Blog Archives - Lynn Bechler, State Representative

Energy Rates Editorial

An issue that has generated more Crittenden County contact with my office than most has been the issue of electric rates. Like many, I received a “robo call” from Kenergy telling me that Senate Bill 71 and House Bill 211 would increase my electric rates if passed. I was then urged to call my legislator and tell him or her to vote to oppose these bills. The good citizens of Crittenden County have responded to Kenergy’s request. On the surface the Kenergy request seems reasonable. However, Kenergy is only telling half the story. The other half is that rates will also go up if the bills do not pass. That’s righ… if the bill passes, rates will go up and if the bill doesn’t pass, rates will go up.

What is driving this is the fact that on August 12, 2012 Century Aluminum of Hawesville, KY, an aluminum smelter plant, gave a one year notice to Big Rivers Electric Corporation of Henderson, KY, an electric transmission company, that Century would no longer be purchasing power from Big Rivers. Century said that if it could not purchase power from the wholesale market it would close its plant. In response, on January 13, 2013, Big Rivers followed with a request to the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a rate increase that would amount to a little under $22 per month per household. Subsequently, Rio Tinto Alcan in Sebree, KY, another aluminum smelter, said it would close its doors because it could no longer afford the price of electricity.

The reason Kenergy is involved is because Kenergy, along with Jackson Purchase Electric and Meade County Rural Electric, is one of three equal owners of Big Rivers.

In last week’s Crittenden Press, a Public Notice was printed showing that Kenergy has petitioned the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a rate increase of 20%. This is on top of a 16% Kenergy rate increase not too long ago.

The reality is that this issue should not be before the Kentucky Legislature. It is an issue that Big Rivers, Century, and Alcan should solve on their own like grownups – not like little kids on the playground. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of Kenergy, management of Big Rivers, and the General Counsel of Century and I not too gently told them to “put on their big boy pants and get to the negotiation table.” Fortunately, they’ve now done so, but a solution still hasn’t been reached.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to talk to Alcan, but I do know that Big Rivers has been having some financial trouble and Century lost money last year. It is my feeling that we – you and I – are caught in the middle of a game of chicken and I personally don’t like it.

I am not taking sides on this because I hope that the negotiations are fruitful, and a legislative solution will not then be necessary. If the bills came to the House floor tomorrow, I’m not sure how I would vote because no matter what happens, jobs will be lost and our electric rates will increase.

Please don’t take everything you hear from Century and Big Rivers/Kenergy at face value. Both sides are “spinning” the facts to make the other side look bad. In my opinion, there are no “good guys” in this fight. I appreciate your interest and hearing from you. I ask that you work with me to keep the pressure on all parties to negotiate in good faith.

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Sen. Ridley, Rep. Bechler present grant to Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation on Arts Day

KENTUCKY ARTS COUNCIL NEWS RELEASE
Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 15, 2013

On Feb. 13, arts leaders came from across the Commonwealth to celebrate the public value of the arts and to thank legislators for their continued support of the Kentucky Arts Council. Checks were presented to organizations awarded Kentucky Arts Partnership operational support grants by the arts council in July 2012.

On Feb. 13, arts leaders came from across the Commonwealth to celebrate the public value of the arts and to thank legislators for their continued support of the Kentucky Arts Council. Checks were presented to organizations awarded Kentucky Arts Partnership operational support grants by the arts council in July 2012.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — State arts leaders gathered Feb. 13 for Arts Day in Kentucky, an annual meeting that fosters discussions in the Commonwealth’s arts community about the state of the arts industry in Kentucky. The day is also an opportunity for arts leaders to thank members of the Kentucky General Assembly for their continued support of arts funding through the Kentucky Arts Council.

Sen. Dorsey Ridley and Rep. Lynn Bechler presented the Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation with a check for $2,392 for a Kentucky Arts Partnership (KAP) grant awarded by the arts council in July 2012. The funding awarded to Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation is part of $1.7 million the arts council awarded to 104 nonprofit arts organizations across the state for the 2013 fiscal year.

“Kentucky is fortunate to have excellent arts organizations in every region of the Commonwealth that provide arts experiences to audiences in their communities and visitors alike,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “The state arts agency is proud to partner with Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation to ensure the arts are made available to all Kentuckians.”

KAP grants provide operating support on a competitive basis to arts and cultural organizations and community arts programs to ensure year-round participation in the arts is available to the people of Kentucky.

For more information about Arts Day in Kentucky, visit http://artscouncil.ky.gov/KentuckyArt/Event_ArtsDay.htm.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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How can a society deprive a child of life?

Bechler and Group of GOP Members Pro-Life Rally

Bechler and Group of GOP Members at Thursday’s Pro-Life Rally

posted in the Princeton Times Leader

The excellent “Sanctity of Human Life” section of the Jan. 19 issue of the Princeton Times Leader prompted me to put pen-to-paper and offer a few words on this most vital issue.

To paraphrase President Franklin Roosevelt, Jan. 22, 1973 is a day which will live in infamy. On that day, 40 years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States of America sanctioned the slaughter of innocent human beings under the guise of a right to privacy. Abortion on demand became the law of the land.

In the 40 years since that wrong-headed decision, over 53 million babies in the United States have been dumped in the garbage can of history. How can a country founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi ness survive when human life is meaningless?

It is my belief that this single decision is what has led to the moral decay of our country. Is it any wonder that if there is no respect for life in the womb, there is no respect for life outside of the womb, no respect for others’ property?

In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., there has properly been much debate on why such a thing could happen and what to do to prevent such tragedies in the future. Should certain guns be outlawed, should there be a greater emphasis on mental health, should video games be strictly regulated?

These are issues where well-intentioned people may disagree. I fail to understand, however, how a just society can agonize over whether or not to keep score in a Liittle League game because the pain of losing might be too hard on a child’s feelings, but it is perfectly acceptable to deprive a child of life.

My words may be harsher, more graphic, or more inflammatory than many would like, but I use them to make the point that abortion destroys human life and we must not give in to the temptation of throwing up our hands in disgust and deciding that we can not do anything to stop this abominable practice. We live in a time when there is no longer any doubt that life begins at conception. Let us continue to fight for the lives of the unborn.

As Chip Hutcheson stated, “We’re thankful to live in a community where there is such strong support for that view (being pro-life).” Hopefully one day in the not too distant future our country will again celebrate life and the innocence of little children.

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Whitfield, Bechler Join Hundreds at Gun Show

PADUCAH, KY – Paducah’s Expo Center was quite busy Saturday as a huge crowd attended the Paducah Gun Show, and elected officials promised to withstand gun control efforts in the wake of the Newtown, CT shootings.

Over 500 people lined up all the way to the near-by floodwall waiting for the doors to open at 9 am, and the line continued to grow even after the doors opened. Vendors had steady lines streaming past their tables full of guns, ammo, knives and accessories.

U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield and State Rep. Lynn Bechler spoke to the gun owners and vendors, reassuring them that they would do whatever they can to protect every citizen’s 2nd amendment rights.

Using the building’s public address system, Whitfield spoke first, and encouraged anyone who was not a member of the National Rifle Association to join. He said 2nd amendment rights are under threat, and that President Obama will soon be using taxpayer money budgeted for agencies like the Centers for Disease Control against gun owners. Whitfield said those agencies will fund outside groups to do research, and then publicize results showing that gun rights should be diminished, in an attempt to sway public opinion and get laws passed.

“So, we really are under threat today, and it’s essential that we all stand together, and I can tell you that at least in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., we’re going to do everything that we can do to counter and stop President Obama’s efforts to take away our rights and freedoms,” Whitfield said. Everyone in the Expo Center broke into applause before he could finish this statement.

Bechler told the crowd that as a member of the NRA and Gun Owners of America, he will work to make sure the state legislature is doing what it can to protect gun owners in the Commonwealth.

Whitfield said this is the first gun show he’s been to recently, but he was not surprised by the crowd, after hearing reports about other gun shows. Asked if some gun-control advocates would call these crowds a panic response, Whitfield replied, “You can call it whatever you want to, but there’s genuine concern out here that this President and this administration are going to be taking steps to significantly change gun control laws in America.”

The president has asked Congress to act so gun violence can be reduced. He’s asking lawmakers to pass an assault-weapons ban, universal background checks and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines. In the meantime, he’s taking steps right away with some executive orders.

Regarding the executive orders, Whitfield said, “The House of Representatives, we can reverse any of these executive orders, unfortunately, that won’t happen in the Senate. So the only recourse that we have available, really, is for groups like the NRA and others to file lawsuits if they believe that his executive orders are unconstitutional or violate some federal law. So, I think you’re gonna see a lot of lawsuits.”

Bechler says on the state side of things, there is some homework to be done.

“I think we can look at what laws are currently on the books, take a look at other state laws, and the least we can do is start a conversation in the state about what laws we should have on the books,” Bechler said.

He added that there may be some conflict between state laws and new federal laws, if passed. However, Kentuckians would still have their 2nd Amendment and 10th Amendment rights.

“I’m hopeful that we can pass something that will assure that there’s not a question about our 2nd amendment rights in Kentucky,” Bechler said.

Vendor Bob Wurth is selling part of his personal collection at the show. Since he isn’t a gun dealer, he doesn’t have to do background checks on buyers, at least for now. Potential new laws could change all that, and might be more trouble than it’s worth for these gun enthusiasts, causing them to stop coming to shows. He said he looks potential buyers in the eye and asks them if they have a criminal history, and can tell alot from how people react, regardless of their eventual answer.

One shopper, who has worked in law enforcement, said, “I have one question for President Obama: ‘If we could save one life by giving everyone a gun, wouldn’t it be worth it?'”

Dan Leatherwood, an NRA volunteer from Murray, started selling year-long memberships and giving away caps at 9:00 am, and by 1:30 pm, he was out of membership forms. He said he would be back on Sunday.

The Paducah Gun Show continues Sunday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. The annual event is hosted by the R.K. Shows Inc. of Kentucky.

Article by Bill Hughes of the West Kentucky Star.

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Lynn Bechler Takes the Oath of Office

FRANKFORT, Ky.—On January 8, 2012, Lynn Bechler took the oath of office and joined 99 other members of the Kentucky State House. (more…)

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