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Legislature needs stronger take on meth

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KACo, League of Cities should buy business licenses, too

By BEN CARLSON

Column as I see ’em …
The next time a state legislator starts talking about forcing you to have a prescription to buy cold medicine due to the evils of methamphetamine, ask him or her to explain the following.
Tuesday morning I sat in awe as two of the three people found living in a drainage pipe and using meth behind Rite Aid nearly two years ago received probation after pleading guilty to the charges against them.
One of them had already served 20 months while his case plodded its way through court. The other served a total of eight months — 65 days on the meth charge and the balance on charges in other counties.
Yet the judge had little choice but to let them go on probation for their crimes.
It’s not the judge’s fault. Blame needs to be assigned to the legislature’s failure to make those involved in making, distributing and using meth actually pay a harsh, lasting sentence for their actions. Yes, I said their actions, and don’t bother coming at me with this “disease” garbage because it was them, not some disease, who made a conscious decision to use meth.
And get a load of this. The third person found in that drainpipe, a woman, was also there watching as her buddies were paroled.
Not in a prison jump suit, mind you, she’s free as a bird and awaiting sentence despite being arrested in late January following a car accident on Hammonds Creek Road.
It wasn’t just any car accident, either. According to court documents, she was huffing compressed air normally used to clean electronics at the time of the accident. Others in the vehicle said so, and claims she was driving in excess of 70 mph before the crash on the windy, narrow county road.
That she, her passengers or an innocent motorist weren’t killed is a miracle.
There is something inherently wrong with a legal system when three people found living in a drainpipe and using meth wait nearly two years to be sentenced.
There is something even more wrong with a legal system that speaks out of one side of its mouth about the evils of meth but allows three people who admittedly used the stuff to walk away after serving a very short period of time in jail.
Trust me, those who have already jumped into the black hole of meth may not be able to control their actions any more, but they’re certainly aware that the penalty isn’t nearly severe enough to make them stop.
Meanwhile, if the legislature does require the rest of us to have a prescription for cold pills, we can cough up a co-pay to our doctor, a co-pay to the drug store and take time off work every time we or one of our children are hit with the sniffles.
Oh, and we can also pay attorney fees and rehab costs for those who make meth their drug of choice.

Speaking of forced to pay, catch the article on A1 about the local insurance agent angry that he needs to purchase city and county business licenses when the agencies that insure city and county government don’t.
It’s easy to dismiss the Kentucky Association of Counties and League of Cities as non-profit groups that should be excluded from buying business licenses, but it’s also more than a little disingenuous.
While investigating that article, I questioned whether Peel and Holland, the company that sells insurance on KACo’s behalf, has a business license.
The answer was no, but the company would buy one immediately.
Frankly, KACo should buy one, too, and here’s why. Although KACo provides a variety of training and services to county governments, those employed by KACo have a more than a passing interest in selling insurance.
When faced with competition a few years ago, a salesman from Peel and Holland brought in plenty of reinforcements employed directly by KACo who gave their own smarmy, impassioned sales pitches in an all out effort to secure Anderson County’s business.
These guys sounded somewhat believable when they proselytized about the wonderful work they do for the citizens of the commonwealth, blah, blah, blah, but that was before their cohorts were outed for using what amounted to tax dollars to party down with, ahem, ladies of the night.
Don’t kid yourself. KACo’s hierarchy showed up here for one purpose only: to make sure they could continue to wet their beaks in Anderson County’s money trough.
And if you think the motives behind the scenes at the League of Cities are any different, you’re wrong.
Both are, among other things, insurance and loan companies created by the very entities they insure, and have vested interests in beating back competition.
Asking them to pony up a couple hundreds bucks for a business license isn’t an unreasonable request, but one you can rest assured will be denied.