Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolution

By Keith Hosey

A new year means new promises to ourselves. Like many people, I often make new years resolutions and try to stick to it for more than two months. This year’s resolutions are probably similar to those many other people make, I want to eat healthier, exercise more, try to simplify my crazy life a little. As we start a new decade, I ask those whose lives or loved ones’ lives are touched by disability to make a resolution with me.

That resolution is: Make your voice heard.

Our federal representatives are currently debating a health reform bill in Washington that will affect people with disabilities, for the better hopefully. The Kentucky legislature 2010 session just started and among other important pieces of legislature, they will be debating how to fill a gaping hole in the state budget. Kentuckians with disabilities will be affected by what they decide. People with disabilities represent the largest political minority in America and Kentucky. Historically, this is a group that doesn’t necessarily flex that political power.

So, please make your voice heard! Here is a good guide for keeping up with and contacting your legislators:

Also, here’s a message I received from Kentucky’s LRC this week:

The Legislative Research Commission (LRC), invites members of the public to attend legislative committee meetings and floor sessions while lawmakers are at the State Capitol for the General Assembly's 2010 session, however, there are ways for citizens to stay in touch with the legislative process even if they can't make the trip to Frankfort.

The Kentucky Legislature Web Page is updated daily to give citizens the latest updates, bill summaries, amendments, and resolutions as well as each bill's status and the next day's committee-meeting schedule and agendas.

The site also provides Kentucky's senators' and representatives' phone numbers, addresses, and legislative committee assignments. Toll-free phone lines help citizens across the state follow legislative action and offer their input.

People who want to give lawmakers feedback can do so by calling the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181. A Spanish Line is (866) 840-6574, and anyone with a hearing impairment can use the TTY Message Line at (800) 896-0305.

A taped message containing information on the daily schedule for legislative committee meetings is available by calling the Legislative Calendar Line at (800) 633-9650. Information on the status of each bill being considered is available on the Bill Status Line, (866) 840-2835 or by signing up for Bill Watch.

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