Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne visited Paducah on Thursday, touring the Paducah Innovation Hub alongside area representatives Steven Rudy and Randy Bridges, as well as Speaker Pro Tem David Meade.
The purpose of Osborne’s visit, he said, was to aid in the refocusing of the legislature as it moves into the upcoming session with the issue of COVID-19 continuing to loom over the commonwealth.
“(COVID-19) actually is affecting everything that we do, just as it’s impacting the lives of every family and business in Kentucky,” he said. “It’s affecting the way that we do business in the legislature and the way that we are approaching the upcoming session.
These visits were planned to help the House leadership key in on what its constituents across the state are needing.
“I think it’s important that as we look at directing (our) short-term focus, we get back out and we see what communities need most and how they need that,” Osborne said. “What businesses need as they struggle to stay open or reopen, what schools need, what parents need. It’s a different game for people right now and we need to be responsive to that.
“Government is not a very agile entity, but we try to be as responsive as we can.”
His coming to Paducah was part of a series of visits around the state to participate in meetings on various subjects through the pandemic lens.
“We’ve been doing roundtables around the state from just about every corner of the state, and it’s a pleasure to be here in Paducah. Rep. Bridges and Chairman Rudy have been excited to have us down here to show off this great space,” Osborne said of the Innovation Hub. “What a wonderful facility and opportunity for education in Kentucky.”
After receiving a tour of the premises that afternoon, the representatives met in the Innovation Hub to discuss education issues, among other matters.
Aside from COVID-19, a number of issues will be in front of the legislature in the near future: a historic one-year budget; the use of emergency powers; unemployment; and, notably, social justice reform in the case of matters like Breonna’s Law, which would ban no-knock warrants in the state.
“There are a lot of opportunities for reforms that will be bipartisan and bicameral,” the speaker said. “Both President (Robert) Stivers and several members of the house, including Rep. Attica Scott and Rep. (Jason) Petrie, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, are working on things along those lines.”