When was the last time you wrote a thank you note? The question crossed my mind after a recent conversation with a friend who takes this practice seriously. Verbal appreciation is taken a step further when it can be captured in written form, and there is one group I particularly want to say “thank you” to in this season — our elected leaders in the Kentucky legislature.
First Timothy 2:1-2 instructs believers to pray for those in authority and includes the call to give thanks for them. I often thank the Lord for certain Kentucky legislators. It is also good to say “thank you” personally when the opportunity arises.
There were several legislative accomplishments in the 2022 General Assembly that deserve our attention and appreciation.
Here are five law-making wins we can thank our elected leaders for …
1. They defended the unborn with HB 3 — House Bill 3 is an omnibus pro-life bill sponsored by Rep. Nancy Tate (R-Brandenburg). This bill addresses the disposal of fetal remains, the regulation of abortion pill dispensation, judicial bypass and parental consent for abortion on minors, abortion complications and abortion incidence reporting in Kentucky. A 15-week abortion ban was added to the bill when it passed in the Senate. Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the bill, but the veto was easily overridden by the legislature. The passage of this bill managed to place a temporary halt on legalized abortion in Kentucky. Many of us are praying for and working toward a permanent abolition of legalized abortion, and this bill is a step in that direction.
2. They challenged the LGBTQ+ revolution — Senate Bill 83, otherwise known as the Fairness in Woman’s Sports Act, was sponsored by Sen. Robbie Mills (R-Henderson). SB 82 ensures girls and women compete only against other biological females from sixth grade through college. While participation in sports itself may not a driving issue for Kentucky Baptists, it is important to us that the transgender movement is not allowed to run unchecked in the commonwealth. The transgender movement is rebellion against creation order. While we want all people to be treated with love and respect, we must continue to state that human beings are created by God as male and female.
3. They stood up for religious liberty — House Bill 43 ensures that Kentucky churches will not be shut down by emergency orders. When the COVID pandemic hit our state, Kentucky Baptist churches and their leaders stepped up as model citizens with a willingness to alter in-person services if it would help stop or slow the spread of the virus. Eventually, however, some of the requirements coming out of Frankfort were viewed as heavy-handed government overreach. This bill assures that the constitutional religious freedoms afforded to churches will be upheld in our state.
4. They opposed the expansion of gambling into the sports arena — Kentucky already has far too much gambling, yet some of our elected leaders wanted more. These leaders and their supporters used the argument about tax money going to our neighbor states, while ignoring the destructive human impact of expanded gambling. Thankfully, House Bill 606, which would have expanded sports betting in Kentucky, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), did not receive the support in the Senate needed to pass.
5. They exercised wise caution regarding medical marijuana — House Bill 136, sponsored by Rep. James Nemes (R-Louisville), would have legalized medical marijuana. The opposition of many Kentucky Baptists is based largely on the fact that there is no reliable research that marijuana has medicinal properties; concerns that — despite the restrictions in the bill — marijuana could be misused and fall into the wrong hands, particularly, young people; and that medical marijuana could worsen the addiction crisis. While each of us want suffering family and friends to have all the medicinal help they need, we also want the introduction of new drugs to be thoroughly studied and safe.
Our legislative leaders endure individual sacrifice and personal criticism in their roles and in the unpopular positions they take on various issues. They are frequently away from their families as well as their primary vocation. They work long hours and receive little appreciation. I am personally grateful for those who take strong stands on matters that impact the common good of the commonwealth.
Thank you, elected leaders, for standing up on the issues that matter most.