing Kentucky were asked to join Bill Goodman on the balcony overlooking Constitution Avenue, and we were delighted that Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul and third-term Congressman John Yarmuth could join Bill on the program.

There were times when Yarmuth, the Louisville Democrat, and Paul, the Bowling Green Republican, were on the same political page. But some glaring contrasts on prominent, headline-making issues facing the 113th Congress remain, one of which is immigration.

Senator Paul says the United States is still not adequately addressing student visas and screening background checks from those with refugee status. He says Congress should not rush to pass immigration reform and instead engage in a robust, debate without self-imposed deadlines on action.
On the pathway to citizenship proposals, Yarmuth and Rand Paul gave their perspectives. Yarmuth says the government is deporting unprecedented numbers of the undocumented now and argues that deporting the estimated 11 million with questionable legal status is not prudent. Sen. Rand Paul says border security is a lingering concern for conservatives like himself and he’s poised to present a plan called “Trust but verify.”

The other lightning rod issue Congress is perhaps bracing for another round of debate about is gun legislation related to background checks. The shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., nearly six months ago reignited gun control measures, particularly relative to background checks.

Sen. Paul says he’s concerned that some proposals like the Manchin-Toomey plan that recently failed in the Senate, shift criminal blame onto law-abiding gun owners. He instead favors examining the background checks already in place.

Rand Paul doubts public polling on firearms background checks, which he contends is sullied with high emotions about recent events. He thinks that as time passes, the emotions will subside when policy proposals are parsed out for possible unintended consequences affecting the rights and civil liberties of upright citizens.

Bill’s engaging discussion on Kentucky Tonight Monday night covered ideology on poverty and minimum wage, Medicare, Syria, and the guests’ collaboration on a golf tournament to benefit veterans.

You can watch the entire program online.

Political Heavyweights Add Muscle to Hemp Bill

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Kentucky’s Agriculture commissioner recruits some Kentucky ambassadors from the Beltway to muscle through a bill positioning Kentucky for industrial hemp production if the federal government allows.

Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Senate Ag Committee chairman Paul Hornback, calls for the state Ag department to establish conditions and procedures for licensing industrial hemp growers who would have to plant a minimum of 10 acres.

Agriculture Commissioner Comer’s office would assume all of the responsibilities of Senate Bill 50 from certification that hemp seed is below the appropriate THC level, administering background checks and licensing growers, providing GPS mapping of industrial hemp production to law enforcement and inspecting the crops and conducting tests when necessary.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer voiced his opposition to the measure out of fear law enforcement would be hard pressed to distinguish between marijuana and hemp in outdoor fields except through laboratory testing.

An unlikely trio of Kentucky’s federal delegation banded together in favor of Senate Bill 50 and made their appeal before the Ag panel: Republican Thomas Massie of the 4th Congressional District; John Yarmuth of the 3rd CD and Kentucky’s junior US Senator Rand Paul.

Paul donned his dress shirt made of hemp made in Canada while  pitching the bill before the Senate Ag panel. He said Kentucky is sending profits to our neighbors up north, which he decried as nonsense. Senator Paul has a plan in Congress to legalize industrial hemp production in this country, or seek a waiver for Kentucky.

Kentucky’s third district Congressman John Yarmuth joked about why an urban federal lawmaker from Louisville is interested in industrial hemp legislation. Yarmuth says he’s interested in hemp because it can mean new jobs.

Thomas Massie, Kentucky’s newest Congressman from the fourth district in Northern Kentucky, spoke in favor of Senate Bill 50 from three different perspectives: as a legislator, a farmer, and an entrepreneur. He and Yarmuth have filed a bill in Congress that would exempt hemp with less than .3 percent of THC concentration from marijuana laws. In economic terms,
Massie explained where Kentucky stands in the hemp movement.

Paul Hornback’s Senate Bill 50 cleared the Senate Ag committee unanimously and now heads to the Senate. In a press conference after the vote, Senate Majority Caucus Chair Dan Seum said he hadn’t gauged Republican’s reception to the bill yet and didn’t know if it would be called for a floor vote this week.

Watch KET’s  “Legislative Update” each weeknight during the session for a report of the day’s Capitol activities at 11pm ET on KET and follow @ReneeKET throughout the day on Twitter for updates.


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