Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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Feb. 8

The Ashland Daily Independent on legislation that would make sports betting legal in Kentucky:

Nine states legalized sports betting in 2019 to bring the total to 20.

Is Kentucky next? Ohio?

The race is on. Or, at least, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear hopes it is — and he aims to win it.

He didn’t specifically name Ohio, but if Ohio does legalize sports betting and Kentucky doesn’t, that means it will join Indiana and West Virginia as bordering states that allow it.

Beshear said he is “tired of trailing other states” at a Capitol press conference. It’s a battle he’s been fighting for years as an attorney general and now as a governor.

Although there are viable reasons for opposing the bill — including those of the religious variety — we think it’s a bill that should pass.

For some, it enhances entertainment. For a lucky few, it’ll fatten their wallet. Still, for some, it’ll become an addiction — as can many other legal things if one lets it assume control.

It just seems contradictory for Kentucky to allow horseracing gambling, which it’s regulated since 1783, and now open up options for collegiate and professional sports.

Democtratic Rep. Al Gentry brought up a valid point: “Like it or not, residents from every community in the commonwealth are already betting on sports, either illegally through bookies or online, or legally crossing our border.”

That means people who are traveling to gamble are also eating and lodging elsewhere.

Why not keep them — and the money — in the Bluegrass State?

Online: http://www.dailyindependent.com

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Feb. 8

The Somerset Commonwealth Journal on a state bill that would make big changes to the process of hiring public school principals:

School safety has definitely been at the forefront of Kentucky legislation during this General Assembly session. And we applaud our lawmakers for taking steps to ensure our children's well-being.

But there are other bills gaining traction that involve public education — some good, and some not so good, in our opinion.

Kentucky School Systems are infamous for nepotism and "good 'ol boy" politics when it comes to hiring practices.

A bill that passed the Senate by a narrow 20-15 vote earlier this week would all but eliminate the school-based decision-making councils from the process of hiring school principals. Under Senate Bill 7, superintendents would have to only consult with the councils.

In our view, the more people who have a voice in such a crucial hire for our schools, the better. So we're not thrilled that the hiring of a principal would rest with one person, who only has to review "input" from others.

The bill isn't all bad, however.

A part of Senate Bill 7 would add a parent to the council to bring the number of parents and teachers to an equal number.

This we like. Let's change the makeup of the council -- and let them continue to make these key hires in our schools.

SB 7 now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

We also like legislation to prevent Kentucky school employees from paddling students or using other forms of corporal punishment. This bill was approved by House members on Feb. 7.

Lawmakers who spoke on House Bill 22 said corporal punishment lowers students' trust in adults and sends the wrong message that physical aggression is a way to deal with problems. Other forms of discipline are more effective, they said. The bill passed the House 65-15 on Feb. 7 and now goes to the Senate.

The old "spare the rod" nonsense is draconian, in our view.

Most parents do not want other people physically abusing their children. It's just common sense. This bill is long overdue.

Online: https://www.somerset-kentucky.com

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Feb. 7

The Bowling Green Daily News on the establishment of a federal prosecutor’s office in the city:

History was made in our city on Feb. 5 with the announcement that a fully-staffed federal prosecutor’s office will operate out of the William H. Natcher Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

Space in the federal building that has been used for federal prosecutors visiting from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville will now be dedicated to an office occupied by three Bowling Green-based prosecutors, including Warren County native Mark Yurchisin, who was sworn in Feb. 5 as a special assistant U.S. attorney by U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman for the Western District of Kentucky. A third assistant prosecutor is anticipated to be hired within six to eight weeks to staff the Bowling Green office.

In a full courtroom, law enforcement and elected officials gathered along with citizens and family members of those who will work out of this office. It was a pretty special moment, to say the least.

Coleman was very instrumental in this effort, along with strong support from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, in getting this new office open. Coleman did an excellent job of explaining to the audience why having a presence here is so important for our state.

Coleman correctly stated how having a presence here creates the opportunity to bolster working partnerships among local and federal law enforcement agencies in the region.

“We’re here to reconnect, build a solid foundation, expand our reach and expand our relationships with law enforcement agencies,” said Coleman, who grew up in Logan County.

Not only will this new location help with expanding relationships with law enforcement, it will also be a lot more convenient for federal prosecutors who in the past have had to drive from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville to present their cases.

It also makes a lot of sense to have a U.S. attorney’s office here, not only because we are the third-largest city in the state, but also because the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives already have officers based in Bowling Green. Having all these agencies here should facilitate cooperation to investigate and expedite federal cases.

We are very happy to see this new office open in Bowling Green. It was a much needed addition to the federal prosecutors’ goal, and we wish them all the best in their new location in our city.

Online: https://www.bgdailynews.com