MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/3/13) – Last Wednesday, March 27, State Representative Ben Waide spoke at the Lions Club about his “short session” in Frankfort last Tuesday.
“In Frankfort, what they call a short session, I couldn’t believe how many things got considered. I think one of the big victories of this session was the Bipartisan Pension Reform. We passed the pension reform, and not only did we pass the pension reform piece that is going to save our public pensions long term, but we passed the funding piece that is going to make sure that it is funded. And that has been the biggest fear. Not that we are going to pass the structural change but that it wouldn’t be funded,” stated Waide. Since they were able to get the pension reform done in this session with the Governor at the press conference, there will not be a “special session” to go over the pension reform.
Waide goes on to state, “I think the biggest victory we had was the Religious Freedom Act.” A few years ago, the standard that the federal government uses to take a person’s religious freedom away or reduces religious freedom was changed. “Use to, throughout our history, the government had to have a compelling interest before they could impose any change on you,” Waide stated. In 1990, this was changed, to a rational basis, meaning they only intervened for a good reason. Waide also expressed, “Congressman Whitfield and Congress quickly changed the federal law to going back to strict standard. The judges came back saying it was only going to apply to the federal law and the states would have to change it. Well, we got that done this session. However, the Governor vetoed it and just for us to have that vote to override that veto, the house Democrats, which was the majority, they had to say ok to bring up that vote. After hours of arguing, and with a margin of 27 to 26, one vote, it was approved that we could vote and override the Governor’s veto. And as a result of that, we now have a strict standard in our courts, so if the government comes in and removes religious freedom from people, they have to have a higher standard. This really was a team effort, to make sure your voices were heard.”
Photos provided by Amber Mena
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