(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.
With the news that more than a dozen tea party groups are actively recruiting a GOP candidate to run against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014, it’s worth taking a look at how Kentucky tea party-endorsed candidates have fared in statewide or Congressional races.
Since forming in the run up to the 2010 mid-term elections, Kentucky's tea party has won more than a third of the races its challenged for prominent offices, and its candidates have won several primaries over Republican establishment candidates.
The Senate this week will take up relief payments for areas hit by Superstorm Sandy, and Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose the measure. Paul says the Northeast does need help after the storm, but he would like to offset the costs with spending cuts elsewhere in government.
A measure authorizing $9 billion in relief already passed Congress. The Republican-controlled House recently approved an additional $51 billion package, which Paul says is laden with pork spending.
“I would have given them 9 billion and I would’ve taken the 9 billion from somewhere else. I would have taken it from foreign aid and said you know what, we don’t have money for Egypt or Pakistan this year because we have to help the Northeast.”
Kentucky Congressmen Brett Guthrie, Andy Barr and Thomas Massie all opposed the legislation in the House.