County 'nullifies' new state laws

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'Tongue-in-cheek' ordinance mimics state's proposal to ignore new federal gun laws

By Linda Ireland

 LaRue Fiscal Court sent a message to Frankfort last week by holding first reading of an ordinance that says “Phooey” to new state laws.

The ordinance states the ability of LaRue County to provide necessary services for its citizens is threatened by the enactment of state statutes and regulations which cost a lot of taxpayer money.

Since the Senate recently voted to ignore any new federal gun laws, the county responded in kind.

The ordinance reads in part: “ ... any state law, rule, regulation, or order created on or after Jan. 1 ... shall be unenforceable within the borders of LaRue County if the law ... attempts to mandate the implementation, construction or enhancement of any facility or program without funding provided by the state to implement such.”

LaRue County Judge/executive Tommy Turner said the magistrates had just returned to open session Tuesday after going into executive session to discuss personnel and possible property acquisition.

“... I gave a brief update on the General Assembly,” Turner said. “I think the way things are going in Frankfort is frustrating everyone, especially those of us who have to deal with the results every day. There are so many major issues they could be discussing – pension reform, redistricting ... yet, I keep hearing ‘we’ll do that in a special session.’ Why not at least attempt to do it now?”

Turner said the state legislature’s special sessions cost about $65,000 per day.

“We are constantly getting letters and notices that funding will be cut, if a program is to be continued it must be paid for at the local level and so on. In other words, they don’t have any money. I wonder why?”

 “I thought that was an interesting concept and wondered how the state would feel if local government passed a law that stated simply ‘counties (or cities) would disregard state laws and regulations.’ Now, we know this can’t be done the same as we know the state can’t ignore federal laws ... but, if the General Assembly wants to act as if it has the authority to pick and choose the laws to follow, why can’t we do the same?”

Turner said the ordinance was read “tongue-in-cheek” and “symbolized the necessity of the state to deal with some very important issues that thus far have been shoved to the back of the table.”

Magistrate Ricky Whitlock voted against the ordinance.

The county’s ordinance – which will not receive a second reading to pass into law – contains much of the same language the Senate passed.

“Where the Senate Bill said ‘federal law and regulation,’ I substituted ‘state law and regulation.’ I told them it would be interesting if a county were to actually pass something like this to see what the reaction from Frankfort would be. One of the magistrates said, “Let’s give it first reading to let them know.”

Turner said he had sent a copy of the ordinance to “some folks in Frankfort.”