The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed to provide Americans, including Kentuckians, better access to health care coverage. A major component of increasing access to coverage is new federal funding for states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The U.S. Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional for states. Expansion is the right choice for Kentucky. Not expanding the program would hurt both Kentucky’s health and taxpayers’ bottom line.
Kentucky Bill Would Allow Discrimination Based on ‘Sincerely Held’ Religious Beliefs — it could allow someone to deny certain types of people access to public facilities, employment opportunities or housing if that denial is “based upon a sincerely held religious belief.”
(patheos.com) - Human rights groups in Kentucky are fighting a proposed bill that would allow people to sidestep anti-discrimination laws if they could justify their actions with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
House Bill 279, sponsored by conservative Democrat Rep. Bob Damron and recently passed in the State Senate, would strengthen a person’s ability to “ignore state regulations or laws that contradict his or her ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs.” Gay rights groups say this could legalize discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of certain religious beliefs that maintain homosexuality is wrong:
The Kentucky Equality Federation sent a letter to Beshear before the Senate vote, urging the two-term Democratic governor to veto the measure.
“House Bill 279 represents a clear and present danger to the gay and lesbian community and other minority groups around the commonwealth,” the letter said. “House Bill 279 does nothing more than give people permission to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, thereby taking it beyond ‘freedom of religion’ to ‘forced religion,’ because they have imposed their religious beliefs on others, with legal authority to do so.”
Only four Kentucky cities have enacted ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination; no such protections are in place at the statewide or nationwide level. This would make it even easier for conservative Christians to completely ignore what little protections do prevent LGBT people from discrimination.
Carolyn Miller-Cooper, executive director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, said her agency “supports religious freedom but is concerned about the overly broad language of HB 279.”
The bill, she said, could allow someone to deny certain types of people access to public facilities, employment opportunities or housing if that denial is “based upon a sincerely held religious belief.”
What Gov. Steve Beshear will do with the bill (sign it, veto it, or ignore it) is still unknown. As of Friday, he had not yet made a decision. Apparently, 12 states have approved similar laws — in other words, there are 12 states I will try never to visit in my lifetime. Religious freedom will never justify taking away civil rights, and it’s abhorrent that elected officials don’t realize it.
I get so sick of this idea that “religious freedom” means the freedom to oppress others in the name of your religion.
FRANKFORT, KY. (The Courier-Journal) — A bill that would legalize growing hemp for industrial use cleared a state legislative committee Monday with a unanimous vote.
The passage means the bill can now be considered by the full state Senate.
Regardless of what happens at the state level, legalization would also require the federal government to reclassify industrial hemp as legal. Currently it is included with marijuana, its fellow member of the cannabis family.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., testified before the committee and said that if the state legalizes hemp, he’s introduce federal legislation or seek a waiver from President Barack Obama to reclassify hemp.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, the committee’s chairman, argue that Kentucky could be in line for a huge influx of new jobs if the state is among the first to legalize hemp .
— Jim James (via the-sass)
Kentucky school superintendent attacks the teaching of evolution as fact - Kentucky Commissioner of Education gives a flawless reply.
Someone got ahold of Line’s full letter!
The letter is so full of ridiculousness that it must be read by the masses. My favorite part is where he compares himself to a college dean in the Philippines who was shot in the beginnings of World War II. Letter after the Jump.
Line then supplies seven pages of reasons why evolution should not be taught as fact. This was my favorite:
Ahhh, the ol’ forget to leave ‘But I can find out no such case.’ out of Darwin’s quote trick. Line is highly educated, right? He could have picked up Darwin’s book at read that part for himself, but I suppose that wouldn’t feed his agenda.
Kentucky Commissioner of Education -and my new favorite person- Terry Holliday responded with the following letter, setting Line straight on what is classified as a scientific theory and what is against the law.
Thank you for your patience in waiting for our response to your attached letter expressing concerns on the end-of-course exam content for biology. We wanted to give you a thorough and accurate response, and it took some time for research to be completed by our legal and curriculum staffs. I am copying the members of the Kentucky Board of Education on the response, since they also were e-mailed a copy of your letter.
In science, a theory is a statement of general ideas that explains many observations by natural means. To a scientist, the word “theory” is a very precise term to identify a concept that has great utility in explaining phenomena in the natural world. Ideas only rise to the level of a theory in science if they have withstood much scrutiny and are exceptionally useful in explaining a wide variety of independent observations. Any theory can be altered or replaced if new observations or new scientific evidence cannot be adequately explained by it. In science, facts never become theories. Rather, theories explain facts. No theory is immune to revision or replacement should new evidence surface. There is a substantial difference between the “everyday” meaning of the word “theory” and the scientific meaning of the word. An idea is often labeled a theory for the purpose of painting it as little more than a guess. This use of “theory” demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scientific meaning of the term. Referring to biological evolution as a theory for the purpose of contesting it would be counterproductive, since scientists only grant the status of theory to well-tested ideas.
Additionally, science is not a system of belief. To ask if a scientist ‘believes’ in the theory of evolution is an improper question because the term ‘belief’ implies a position or opinion based on faith. A biologist would properly say he/she understands and acknowledges the evidence supporting the theory of evolution. Belief is an act of faith and is not necessarily concerned with the availability of supporting evidence. For this reason, beliefs are not considered to be within the realm of science. Moreover, the federal courts have ruled that creation science, a religious concept or belief, is not science at all. [See Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F.Supp.2d 707, 764 (E.D.Pa.2005); McLean v. Ark. Bd. of Educ., 529 F.Supp. 1255, 1259 (E.D.Ark.1982) (dismissing “creation science” as “simply not a science”).] Therefore, it is not considered relevant content for a purely science classroom.
Since college and career readiness is our goal for all students, we would be doing them a disservice by denying them the opportunity to learn science concepts required to obtain that goal. Evolutionary theory is one of the foundational components of modern biology, and it most certainly plays a significant part in college biology coursework. The ACT QualityCore® biology end-of-course objectives are designed to reflect research-based college- and career-ready standards as well as promote more rigor and depth in traditional courses.
Finally, Kentucky’s Core Academic Standards for Science and Core Content for Science Assessment, version 4.1, outline the minimum required content that all students should have the opportunity to learn in order to graduate. The QualityCore® end-of-course test for biology does expand from our current minimum standards. The Kentucky Core Academic Standards and Core Content for Assessment 4.1 contain two (of seven) Big Ideas that are reported under the category Life Science. Those Big Ideas are Unity & Diversity (UD) and Biological Change (BC). The Big Idea of Biological Change contains only content standards related to biological evolution. The concept of evolution already exists within these standards and has been assessed in the Commonwealth since those standards were adopted in 2006.
I appreciate your viewpoint and hope this information assists you in understanding KDE’s position. Thank you for all that you do to positively impact the lives of the students in your school district.
In a move to “promote greater unity” among its body and the Pike County community it serves, a small Kentucky church voted to ban interracial couples from membership and from participating in certain worship activities, Kentucky.com reports.
Though reminiscent of some Jim Crow-era mandate, the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church actually made the decision earlier this month, following a visit from 24-year-old Stella Harville, daughter of the church’s secretary and clerk, and her 29-year-old fiance, Ticha Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe.
According to Harville’s father, Dean Harville, Stella brought Chikuni to the church in June where they performed a song for the congregation.
Following the visit, pastor Melvin Thompson told Harville that his daughter and her fiance could not sing at the church again. Thompson later proposed that the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage.
His proposal, which was accepted by a 9-6 vote last week, also suggested that married interracial couples be prohibited from becoming members and used in worship activities, except for funerals.
“It’s not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form,” said Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, according to Kentucky.com.
While Pike County and the surrounding community come to grips with the church’s decision, researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University say black-white marriages in the United States are soaring, increasing threefold, from 3 percent in 1980 to 10.7 percent in 2008.
What year is it again????