Off The Record: A famous QB in the legislature?

February 09, 2004|HERB BROCK

Some observations, illuminations and obfuscations about the state of government and politics in Kentucky, written on the back of an application to change my name to Herb Fletcher so I can serve in the new governor's administration:

FAMOUS QB TIM COUCH ALSO A STATE LEGISLATOR?... University of Kentucky sports fans have been grumbling a lot in recent weeks about a 4-8 football record and a basketball team that doesn't have the "Final Four look." Making matters worse are the facts that archrival University of Louisville landed arguably the best high school quarterback in the country and that the U of L basketball team under "traitor Rick" has that championship quartet look.

But UK fans should take solace by looking at a political roster of stars. Two names of UK sports legend and lore are calling shots in state government in Frankfort. In the administrative branch, we have Richie Farmer as commissioner of agriculture. In the legislative branch, we have Tim Couch as a state representative.


Wait a minute. I do recall the general election in November when Richie "started" as a Republican and won. Yes, I've double-checked and that is the Richie Farmer from Manchester who starred for the UK basketball team in the early '90s. But I don't recall Tim Couch, the stud QB for UK in the late '90s and now a Cleveland Brown, running for office.

I checked with the Kentucky legislature Web site and 90th District state Rep. Tim Couch not only shares the same name as the gridiron Tim Couch, he is from Leslie County, as is the famous QB. But further checking indicates that while the mountain lawmaker has the same name and same home county, he is not the same Tim Couch over whom UK fans went ga-ga (and most Browns fans have gone gag-gag.)

Well, we UK fans do at least have Richie starting for us. I guess we can pretend Tim Couch is there as well. We just have to realize that Rep. Couch probably spends more time on a sofa than a football field.

LAWMAKERS SHOULD "BUDGET" BILL-MAKING TIME MORE WISELY... Our legislators says they are in Frankfort during this 2004 session trying to make Kentucky a better place through proposing hundreds of laws. But based on a look at some of these proposed statutes, Kentucky may end up a worse place. Some of these bills - and the time wasted on them - makes one wonder why we passed that constitutional amendment calling for annual sessions. One every two years may have been more than enough.

With a budget crisis looming huge over the Capitol, some lawmakers are spending time worrying about silly stuff or stuff over which they have no control. It would seem to me that some of the guys and gals need to budget their bill-making time more wisely and focus on the budget.

Here are some examples of the lack of focus on Issue No. 1, plus some goofy bills:

* A Lexington lawmaker has proposed that local jails post on a wall the names of defense attorneys.

I'm all in favor of due process and all that stuff, but local governments are hard-pressed enough to have to spend extra bucks on free advertising for jailhouse lawyers. (Word to Boyle County Jailer Barry Harmon: if this bill passes, you might need to save space for Melbourne Mills' mural.)

* There are several bills that deal in the Pledge of Allegiance and the desire to protect its wording. The bills seek to overturn the ruling of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court in California regarding the use of the word God in the pledge.

I understand the emotion behind these efforts and the frustration many Americans of faith feel about what they consider to be the continual "erosion" of and/or attack against religious names and symbols. But these folks have to realize that the "under God" part of the pledge was added after it was originally written. And methinks the authors of these pro-pledge bills also would be stunned to realize the author of the pledge was way left of center politically.

* There's at least one bill that gets the Kentucky legislature involved in an issue confronting the federal legislature: the move by Democrats in the U.S. Senate to block floor votes on some of President Bush's judicial nominees. The bill "supports a floor vote."

Yeah, I bet Teddy Kennedy will change his mind once he hears that a guy in the Kentucky House is calling on him and other Democrats in the U.S. Senate to cut out the blocking maneuvers. Why doesn't this legislator also send the U.S. Senate Democrats a letter demanding they support Bush for re-election.

* There are a couple of bills that call on Congress to call on the Federal Communications Commission to call on Hollywood and the broadcast media to stop with the "indecent television and radio broadcasts" already.

Word to these worrywarts over words: Your TVs and radios and remote control devices have dials and buttons and keys. Use them.

* There's a proposed joint resolution to name a highway Veterans Memorial Highway in honor of all the "gallant troops" who have served in the nation's armed services over the years.

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