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New legislator makes his mark

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By Calen McKinney

"I'm just a bill.

Yes, I'm only a bill.

And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.

Well, it's a long, long journey to the capital city.

It's a long, long wait while I'm sitting in committee.

But I know I'll be a law some day.

At least I hope and pray that I will.

But today I am still just a bill."

—School House Rock!

I didn't really pay much attention to politics until I realized that the decisions politicians make actually do impact me.

I care if they want to raise my taxes and change healthcare and road plans.

And I'm finding that the older I get, the more I care about governmental and political issues that only 10 years ago I couldn't have cared less about.

So that's why I was excited to spend a day with State Rep. John "Bam" Carney in Frankfort. I had been to Frankfort before, and even spent some time in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers, but I had never followed a legislator for an entire day. I was looking forward to seeing the inner workings of our state government and reporting them to the Campbellsville community.

I'm familiar with how bills become law and was glad to get the chance to see some of the process firsthand.

We have all seen School House Rock, right? Remember the catchy song about the bill becoming a law? The tune ran through my head more than once during my day in Frankfort a few weeks ago.

If you have ever been to the Capitol in Frankfort, you know the building can look a bit intimidating, with security and important-looking people waiting around just about every corner.

I did my best to follow Carney but also stay out of the way. Everyone I saw was extremely nice and greeted me with a smile or a "hello." I even ran into a few people I knew.

I enjoyed my day and even got to witness some history. Carney signed his first piece of legislation that day - Senate Bill 1 - which completely revamps the education system in Kentucky. Carney served on a free conference committee formed to help come up with a version of the bill that our representatives and senators could all live with.

For a "freshman" legislator, as I was told by several representatives, being asked to serve on such a committee is pretty impressive.

And I was pretty impressed.

After seeing him that day, I can tell Carney truly loves and cares about politics and hopes to make a difference for his fellow Taylor Countians and all of those who live in Kentucky.

And I think he's on his way.

Senate Bill 1, which was signed by Gov. Steve Beshear last week, is now law.

We can say our representative, a "freshman," had a part in that. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.