Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Frankort State Journal. September 20, 2022.

Editorial: Needed: More conversations about addiction, mental health

Our society can be contradictory at times. We celebrate when loved ones finish treatment cancer-free, but yet we don’t usually extend the same congratulatory wishes when someone overcomes a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s almost as though those who battle addiction and mental health issues are looked down upon instead of being boosted up — as they should be.

For so long, it was considered acceptable to keep substance abuse, addiction and mental health topics hidden under the rug. It was simply not something to talk about with family and friends — the very people whose support is vital to recovery.

Political Cartoons

It’s time for that to change, which is why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other organizations mark September as National Recovery Month. The initiative, which was started in 1989, is meant to increase public awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery. September is also a time to celebrate the gains made by those in recovery and reinforce the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health.

“This isn’t a fight that’s won overnight. But it’s a fight we are committed to seeing through,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “Addiction affects us all. It affects those we love and care about, and it impacts our economic success. Let’s work together to win the fight against opioids and build a better Kentucky — a better country — for us all.”

A Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Office of Drug Control Policy report released earlier this year indicates that the use of fentanyl — a powerful synthetic opioid — contributed to a record number of overdose fatalities in the state last year. 2,250 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2021 — nearly a 15% increase over the year before and the first time ever that the state has recorded more than 2,000 overdose fatalities in a single year. What’s even scarier is that 73% of those deaths were attributed to a single drug — fentanyl.

No one should have to fight alone. Let’s have more conversations about substance abuse, addiction and mental health issues. Let’s support — but not enable — those who are suffering and let them know there is hope and help is available.

If you or someone you know needs help with treatment resources, call the KY Help Call Center at 833-8KY-HELP or visit findhelpnowky.org Kentuckians can also visit the Kentucky State Police Angel Initiative website at http://kentuckystatepolice.org/angel -initiative/ to find one of KSP’s 16 posts where those suffering from addiction can be paired with a local officer who will assist with locating an appropriate treatment program.

Ashland Daily Independent. September 17, 2022.

Editorial: Lesson in civics: Learn, be aware, vote

Many older residents lament the lack of civics classes in high school and we understand why. ivics is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship and how government works, taking in history, political science and various social sciences.

Although seemingly neglected by today’s curriculum, it’s important for students to understand civics. As tax-paying Americans, one should realize tax dollars are supporting government. We deserve to understand how our government works and we must understand our duties and rights for our democracy to continue to work.

Sept. 17 was United States Citizenship Day, a good day to discuss civics.

In 1940, Congress established I Am An American Day on the third Sunday in May. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill doing away with the previous holiday and creating US Citizenship Day on Sept. 17, coinciding with the signing of the US Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Among our rights are freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly and to petition the government.

We should appreciate those freedoms — freedoms that make us among the most free people in the world — by understanding our duties as American citizens. Our duties include respect and obeying laws at all levels of government; respecting the rights, beliefs and opinions of others and participating in the local community by paying taxes, serving on juries when called, being aware of what is happening in your community, state and nation and voting as your conscience sees fit.

Being a good citizen might seem easy, but it’s not. If it were, we would not have low voter turnout on Election Day. The Council on Foreign Relations found voter turnout in the United States is below average among high-income countries.

Our democracy has faced challenges in recent years. If it is to survive, we all must fulfill our duties and to fulfill them, we must understand them.

Bowling Green Daily News. September 19, 2022.

Editorial: Paul wrong on journalism bill

It’s no secret why the newspaper industry has faced hardships in recent years. And no, it’s not because of a sudden proliferation of “fake news” – a lazy slur used by those averse to truth and accountability.

In fact, newspapers have, by most measures, more readers than ever. The struggles are because an increasing majority of people look online for news and information. That also means advertising, newspapers’ primary funding mechanism, is also moving online.

The beneficiaries of that move are in large part Big Tech giants like Facebook that are more than happy to aggregate news content on their sites and profit off of it through digital advertising. Under the current system, the creators of that content, newspapers, are left unpaid for their efforts.

That blatantly unfair system of companies profiting off others’ work clearly needs to be fixed.

That’s where the bipartisan Journalism Competition and Preservation Act comes into play.

As the Daily News’ Sarah Michels reported, the act “would offer digital news companies a four-year ‘safe harbor’ to collectively negotiate with platforms like Google and Facebook in order to level the playing field and secure fair compensation for use of their work” .”

Bowling Green Republican Sen. Rand Paul was a co-sponsor of the bill upon its introduction in March 2021.

However, Paul has now abruptly changed his tune. On Sept. 7, he opted out of the original bill and introduced an earlier version – the Local News and Broadcast Media Preservation Act, as a replacement.

Paul told the Daily News that his decision came down to a change in the original bill that “mandates government arbitration and government involvement in the solution. …While I’m for newspapers and broadcasters being allowed to bargain collectively, I’m not for the government enforcing a final arbitrated solution. It may sound like a technicality, but it’s a pretty important part of this and so I’m going to keep working with the authors to see if they will come around to my way of thinking if they want my support.”

However, the bill has no viability without an arbitration component.

As Tonda Rush, director of public policy and general counsel of the National Newspaper Association, said, an arbitration measure is needed to “put some teeth” in the bill and “make sure that it happens.”

“I’m not quite sure why adding arbitration to the bill would trouble a senator,” Rush said. “Obviously, if you’re going to try to negotiate with an unwilling party, which the platforms are, there’s got to be some endpoints so that you just don’t discuss forever and ever and just spin up the clock and nothing happens.”

It’s also important to note the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would not include large national papers like the New York Times or The Washington Post. Instead, it would help community newspapers like the Daily News, which despite trends that see several newspapers closing every week, continues to be the only local source for coverage of vital things like government and school board meetings, local elections and much more.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act is currently on hold after Sen. Ted Cruz, R. Texas, introduced an amendment to the bill regarding content moderation. He told Breitbart.com that Democrats’ unwillingness to accept his change “is a case study in how much the Democrats love censorship.”

We hope Paul and other Republicans will not continue to work to block the vitally needed Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.

Jennifer Bertetto, chief executive of Trib Total Media, made the case eloquently at a February subcommittee hearing. She said Google and Facebook’s record profits have come at the price of shuttered newspapers.

“Journalism cannot just be ‘content’ that Big Tech can commoditize,” Bertetto testified. “Our Founders understood that quality journalism is key to sustaining civic society, and it’s why a free press is enshrined in the US Constitution. But the ‘free’ press does not mean our work is for free.”

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