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Monday, February 11, 2013

Kentucky Legislature Tackles Tough Issues In Short Session: Soft Drinks And Beer Cheese.

Kentucky legislature tackles tough issues: soft drinks and beer cheese
Written by Joseph Gerth

It’s good to know the Kentucky House of Representatives is keeping its eye on the ball.

The state’s pension programs are a gazillion dollars in the red, the Kentucky’s antiquated tax system can’t keep up with the needs of the commonwealth and the state’s legislative districts have been out of whack for a year longer than they should have been.

Many problems like this won’t be addressed during the short 2013 session of the Kentucky General Assembly because, legislators say, there’s just not enough time.

So, in steps state Rep. Donna Mayfield, R-Winchester, to show that the really important things can still be addressed. Even in a 30-day legislative session.

Important things like soft drinks and beer cheese.

Really. It’s 2013 and Kentucky’s legislature still hasn’t declared that Clark County is the home of beer cheese. Oh, the humanity.

Now, I must say that I don’t know a whole lot about this subject.

I know plenty about beer and enough about cheese. But Mayfield’s legislation doesn’t include a lot of “what-fors” and “whereases” as many of these naming bills do, to explain why beer cheese is important.

But the Beer Cheese Festival Website tells me it was first served in a Clark County restaurant owned by John Allman back in the 1940s.

Mayfield also wants to name Ale-8-One the official “Kentucky original soft drink.” If you haven’t spent a lot of time in central Kentucky, its a locally-produced ginger ale since 1926.

No wonder Kentucky trails all but a few other states in virtually every metric that matters (thank you, Mississippi and Alabama) if its taken us this long to pass such significant legislation.

We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t name Ale-8-One the official something or other?

We have a state wild animal game species, state horse, state fruit, state flower, state rock and state soil. State soil? Crider soil series.
I don’t know why.

Legislators approved a state gemstone, state rock, state mineral, state tree, state arboretum and state dance. It’s clogging, if you need to know.

There is the state botanical garden, official state science center, state honey festival, state musical instrument, state song and state bluegrass song. Blue Moon of Kentucky, as you might expect.

We have a state music, state theater pipe organ, a state outdoor musical, a state center for African-American Heritage and a state latin motto, which, seems to be in violation of the state’s aforementioned official language, which is english.

The Corvette is the state’s official sports car even though the vast majority of Kentuckians couldn’t afford one. There’s a state Shakespeare festival, a state commonwealth theater, a state amphitheater, and a state tug-o-war championship. That’s in Fordsville.

There is the state covered bridge capital, a state steam locomotive, a state bourbon festival and a state silverware pattern: Old Kentucky Bluegrass — The Georgetown Pattern. You can’t buy it at Macy’s. In fact, I can’t find anywhere where you can buy it.

Not to be outdone, but Rep. Reggie Meeks, D-Louisville,eeee has filed House Bill 56, which would make the Kentucky long rifle the official gun of Kentucky. Shouldn’t Russ Smith, the University of Louisville guard be named the “official gun” of Kentucky?

But I digress.

In his years heading the state House State Government Committee, former Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, did a pretty good job of killing such bills.

He’s retired now and Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, is now running the committee. We’ll see if he kills the bills like Cherry did, or lets them fly as past committee chairmen have obviously allowed.

If Yonts holds votes on such bills, I have an idea. How about an official state waste of time?

Surely, I jest. Kentucky really has outdone itself in “naming” bills, which are largely used to pat ourselves on the back when we can’t claim credit for great schools, the welfare of our children or high wages for our workers.

We have a state language, state bird, state agriculture insect, state fossil, state butterfly and a state drink. The drink, by the way, is milk. Not bourbon. Figure that?

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