Slamming the door

In attempts to give the Kentucky legislature more of a smoke-filled, back-room, closed-door kind of atmosphere, a new bill in the Senate (SB 136) is in the mix. It's all about "security." This kind of bill would allow committees that normally operate open meetings to close the doors and hold the meeting in closed session, if secure information is to be discussed. Heightened security is all well and good in this day and age. And surely no one in Kentucky's state legislature would take the federal government's lead and hold secret meetings and hammer out deals with the top brass of corporations. - Rob Kirkland

Morris Dees, founder of The Southern Poverty Law Center
Free. Speech.

Morris Dees, founder and chief trial counsel for The Southern Poverty Law Center, will speak at the University of Kentucky, Thursday, February 7th. Dees has been accredited with such honors as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award from the National Education Association and Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. Long an advocate of civil rights and a promoter of diversity, he will give a speech on the issues facing America post-September 11. Recent polls show Americans are seemingly not too reticent to give up a few of our rights for our own sense of greater security. But will his speech promote the outright protection of our civil rights, especially people of Middle Eastern descent, or will he be in favor of slight infringement upon them? -RB

Well we're movin' on up

With help from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $400,000, the University of Kentucky is hoping to improve its relationship and the lives of residents on the eastside of Lexington. The program will form a triumvirate between the university, local government agencies, and residents. The UK College of Architecture will help with neighborhood revitalization, while the Colleges of Social Work and Human Environmental Sciences will deal with helping residents develop skills for self-sufficiency and community leadership. The College of Education will aim to increase student performance, decrease dropout rates and increase employment opportunities. Further assistance will be given by the newly opened East End Community Outreach Partnership Center. -RK

Get in line for your soma ration!

Well, you're not a khaki-clad Delta, I'm not a Gamma in drab gray, and there aren't any government-employed sub-bursars. Not yet, anyway. But we could be headed in that direction. Currently proposed and up for consideration is Senate Bill 15 (SB15), which would allow for the establishment of a Kentucky Senior Rx Program. Under this program, eligible seniors, those 65 or older with an annual income no greater than twice that of the federal poverty level (which starts at $8,350 for one person) would be provided prescription drugs through the Cabinet for Health Services and Department for Medicaid Services. But, if enacted, this would not lead to the doling out of pills willy-nilly. The bill has some countermeasures to ensure quality control. Let's hope. - RK