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Governor Ernie Fletcher gave his "State of the Commonwealth" speech this evening and it was chock full of stuff. I will agree with Senator Minority Leader Ed Worley that it was a little short on substance though.
First, Fletcher recounted all the good stuff that had happened in the last two years. It's pretty standard warm, fuzzies to show we can all get along.
Then he went after the meat of the stuff. His ICare program sounds pretty good. It seems like a program to help small businesses pay for health insurance for employees. My bet is it will be something similar to the cooperative system proposed by Bush back in 2004. He proposed raises for teachers and incentive programs for them as well. He listed several things that could be good for education.
Then, however he got to the stuff that pisses some people off. He talked about Intelligent Design in the classroom. The ID debate is mostly moot since a federal judge struck it down in Pennsylvania. Fletcher's just doing this to blow smoke and get people wound up.
Then he also mentioned one of the hottest topics of the session, right to work. Right now, Kentucky is a closed shop state. If a place of employment is a union location, then everyone there MUST be union. The Republicans want to change this and continue to grind down the heels of unions. Many say unions time has come and gone...they only make things worse, they drive jobs from our country. Considering the vast majority people working in this nation aren't union, that's a real load of bullshit. They said some places won't even consider Ky because of the closed shop rules. Toyota made it in, is non-union and is one of the largest employers in the state. Fortunately, the Democrats say this bill won't see the light of day out of committee.
Then there's the medical malpractice caps David Williams and the Republicans want to install. The problem has different levels. First, they say the high rates come from the frivolous lawsuits doctors pay. Nope... this isn't the case. They say doctors are leaving the state because these rates are too high. Once again, not true. Doctors aren't leaving Kentucky, they're coming here. Malpractice insurance rates are market-based. The insurance companies charge what they can get away with. As a matter of fact, most states with the malpractice caps pay higher insurance rates than the states that don't.
Then there's the constitutional issue. This is a right to receive just compensation for losses caused by another individual or group of individuals. This is also about justice and one of the last ways the little guy can stick it to big companies and a wealthier class of people for screwing them over. I've got a very good friend who's a doctor and I've known some good doctors but this issue is bigger than them. This is about the little guy having a chance in the end to seek a reckoning when they've been wronged.
The final thing is part of what Fletcher would call the "warm, fuzzy" part of his speech. He talked about long term goals for 2025 and 2020 for bringing our states education out of the gutter. 20 years is a generation away. The governor and the legislature need to hammer on these issues now, not later. There was more but there was as much bad as good certainly.
Technorati Tags: medical malpractice reform, State of the Commonwealth speech, Governor Fletcher, David Williams, Right to work laws, the budget, Intelligent Design
posted by Stithmeister @ 9:53 PM
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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