Fri. Feb 22nd, 2019

Get involved in the legislative process

By Quintez Brown —

You don’t have to be a political science major to be informed on what’s currently going down in Frankfort.  If you are, even better.

The state legislature of Kentucky is currently in their annual legislative meeting. The legislature, also called the General Assembly, started meeting last Tuesday. They’ll be convening in Frankfort for 30 days.

During this time, 138 elected representatives and senators from all over the state will be meeting to pass new bills and amend our state constitution.

Republicans maintain a supermajority in the legislature, but 34 newly elected officials took office last week. It’s not enough to just vote politicians into office. As citizens and constituents, we must also stay informed and let our representatives know what we want.

Being informed and involved during this legislative session should be your next step after voting in the November midterms.

Jasmine Farrier, chair of the political science department, wants students to understand that a number of bills have an impact on their future.

“There are lots of bills that should be important to students across Kentucky who are planning to build a career or business in the Commonwealth, spanning economic issues and personal freedoms.”

Tuition and student debt are other examples student-related issues that’ll be on the table in Frankfort.

“More directly, lower state spending on universities means higher tuition and student debt,” Farrier said.

What is a democracy if our elected officials aren’t making legislative decisions based on views, interests, and preferences of the citizens who elect them?

Farrier said the first step of getting involved is becoming informed.

“First, find your legislators in the KY General Assembly through this easy search tool. Second, look up those individuals online to see their party affiliation and legislative/issue interests. Third, send an email to their offices or call to voice your opinion on one or more pending issues,” she said.

U of L’s political science department also offers an opportunity to get involved with their Frankfort Internship Program.

Every year, the department takes about 25 students to get involved in the legislative process. 

“Students get a “real world” experience that includes watching real legislative processes, constituency representation, group advocacy, and behind-the-scenes negotiations,” Farrier said.

College students represent the largest percentage of young voters. We should not only be active votes but active participants in the legislative process.

There are different resources to learn how to do so. This website allows you to find your representative and begin to become an active participant.

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Find%20Your%20Legislator/Find%20Your%20Legislator.html

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal

 

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