DYCHE | Ideas for the General Assembly session - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DYCHE | Ideas for the General Assembly session

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By John David Dyche
WDRB Contributor

The upcoming session of the Kentucky General Assembly presents a depressing prospect. Once again, Senate Republicans will propose or pass good bills that House Democrats will block or kill.

A few constructive measures may make it into law, but not many. Little will be done to address the state's plethora of pressing and persistent problems or to lift it out of the mediocrity in which it has too long languished.

With this dreary outlook in mind, here are some symbolically significant ideas for making the legislative session a little more interesting and relevant. They will also teach our representatives some valuable real life lessons as they gather in Frankfort at great expense to spend our tax dollars.

Have an English teacher present at every committee meeting and floor session to immediately correct all grammatical errors by representatives and senators. Grade each legislator in language arts at the end of the session using the same assessment classifications – novice, apprentice, proficient, and distinguished – as for Kentucky's students. This will show that Kentucky is serious about education and lifelong learning.

Instead of the tasty meals now offered in the Capitol cafeteria, serve only Michelle Obama-approved school lunches. Kentucky Educational Television should also superimpose a graphic showing the body mass index of representatives and senators when they speak in committee or on the floor. This will demonstrate the commonwealth's commitment to reducing obesity and improving health.

Put body cameras and microphones on legislators, install web cameras and microphones in their offices, and make the recordings public record. If this is a good idea for police who are conducting public business it is an even better one for legislators since they have so much more power and can do so much more damage. This will reaffirm Kentucky's commitment to good and open government, deter sexual harassment such as that alleged against a former Democratic representative, and help decide the truth from disputed versions of events.

Some Democrats propose floating bonds to fund the liabilities of the teachers' retirement system. Instead of trying to borrow our way out of debt this way, use the system's assets to play Keno and try to gamble our way to solvency. This will help representatives and senators comprehend that this distressingly popular new state lottery game on which many of their constituents (including those who receive public benefits) are squandering their limited resources is really no different than craps or roulette.

Take legislators out of their generous state health plan (which becomes particularly cushy for the long-serving ones) and put them in Medicaid. To hear Governor Steve Beshear boast about Kentucky's expansion of Medicaid and implementation of Obamacare there should be no complaints. This will give lawmakers a better idea of the health care that an ever increasing number of Kentuckians actually have and show solidarity with our state's poor.

Democrats doomed a heroin bill in the last session. During this one, select one member of their caucus at random and inject them with heroin each day of the session until they are hooked (although with some of them it might be hard to tell any difference). This will demonstrate the harsh reality of this scourge in a firsthand way that even those lawmakers not yet personally touched by the epidemic might understand.

Finally, conduct the entire session as an opera. Assign the representatives and senators parts, dress them in costumes, and have them sing their floor speeches instead of merely talking them. This will improve our provincial state's cultural literacy and is no less entertaining or more absurd than much that will actually happen during the General Assembly.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WRDB.com. His e-mail is jddyche@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.

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