Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HB 155 passed the House

HB 155 was called up in the House today and passed 98-0. Now it moves on to the Senate, where hopefully we can get it through there.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention a few things. First, I received a great deal of unsolicited support from outside entities, including the state League of Women Voters, and the Kentucky Department of Education. Second, I want to thank the House leadership for calling it up. After getting up to speak against a bill yesterday, and voting against tax increases, I figured that my chances of passing this bill were small. I appreciate the willingness of leadership to hear a good bill, no matter the sponsor. Although all are not treated equal in the House, thus far partisanship has been much less frequent under the new Speaker.

If you like the bill, I encourage you to contact your Senator about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My votes on HB 143 and HB 144

HB 143 and HB 144 were the tax increase bill and budget changes bill. Below is an e-mail I sent to many Boone County Schools employees. I thought I would share it with everyone.

I'd like to address this issue as briefly as possible.

The tax increase was the only option presented to us, but it was not the only option. I support repealing the prevailing wage, allowing grocery stores to sell wine, putting expanded gaming on the ballot. I am having my intern investigate the 400+ boards and commissions trying to determine which ones we can get rid of or merge. The state has a 7 person department to investigate Medicaid fraud. No one there can remember the last time someone was prosecuted for Medicaid fraud. Either there is fraud not being prosecuted (most likely), or there is no fraud (unlikely) and we can get rid of those 7 people. Either way, there are savings to be had.

This is just what I have found in 2+ years. The point is that there is so much that can be cut or saved. It is amazing to me that these items are not addressed.

Also, in the budget agreement, SEEK funding, Medicaid, higher ed loans, and some other items were listed as not being permitted to be cut by the Governor. One of those items was the state parks. So the leadership of both houses that drafted this agreement puts state parks on the same level as SEEK and Medicaid. In fact, high ed can be cut by the Governor. So state parks is more important than higher ed. Absolutely absurd.

That, in essence, why I did not support wither HB 143 or HB 144. I am not against raising taxes, I did it plenty while on Fiscal Court. I am against raising taxes where so many other options of saving money or raising new revenue are not even considered.

So what am I doing to improve education?

I have submitted a bill HB 306, requiring parents to go to at least one parent teacher conference for each child they have in public school. I would love to have it passed, but I figured most likely my best chance was to get a conversation started on the role of parents in their child's education, which has happened. I will keep pushing this issue, as I believe that parents have a responsibility and we need 100% participation if possible.

We all know that Boone County and Northern Kentucky in general are disadvantaged by the SEEK formula. During the hearing Thursday on HB 158, Speaker Stumbo's bill to grant slots to the tracks, I spoke up for Northern Kentucky. There is money in that bill for K-12. I took that opportunity, in front of all the state press, to state how if we are going to put new money into the system, then it needs to go into a "SEEK Equalization Fund".

I hope this helps explain where I came from on this issue. If there are any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

Adam Koenig
State Representative, 69th District

Saturday, February 14, 2009

3 of my 15 minutes

Did my spot of Fox News this morning. I have tried to download the video or provide a link, and been unable. If you follow this link, as of this moment, click on the story Fined for skipping parent teacher conference, you can see the video. Don't know how long it will be up.

On a side note, not my best TV performance ever. Oh well.

In case you are wondering how this works, I was at the WCET studios in downtown Cincy. Just me, a camera, cameraman, and an earpiece in my ear. No TV to even see what is going on.

If you watch the video, there is nothing going on to the side of me. Apparently I just keep looking over there. First time in this situation. Hopefully I get more opportunities and will get better.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Big News

Tomorrow morning at 7:20 I will be on the Fox News Channel to talk about my HB 306.

Tune in if you can.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

several thoughts

The tax increases passed yesterday 66-34. 60 votes were needed to pass it. Rumor was it was going to be close. It was not. I voted no. Overwhelming reaction from my district was to vote no, especially after the alcohol tax was added to the bill.

Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington gave perhaps the best speech I have heard since becoming a State Representative on the tax increase bill. He did a tremendous job of illustrating how unfair the alcohol tax is to the urban areas.

The Speakers' slots bill went through committee today. I was the only non yes vote. The bill allows just slots at just the track with no vote of the people. I believe that the people should decide, we should have full blown casinos and they should be at more than just the tracks. Also I pointed out that since this bill adds money to secondary education, we need to consider putting that toward fixing the SEEK formula this disadvantages growing areas, like Northern Kentucky.

Back to work Friday morning, and we are not in session next week. Will catch up then.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HB 306

First, I am sorry there was no post yesterday. The wireless access in my hotel did not work last night.

Anyway, I was interviewed on my HB 306 last night for Lexington Channel 27 news. You can watch the story here. Also you can go to nky.com to read an article on it there.

Will update more soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have a bill in committee tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I have a bill, HB 155, that will be heard in the House Education Committee at 8:00am. It passed last year so I have high hopes. I'll let you know what happens, or you should be able to watch it on ket.org.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's public hearing

Today was the NKY legislative caucus hearing. It was a very impressive display of concerned citizens expressing their opinions and exercising their rights. The security officers there estimated 1000 people came to be heard today.

Rep. Santoro, the caucus Chairman, did an excellent job of making sure everyone who asked to speak could be heard. They only had 1 minute, but everyone got a chance to speak.

Most were there to ask for no cuts in education. 99% of the people were respectful of each other, the speakers and the time limit. I was very impressed with everyone.

Thanks to NKU for providing the space where so many could meet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Headed back to Frankfort

Part 2 of the 2009 session begins Tuesday at noon. I will be back in the regular blogging habit (I promise). I may even break some news on here!

Stay tuned for more updates.