(From right) U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-KY, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, and Congressman Thomas Massie, R-KY, testify in favor of an industrial hemp bill up for consideration in the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee.
After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.
Agriculture Commission James Comer—the leading proponent of industrial hemp in Kentucky—recruited U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth to speak in favor of the bill at the committee, as well as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. But the bill has opposition from many law enforcement agencies, including the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE, a federally-funded program.
The crop could create jobs in Kentucky in agriculture and other industries through hemp's use as a strong material, said Comer, a Republican. The legislative approved in committee Monday, Senate Bill 50, is Comer's chief legislative priority.
The effort to legalize industrial hemp is gaining steam nationally and in Kentucky. State lawmakers will hold a hearing today in Frankfort about the issue, and some heavy-hitters are lined up to back the effort.
Appearing at Monday's hearing will be U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, and former CIA Director James Woolsey. Also appearing will be Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who has made the legalization of industrial hemp his number one legislative priority.
Law enforcement groups remain opposed to legalizing hemp because they say it will be impossible to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Supporters say it's not difficult to tell the difference between the two plants.
Kentucky Public Radio Frankfort Bureau Chief Kenny Colston is covering today's hearing on hemp and we'll have updates online, at our Facebook page, and during our state and regional newscasts later today on All Things Considered.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been chosen to deliver the Tea Party's response to President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
The Bowling Green Republican will follow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who will give the official Republican response to the President's speech. Paul has admitted he is considering a run for the White House in 2016, and recently told reporters he wants to find a way to "part of the national debate."
WKU Public Radio is airing live coverage of the President's State of the Union address and the Republican response. That coverage begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. central/9 eastern.
This will be the third time the Tea Party has offered a response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Sen. Paul will speak from the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says the President shouldn't be able to authorize drone strikes on U.S. citizens until there is some sort of review process in place.
Speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" program, the Republican from Bowling Green said that it was "very unseemly that a politician gets to decide the death of an American citizen."
"They should answer about this 16-year-old boy, al-Awlaki’s son, that was killed, not in collateral damage but in a separate strike. They never answered that. I think you should be tried for treason if you’re an American citizen, you go overseas and you take up arms. I’m probably for executing you but I want to hear the evidence," Sen. Paul said.
Paul was referring to Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the teenager son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al- Qaeda propagandist killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen a year ago. The teenager was killed in a separate strike some two weeks after his father was killed.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he plans to refile a bill that would scale back the power of the Transportation Security Administration. The Bowling Green Republican told Politico he has two different measures ready to go—one that would privatize the TSA, and another that would create a passenger bill of rights.
Paul introduced those bills during last year’s Congress, but both measures failed to get out of the Senate Commerce Committee. Paul wants to end the TSA screening operation and force airports to hire private companies to conduct security screenings. Paul’s legislation would also allow some fliers to opt out of pat-downs, and create an expedited screening program for frequent fliers.
Sen. Paul drew national attention last year when he resisted a pat-down at the Nashville airport. That refusal caused him to miss a speech he was scheduled to make, and a video of the incident went viral on the internet.