Saturday, March 2, 2013

761. Legislative Unease

(The following are remarks I made at today's Quarterly Meeting of the Kentucky Democratic Party.  The meeting was held at the Hilton Hotel in Lexington).

Mr. Chair and members of the Committee --

Last week the Kentucky Senate passed a bill which would allow Kentuckians to disobey certain Federal laws and certain Federal Executive Orders.  Such laws are known as Nullification Laws.  They aren’t new and most have been struck down over the years by what is known as the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

Nullification isn’t a new idea for Kentucky.  We were the second state to offer such laws, the Kentucky Resolutions, back in 1799.  Virginia, our mother-state, beat us to it in 1798.  And over time many states in all parts of the country have passed laws which have come to be known as Nullification Laws.  We’re not paving the way with any new ideas, but we are jumping on the bandwagon of many states which are, for their own reasons, unhappy about the administration of Barack Obama, our recently re-elected Democratic president.  The current national leader of the nullification movement is our own United States Senator Rand Paul. 

That our Senate has followed the direction of Rand Paul is not a surprise – we all know the Senate is controlled by the Republicans and, unfortunately, is likely to remain so for some time.  My greater concern is that with the exception of my senator Gerald Neal, my favorite senator from Lexington Kathy Stein, and my favorite newest Democratic senator, Morgan McGarvey, every other Democratic senator has followed Rand Paul’s lead on this matter.

It is my belief that when our state and the other 49 joined the union, by their participation in the Federal government, they agreed to participate in all of it.  As a Louisvillian, there have been times when I have accepted the fact that Louisville sends considerably more money to Frankfort than we receive in return.  This is part of the compact we as Louisvillians have with our fellow Kentuckians.  It is a good thing.  In the reverse manner, we as Kentuckians should be grateful to the Federal government, with all its warts and shortcomings, as we receive in return much more than we send to Washington, DC.  I’ve expressed my concerns about this vote to two senators who were yes votes in whose campaigns I have played a part - and wanted to extend knowledge of my dissatisfaction to this body.

On a different matter, and in the other house of the General Assembly, I am also concerned and dissatisfied.  Two days ago, the Kentucky House, in the name of religious freedom, passed a law which subverts the gains Kentucky and a few - very few - of its local communities have made with regard to civil rights protections for lesbians, gays, and others.  In the name of religious freedom, which I would call religious preference, something forbidden by the United States Constitution, our House passed a law by an overwhelming vote – seven Democrats voting no and the balance of the Chamber in favor – which could strip away discrimination protections in the name of religious freedom.

Two attempts were made by my representative in the House, Darryl Owens, to amend the bill, one passed and one was not called for a vote - both in the name of protecting the gains made in civil rights over the years, and especially in the cities of Vicco, Covington, Lexington, and Louisville.

Each of these bills now head to the other Chamber where both will likely be passed. Each bill needs work and if passed as written I would hope Governor Beshear would give the General Assembly more time to think through their votes by vetoing these horrible pieces of legislation.

Thank You.

JEFF NOBLE, 3rd CD Committeeman

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.