Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
The Kentucky Standard, Bardstown, Kentucky, on law demands that public business be discussed in public:
The law is the law and ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse. When people are elected or appointed into a public office, their role should be to uphold the law and set an example of protecting the people's right to know, who by the way they represent. That's what the 1974 ground-breaking Kentucky Open Meetings law is here to protect.
In the case of the New Haven City Commission, members clearly violated the law when they began to discuss the wages of city employee Tim Bartley. The law states that only certain subjects can be discussed in executive session, which is closed to the public, and wage discussion does not meet the criteria. Signed documents show that the New Haven mayor and commissioners all have received "Your Duty under the Law," which is a detailed document clearly outlining the 1974 Open Meetings Law. ...
Public policy is public business and can't be conducted in secret. Anything less than conducting the people's business in an open meeting is cheating the citizens.
And may this editorial board remind other local governmental bodies, councils, committees and school districts that receive public funding that a "meeting" means all gatherings of every kind, regardless of where they are held, and whether they are regular or special, and information or casual gatherings held in anticipation of or in conjunction with a regular or special meeting. ...
While we elect or appoint our public officials with the utmost enthusiasm that they'll represent us all in good faith, it's imperative that laws are followed. It should be every person's responsibility who is serving in an official capacity of a state or local governing body to learn and carry out Kentucky Open Meetings and Open Records law. And furthermore, it should be every citizen's quest to demand they do so.
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader on state trailing in child care aid:
In the four months since Kentucky began phasing in draconian cuts in child care, 91 of the state's 2,000-plus child care centers have closed.
Kentucky's income requirements have become the most restrictive on working parents of any state, and we are one of only two states that have a freeze on applications for child care assistance, according to a recently released annual study by the National Women's Law Center.
Some states are rebounding from the recession by restoring and increasing child care funding, the national study reports, but Kentucky is speeding headlong in the opposite direction.
This is a dangerous direction for Kentucky, in terms of the immediate safety of young children and the long-term effects on education, the work force and the state's economy. ...
In Kentucky, the child care budget has been further strained by an increase in children who are in the care of grandparents or other relatives. The number of children in kinship care increased from 9,750 in 2009 to 11,400 in 2012. ...
Already there are anecdotal reports of parents quitting low-paying jobs and going back on public assistance because they can't afford child care.
What will happen to the children of parents who can't quit their jobs because they've reached their lifetime limits on public assistance? That question should weigh heavily on Kentuckians.
We can assume that some children will be staying in settings that are less than desirable and even unsafe.
President Barack Obama has proposed an early-childhood initiative that would expand access to preschool and increase support for high-quality child care.
Kentucky Republicans looking for common ground with Democrats could do their state a huge favor by supporting such investments in the future.
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on gays, lesbians making gains:
The thawing of fear and hatred toward gays and lesbians in the United States continues, drop by drop.
Someday the ice will have melted enough and our fellow citizens will at least be treated equally under the law, everywhere, and with more compassion.
There's more evidence of change recently.
It may not have been as big a deal as the new pope calling on Catholics to stop being so obsessed with homosexuality, but a Baptist social services institution in Kentucky that long defended its right to ban the hiring of gays and lesbians announced last week it is reconsidering.
And U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who once questioned whether an openly gay person could serve as a U.S. diplomat, forcefully called on certain state National Guards to stop defying new Pentagon policies regarding gay soldiers and their spouses.
One of those nine states is Indiana, according to The Associated Press.
Quickly, the Indiana National Guard sought to clarify its situation, telling the Indianapolis Star on Friday it had delayed same-sex benefits to guard members for a month, but was not going to deny them.
In Kentucky, people who have followed the case of Sunrise Children's Services were shocked last week to hear of a softening of what has been a hard-line stance on hiring. Formerly Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, the organization in 1998 fired a woman because she was a lesbian, sparking a legal battle that continues.
Now Sunrise President Bill Smithwick has recommended to his board that the organization open employment to gays and lesbians, marking a possible dramatic break from a past underlain by deeply held religious beliefs.
Reprisals are possible. ...
While Baptists certainly don't report to Rome, the reasoning expressed by Mr. Smithwick sounds something like what's coming from Pope Francis, who has brought increased attention to those suffering in the world, and, "the least among us."
In September the Pope told a fellow Jesuit interviewer that the Catholic Church had become "obsessed" with gay marriage and other hot-button moral issues and that the "dogmatic and moral teachings of the church" were not all the same. ...
It is as if an admonishment heard in some religious circles is losing power it once had — that when it comes to gays and lesbians, we are to love "the sinner" but hate the "sin."
But the whole problem with applying that teaching to sexual identity is that the supposed "sin" is as much a part of a human being as the color of a person's eyes, or skin.
More and more people are coming to believe that. As they do, even more of the ice of inequality will melt away.