melinda gibbons prunty CURRENTBELTON, Ky. (2/11/19) — On Monday the 4th prior to heading back to Frankfort, a group of folks met in Greenville to discuss landlord tenancy issues. The group included several local landlords that had reached out to me regarding specific issues they face, representatives of those concerned and working on homeless issues, members of Legal Aid of Kentucky and the Executive Director of the Homeless & Housing Coalition of Kentucky. The conversations were frank and included discussions that ranged from issues with local court rulings to tenants who might be taking advantage of landlords and landlords who might be taking advantage of tenants.

The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act was discussed briefly. It is a formal agreement that has been adopted locally in 32 cities and 5 counties in Kentucky, mostly in urban areas. Some hope that it will be implemented across the state. Others feel it is too burdensome for landlords. Discussions to be continued.

On Tuesday, I participated in a Prayer Event in the Rotunda sponsored by the House Prayer Caucus prior to session beginning. It was well attended and a good way to begin the rest of the 2019 Session.

On Wednesday, I met with the TVA Caucus in the morning. With the recent announcement by TVA corporate officials to employees that they were going to recommend closure of PAF 3 to the TVA board by 2020, I had asked Chair Humphries if he could call us in quickly upon returning to Session. Unbeknownst to me Gov. Bevin decided to attend as well in support of our efforts which was most appreciated.

I presented what I knew about the fact that employees have been concerned over what the future of PAF 3 might be for at least two years. I also shared how corporate officials had told me at the Combined Cycle Plant dedication in April 2017 that it should be operational for another 10-20 years. It has been only three.

The Governor shared what his efforts have been thus far. In discussing what options the caucus might take, it was stated that at this late date, since the board may well be voting this Thursday, Feb. 14, one option would be to try and have an event “in the town square” showing support and how the closing of Unit 3 would impact the community. I could not guarantee him or the rest of the caucus anything, but a preliminary date and time of Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. was set. I was to make some calls to see if a significant number of folks would be able show up.

I was humbled to make just a few calls and immediately get a rapid and generous response from so many in the community. Everyone I called offered the resources they had available to them to try and make something happen.

I am pleased to say that the rally on Saturday at Paradise Park, Powderly, was an amazing outpouring of interest, concern and support. Among those present were TVA employees and retirees, coal miners and coal company staff, trucking folks, school personnel, children, interested citizens, union members, first responders and law enforcement, representatives of federally elected officials, both state and locally elected officials and Gov. Bevin along with several of his staff. [They were well hosted by M21 airport staff]

It could not have worked out any better. It was chilly but sunny. I do not believe it was a coincidence that we ended up at “Paradise” Park in the cold to remind us of our desire for energy, and not at any price, but low-cost, affordable energy.

A collective voice asked the board to postpone their decision until after the full seating of the board, its new CEO is hired and a current FERC analysis is completed, which has been estimated to be this summer.

At this point I would continue to remind everyone, particularly in Muhlenberg County, to write the TVA board to advocate for Paradise Unit 3. I have detailed information on my Facebook Page however the board email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

While it is a federal issue, I have advocated and continue to advocate all that I can. At this point the TVA board needs to hear from those that will be directly affected if Unit 3 shuts down; the employees and their families, the vendors and other businesses directly affected, and anyone related to or affected by the school system who benefits directly from TVA in lieu of tax dollars.
The next public comment period is set for this Wednesday, February 13, and I have secured an opportunity to address the board. If anyone wants to sign up to speak, the link was still live when typing this article. The next board meeting is set for the next day on February 14th. The board makes the ultimate decision!   https://www.tva.gov/About-TVA/Our-Leadership/Board-of-Directors

Another item of interest and something I have advocated for on behalf of all affected is the announcement by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Feb. 6 that funding has been released to repair the New Salem Circle Road Bridge in Nortonville. Officials stated they believe the project can be completed within three months, weather permitting.

Senate Bill 1 is moving. House Bill 1 has only had an informational hearing to date. Both are the exact same bill starting in different chambers showing how very important school safety and resiliency are in this session following the Marshall County shootings of last year. The goals are to make schools safer while simultaneously offering more mental health supports to students who might not have that available to them for whatever reason.

Other bills to watch include HB 11, 121, 135 and HCR 5. HB 11 would make the use of tobacco, e-cigarettes and other vaping devices on public grounds illegal across the state. The growing use of nicotine and aerosol vaping devices by teenagers compelled us to make this a state issue even though 42 percent of all school systems across the Commonwealth have already set this as policy locally.

HB 121 would remove the requirement for prior authorizations for medically assisted treatment prescriptions, the goal of which is to save lives. When someone who is addicted is ready to go for treatment, the delay oftentimes causes one to use drugs again and has often ended in drug overdose. Addiction is a chronic disease, not unlike diabetes, and the window of opportunity to treat sometimes is very narrow.

HB 135 relates to the use of “project labor agreements” or PLA’s between labor organizations and contractors for public projects. Supporters say it will save taxpayer dollars; opponents suggest that the quality of public work projects would decline. The debate is currently ongoing but could come up for a vote in the very near future.

HCR 5, of which I am a co-sponsor, asks the U.S. Congress to expedite research on medical marijuana for safety and efficacy. In a nutshell, it is asking the FDA conduct the three studies that are required of any other prescription medication prior to it being released on the market for public use.

As of Friday, we have only 22 days left in this short session. I will keep you posted as we move forward.

I welcome your comments and concerns on any issue and can be reached, regardless if in session or not, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100 Ext. 686, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov
 
Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District serving Muhlenberg and southeast Hopkins Counties which includes White Plains, Morton’s Gap, Anton as well as sections of Nortonville, Earlington and southeast Madisonville. She is Vice-Chair of the Health & Family Services Committee as well as the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Health & Family Services. She serves as a member on the Appropriations & Revenue, Education, and Natural Resources & Energy Committees as well as the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/ColonCancer.htm

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