McCracken Lawmakers Discuss Hot-Button Issues
By Tim Brockwell
PADUCAH, KY - Area legislators met with the public Saturday morning at the Commerce Center to discuss the 2014 legislative session.

State Representatives Lynn Bechler (R-4th), Will Coursey (D-6th), Richard Heath (R-2nd), Steven Rudy (R-1st) and Gerald Watkins (D-3rd) participated in the town hall style meeting. Each spoke for several minutes about a broad array of issues at the event, which was hosted by the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce. They then took questions from the audience for about half an hour.

Completing a budget and the need for comprehensive tax reform were discussed by the lawmakers. They talked about a need for changes in how online purchases are taxed to help Kentucky businesses compete in the global economy.

"We began the dialogue this week with taking up comprehensive tax reform," Rep. Rudy said. "There are a lot of moving parts in the proposal that's out there, and it's a good starting point. I think it's time to look at what's going on with our tax structure, and what we can do to get it in line with the new economy."

Among other topics that drew spirited comments was a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound, and for the images to be described to her in detail. A medical marijuana bill, a statewide smoking ban and revising the commonwealth's nuclear moratorium were also discussed.

Local priority projects, such as the $8 million WKCTC Paducah School of Art and Design campus and a study for a new connector from US-45 to US 60 received support from all the lawmakers.

"We're Republicans, Democrats and Independents, but in the end we all have the same objective, and that's to move our region of the state forward." Rep. Coursey said.

Here is full audio of the meeting:

Published 05:00 PM, Sunday Feb. 16, 2014
Updated 10:38 AM, Tuesday Feb. 18, 2014

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