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Ky. State Representative-Elects Discuss 2019 Legislative Predictions

Taylor Inman

Newly elected west Kentucky lawmakers heading soon to Frankfort say they believe continued tax reform and the push to legalize marijuana will be on the agenda next year.

Randy Bridges of House District Three and Chris Freeland of House District Six met with Paducah area business leaders Tuesday to discuss their new role ahead of the 2019 session.

Bridges said he believes the legalization of hemp in the recent Farm Bill will bring attempts in Frankfort next year to legalize marijuana in Kentucky. “I think you’ll see more pressure to go from to the cousin from the cannabis- from the cannabis to marijuana. And medical marijuana, recreational marijuana- I think there will be a big push.

I think there will be a big push,” he said.    

Bridges and Freeland believe only “cleanup bills” will pass during the 30 day session that begins on January 8. Bridges said these bills would fix the unintended consequences of legislation passed. Freeland said repealing the sales tax on nonprofits in the 2018 tax reform bill would be an example.

Other issues they believe will be on the agenda include legalizing sports betting, criminal justice reform and continued changes to the state’s tax code.

Bridges said he wants to be on the Education Committee because he has several educators in his family. Bridges said if appointed he would propose drug-use prevention programs in elementary schools to help tackle the opioid epidemic.

Freeland said he wants to serve on the Tourism Committee because the industry is an economic driver in west Kentucky. “In particular in my home county in Marshall it’s the second biggest revenue producer for our county, it produces several million dollars from economic activity, 2,800 jobs in our county are all tied to tourism,” he said. 

Freeland said he also would like to serve on the Small Business and Information Technology committee and the Economic Development Committee.

Bridges said his other option is the Transportation Committee. He said they would have most likely been assigned to three to four committees this week if a special session by Governor Matt Bevin wouldn’t have been called.

Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at!
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