by Senator Steve Meredith:
As we wrap up week nine of the 2022 Regular Session, much is happening in the world. Often we get caught up in challenges we face nationally and even those challenges abroad. Rightfully so. The current topic most critical is the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Bipartisan Senate Resolution 153 was adopted by the Senate this week, and spoke to the importance of freedom and standing in unity with the Ukrainian people.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky supports Ukrainian sovereignty and its right to self-determination, as we have a shared love of freedom and self-governance. America remains the shining city on a hill, and as proud Americans we wish for nothing more than the same independence and love for liberty we share at home to be spread across the globe.
Since declaring independence from Russia in 1918 and being freed from the grip of the communist Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has developed a rich culture, language and history, entirely unique to itself. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Christianity was introduced to the nation and allowed to flourish. Sen. Robby Mills (R-Henderson) shared a touching story on the Senate floor about his travels to Ukraine during that time.
Like Kentucky, Ukraine is geographically blessed and rich with natural resources, which are the primary drivers of its economy. These national treasures are to be enjoyed by the Ukrainian people, not to be seized by an authoritarian Russia and used to expand its wealth and power. As a local way Kentuckians can stand against Russia and for Ukrainian sovereignty, our robust spirits industry can cease selling and purchasing Russian vodka and other goods. This is a wonderful opportunity to shop local and support Kentucky and United States produced liquor products.
With Ukraine being the largest eastern European country, its independence is in our country’s best national security interest, especially as Russia and China strive to become a global hegemony. We must stand for the values our republic best exemplifies and alongside the people of Ukraine against an aggressive, unpredictable and dictatorial Russia. The balance between human prosperity and freedom and human suffering and subjugation is constantly shifting. Despite fears and anxieties of foreign unrest, Americans must continue to defend the principles that best enable us to live out the rights we are each endowed with.
Another bipartisan measure that passed the senate this week was Senate Bill 194 which would send a rebate to all income tax-paying Kentuckians. This money is not a stimulus, but comes from a budget surplus resulting from an excess of federal money flowing into the state, as well as conservative spending over the past couple of years. These funds are currently sitting in the commonwealth’s coffers and are not tied to future projections. During a time of rapidly rising inflation, this bill puts hard-earned money back into the pockets of families and allows them to save or spend that money as best fits their needs.
Other bills passed this week include Senate Bill 10, legislation that bolsters the nursing profession in our state; Senate Bill 158 which establishes the Office of Fleet Management; House Bill 6 sets the standard for car trade-in values and related property taxes; and House Bill 144 and House Bill 4 which either refine or establish new terms around the distribution of unemployment insurance.
As always, it’s an honor to represent the residents of the 5th District here in our commonwealth’s capitol. If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please contact me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Stephen.Meredith@lrc.ky.gov . You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.legislature.ky.gov.