Kentucky House Bill 5, which would reduce the so-called Bourbon Barrel tax gradually beginning in 2026, is the subject of much controversy. Counties such as Anderson would lose over a million dollars that has historically been paid by bourbon distilleries.
Anderson County Sheriff Joe Milam released a statement in opposition to HB 5. The Sheriff’s Office could lose a substantial amount of money from the proposed tax elimination:
“This is Sheriff Joe Milam asking for your support on a most important issue. House Bill 5.
The passage of this Bill would decimate my office and our county. Anderson County receives 2 million dollars annually from the Bourbon barrel tax from Wild Turkey Distillery. We also have millions of dollars in projected income at stake with the expansion of Buffalo Trace and two other distilleries coming in the next couple of years.
My office will lose $70,000 which would result in the cutting of 3rd shift. Our Schools will lose $1.3 million, Fire will lose $220,000, Library will lose $167,000, Health Dept. $65,000 and Extension Office $30,000. Over 20 other counties will suffer as well. Nelson County stands to lose $8.5 million.
I know there’s talk of supplementing theses dollars with general fund monies, but that just shifts the load from the bourbon industry, who are making record profits, to the taxpayer at a time when it’s all we can do to make ends meet.
This has hit me out of left field. We have always had our distilleries as good community partners and we have went above and beyond to help with security issues, traffic control and other responses for them because they had an investment in our community. Our Fiscal Court just approved the re-zoning of a large tract of land for Buffalo Trace to build over 20 Warehouses in the near future. This they did in spite of potential traffic problems and local residents objecting to turning a beautiful piece of farmland into a distillery and having to constantly deal with the black fungus that covers everything in the vicinity of the warehouses, solely because of the increase in revenue for our schools and all other taxing districts.
I know this doesn’t affect every county, but it does affect over 20 and growing. We could sure use your help. Please oppose House Bill 5 and encourage your fellow Lawmakers to do likewise. The local residents here are at a complete loss as to why the General Assembly would strip these essential funds from our local schools and other services to reward a Bourbon industry that is booming like never before, and our other local industries are questioning why the Bourbon industry should be made exempt from paying what is clearly an inventory tax (goods stored in a public tax) while they are expected to continue to pay it.
Opposition to HB 5 is increasing at an amazing pace as evident by such Associations and Groups as the following voicing their opposition: KLC, KACO, Firefighters ASSOC, Co Clerks ASSOC, School Superintendents, Co Judges, Libraries, Health Dept Directors, Sheriffs and more.
We ask you to please join us in opposing House Bill 5. Please choose the people of Kentucky over more profits for an Industry that is growing like never before.
We need your help.
FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Senate advanced a bill Friday that would restrict “adult performance,” includes drag shows, from taking place on public property where it could be seen by children.
The vote was 26-6 along party lines with one Republican senator passing. The debate became heated at times.
Senate Bill 115 would prohibit drag shows, considered “adult performance” by the bill’s standards, from taking place on publicly owned property or “in a location where the person knows or should know the adult performance could be viewed” by a child.
Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, sponsored the bill.
A first offense would be a Class B misdemeanor, a second offense would be a Class A misdemeanor and any subsequent offenses would be Class D felonies. Additionally, any business hosting such a performance where children are present could have their liquor and/or business licenses suspended or revoked.
“SB 115 is a straightforward, commonsense, and necessary bill to protect children in Kentucky from inappropriate adult performances,” said David Walls, the executive director of The Family Foundation of Kentucky. “Let’s state the obvious, sexually explicit adult performances, including drag shows, should not take place near children or in schools or libraries.
“SB 115 is a family friendly bill that will help protect children and families from these unregulated and harmful adult performances that are specifically targeting children,” Walls added.
Over the past several years, in Kentucky and across the nation, there has been a growing concern about adult performances targeting children. At public libraries, in schools, and on other public property there has been a coordinated push to let men dressed up as exaggerated, hyper-sexualized caricatures of women perform for children, including reading sexualized and age-inappropriate books.
The organization Drag Queen Story Time — Kentucky regularly hosts events for children and openly advertise their availability to perform at public libraries, schools, and community centers, The Family Foundation said in a news release.
Tichenor filed an amendment to change the definition of “adult performance” in the bill. It would be considered anything that “appeals to a prurient interest in sexual conduct” and “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The amendment was adopted.
Two amendments from Minority Caucus Chair Roger Thomas, D-Lexington, failed. The first would clarify that performances from a theater or dance program would allow for the portrayal of “a gender different than the participant’s gender at birth with impunity.” The second said “conduct consisting solely of touching, embracing, or kissing” is not a sexual act.
The bill is in response to performances once limited to adult audiences but “now are being introduced to the general public as appropriate-for-all-ages under the guise of inclusivity,” Tichenor said. She said she’s heard from people who said their families encountered such performances in public places.
“These performances have never been a problem until they made their way into the public sector,” Tichenor said.
Democratic Sen. Karen Berg borrowed a libertarian theme to oppose the bill: “Don’t tread on me.”
For LGBTQ groups, “drag is a form of self-expression that you don’t have to understand, you don’t have to appreciate, you don’t have to like and you don’t have to attend,” she said.
Across the country, conservative activists and politicians complain that drag shows are contributing to the “sexualization” or “grooming” of children. The Tennessee Legislature recently passed a bill banning public drag performances by classifying them as adult cabaret, among topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers and strippers. Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law.
The bill takes aim at drag shows by stating adult performances include a live performance involving male or female impersonators that “appeals to a prurient interest in sexual conduct” and lacks “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” Drag, however, does not typically involve nudity or stripping, which are more common in the separate art of burlesque.
The measure now moves to the Kentucky House for consideration.
FRANKFORT — Sen. Adrienne Southworth has filed SB 259 to repeal a law that was denounced by the Kentucky Supreme Court in 1987. As the youngest member of the senate, KRS 532.055 has been operationally functioning, albeit on life support, her whole lifetime.
This bill was first born before Southworth ever started visiting Frankfort regularly, when she received a call from a friend’s dad that her friend had been taken to prison for 26 years to serve a 13 year sentence. At the time, the sentence was longer than she had been alive. In all her years of public service, Southworth has continually encountered issues that can be traced to the sentencing process.
“Although I have researched and served in other areas of the criminal justice system, my belief is that sentencing is the single most effective way to start solving the massively out of control system we call criminal justice. As many of the folks I have worked with can verify, there is a lack of justice about it, which leaves it just criminal,” Southworth says.
Southworth’s same friend, Wesley Anglin, of Hardin County, is now on the outside and able to help directly in this effort.
“In over a decade of study after unfortunately first-hand experience, I have found KRS 532.055 to be a cancer on the constitutional rights of all Kentuckians. Reading the late Justice Leibson’s critiques have exposed the source of the problem and it’s time we fully repeal it.”
Senate Bill 259 repeals KRS 532.055, which has been termed “truth in sentencing” since its inception. In Commonwealth v. Reneer (1987), the Kentucky Supreme Court called it an encroachment, but then Justice Leibson identified it in his dissent as unconstitutional and abusive. In a series of cases, including Huff v. Commonwealth (1988), Commonwealth v. Hubbard (1989), and Boone v. Commonwealth (1989), Justice Leibson articulated his chapters in what he termed “a book with an unhappy ending.”
What Justice Leibson described as the state of affairs at that time could have been written today: “It takes no visionary to foretell that the new sentencing procedure will (1) produce sentences that are, in many cases, unduly harsh and abusive, (2) fatally overload an already overcrowded prison system, and (3) exacerbate the problem of disparate sentencing. The impending calamity to our sentencing system (it will be no less) is not just likely, it is inevitable. It will take years of effort to correct the mischief we have done this day, if indeed correction will ever be possible. The Majority opines that we ‘reserve the right to correct in the future’ any ‘abuses or injustices,’ but correction will come too little and too late for those who suffer in the meantime.” Commonwealth v. Reneer, 734 S.W.2d 794, 799 (1987) (Leibson, J., dissenting).
Senator Adrienne Southworth represents the 7th Senate district, including Anderson, Henry, Shelby, and southeast Jefferson counties. Updates on the progress of SB 259 and all other bills are located at legislature.ky.gov.
4-H has an opportunity to raise funds for Anderson County and statewide 4-H programs again this year, through the Kentucky Ag Tag Donation program.
“Kentucky 4-H has again been given a tremendous opportunity by Commissioner Quarles to raise significant funds to support 4-H,” said Melissa G. Miller, Executive Director of the Kentucky 4-H Foundation. “This funding creates life-changing opportunities for local 4-H’ers and cultivates future leaders — instilling leadership skills, citizenship, and life skills in a learn-by-doing atmosphere.”
Since 2012, Kentucky Farmers have the option to make a $10.00 voluntary donation when they purchase or renew their license plate. Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, will again equally divide the amount raised among 4-H, FFA and Kentucky Proud.
With more than 185,500 farm plates bought or renewed each year in Kentucky, the Commissioner’s action can generate significant funds to support these three outstanding programs.
In 2022, Kentucky 4-H received $202,074.37, from the Ag Tag Donations. These funds are split between the county where the funds originated and the Kentucky 4-H Foundation for state level programs. That means half of the Ag Tag donation stay in Anderson County funding programs and activities that teach children and teens about leadership, citizenship, science and technology, communications, public speaking, agriculture, and more.
Over 180,000 youth are involved in Kentucky’s 4-H program. Kentucky ranks in top 10 in several 4-H enrollment categories nationwide. All 120 counties in Kentucky have 4-H programs and all counties will receive a portion of the support from the Ag Tag Donation program.
If every Anderson Countian renewing an Ag Tag were to make the voluntary $10 donation, $16,310.00 could be raised.
For more information about Anderson County 4-H, visit our Anderson County 4-H (Kentucky) Facebook page, or visit our website https://anderson.ca.uky.edu/4h-youth-development
About Kentucky 4-H Youth Development: Kentucky 4-H Youth Development is a community of young people who are being empowered to reach their full potential by developing the skills necessary to succeed in today’s global society. We believe in the power of young people and that every child has the potential to be a true leader.
About Kentucky 4-H Foundation: The Kentucky 4-H Foundation exists to advance today’s Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Program. The Foundation is a partner of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H Youth Development. The Foundation exists to advance Kentucky 4-H by fulfilling its mission to “Fund opportunities for Kentucky 4-H youth.” Please visit the 4-H Foundation’s website at www.kentucky4hfoundation