State representative defends bills, record

February 04, 2004

Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to the recent letter submitted by Tim Culhan regarding legislation I have either sponsored or co-sponsored. First, as to the accusation that I am a conservative, I must plead guilty. However, I have made no attempt to conceal this fact in the past. Other than this item, let's look at each question Mr. Culhan has brought up.

HB358 - This is a bill which would prohibit adoption and foster care in a home where a parent is homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. Mr. Culhan is correct in noting that I signed as a co-sponsor on this bill. However, it is interesting to note that he did fail to mention that the primary sponsor is a Democrat. This is an issue which has cross-party support. I also would like to mention that this past week the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Florida is justified in doing the same and detailed the rationale by saying, "Florida's interest is not simply to place children in a permanent home as quickly as possible, but, when placing them, to do so in an optimal home."


HB347 - This is a bill I have filed called, "The Good Stewardship Act." It is a proposed constitutional amendment which if enacted by a vote of the people would first limit the growth of the budget to the previous biennium plus increases due to inflation or growth in population. This portion of the bill is model legislation from ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and has already been enacted in some states including Colorado. What I have done is added a saving and investing clause which based on my calculation would allow the state to grow an investment large enough to where the state could self-fund in about 60 years. Basically, at that point the state would not need to tax its citizens. Given that this idea is not only "outside of the box," but also "out of the universe," it will take several years of presentation to gain both support and understanding.

As for the job I have done in this capacity, I hope he realizes that it would be unwise to judge any representative only on the amount of legislation filed. When it comes to self-promotion, I am always a little uncomfortable with telling the world, "Look at what I did." However, given that I need to give a small glimpse into a part of my activity, I will if the editor will indulge me.

I gave my support to the parking garage project and would hope that I played at least a small part in it receiving the $1.75 million grant. When Wilderness Road was in such bad shape that houses were rattling as trucks drove by and the state had no money available to fix it, I worked out a city and state partnership where the state paid for the asphalt and the city provided the rest. I have gone into schools to discuss how the General Assembly works.

During last year's budget process, I, as well as other legislators, worked to put money back into education. I worked with both Sen. Dan Kelly and Sen. Tom Buford in obtaining money for much-needed improvements and expansions to our water systems. I have worked with numerous constituent concerns with no consideration as to political affiliation. I am currently working with parents and others associated with Kentucky School for the Deaf to craft legislation for a career or life-skills track for students with various developmental disabilities. It is their hope that we can give all children the tools to be self-sufficient.

Finally, even though it seems Mr. Culhan and I disagree on many issues, I would encourage him as well as others to feel free to contact me about this or other issues of concern. You may leave a message for me in Frankfort by calling the legislative toll-free message Line at 1-800-372-7181.

Mike Harmon

State representative

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