The amount of insan­i­ty – and inani­ty – that accom­pa­nies leg­is­la­tors to Frankfort each year is tru­ly unfathomable.

Kentucky state capitol
Kentucky state capitol

Some of the leg­is­la­tion has actu­al­ly been help­ful, such as the bill to relieve the tax lia­bil­i­ty on vehi­cles, which has been ris­ing due to the inflat­ed val­ue of used vehi­cles. Other exam­ples include aid to local jails and employ­ee child-care assistance.

But there are oth­er pieces of law placed before the assem­bly that sim­ply can­not be rec­on­ciled with any ratio­nale oth­er than try­ing to make polit­i­cal statements.

Three recent egre­gious exam­ples come to mind.

The first is HB 23 which passed out of com­mit­tee, a bill to deny trans-gen­der ath­letes from play­ing on teams under their non-birth sex­u­al iden­ti­ty.  A mod­est change was made to the bill to exempt kids in kinder­garten through the sixth grade, but once a stu­dent enters junior high school he or she will be con­fined to a team on which they choose not to play, or denied the oppor­tu­ni­ty to play at all.  This bill is the per­fect exam­ple of a law chas­ing an issue that doesn’t exist con­sid­er­ing that the spon­sors could not cite any instances in Kentucky schools of it being a prob­lem.  But that’s okay, as long as you cater to the sex­u­al bigots.

The sec­ond bill out of com­mit­tee, HB 51, removes the abil­i­ty of local school dis­tricts to require masks in schools.  One of the spon­sors who spoke in favor of this bill was record­ed as say­ing that the ulti­mate con­trol over such an issue should rest with the par­ent.  This despite the fact that the COVID vac­ci­na­tion rate in Kentucky – even includ­ing those who have received only one shot – is present­ly at 64%, a num­ber that should demon­strate that there are a lot of par­ents who are total­ly igno­rant of the val­ue of both vac­ci­na­tion and masks that has been amply demon­strat­ed else­where and is sup­port­ed by the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of those who actu­al­ly know what they are talk­ing about.  In fact, one leg­is­la­tor even stat­ed that the val­ue of masks is in dis­pute.  Only in his mind.

And then HB 248 is pro­posed to pre­vent any state funds from being expend­ed to chal­lenge the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of leg­isla­tive actions.

Let’s see if we have this cor­rect.  The leg­is­la­ture can expend state funds cre­at­ing leg­is­la­tion that may be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, but no such funds can be used to ques­tion whether the action was tru­ly in accor­dance with estab­lished law.  This bill can only be described as leg­isla­tive­ly oxymoronic.

Finally, the case of SJR 80, not a bill but: “A JOINT RESOLUTION estab­lish­ing that the Commonwealth of Kentucky will rec­og­nize a pos­i­tive COVID-19 anti­body test as equiv­a­lent to hav­ing been vac­ci­nat­ed against COVID-19…”  Some have labeled this the “Don’t pay atten­tion to the sci­ence bill” and that’s a very apt description. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one study showed that peo­ple who already had COVID-19 and did not get vac­ci­nat­ed after recov­ery were more than two times more like­ly to con­tract the dis­ease again than those who were vac­ci­nat­ed after recovery.

A Cleveland Clinic study found that “Administering a COVID-19 vac­cine not designed for the Omicron vari­ant, 6 months or more after pri­or infec­tion (empha­sis added) or vac­ci­na­tion, pro­tects against Omicron vari­ant infec­tion in both pre­vi­ous­ly infect­ed and pre­vi­ous­ly vac­ci­nat­ed individuals.”

Dr. Mark Cameron, dis­ease immu­nol­o­gist at Case Western Reserve University stat­ed that the over­all sci­ence sup­ports get­ting a vac­cine even if one has a nat­ur­al immu­ni­ty from COVID 19.

Dr. Anna Durbin, pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tion­al health and fac­ul­ty mem­ber of the Johns Hopkins Center for Immunization Research said: “We have evi­dence show­ing that if you’ve been nat­u­ral­ly infect­ed with COVID-19 and you aren’t vac­ci­nat­ed, your risk of get­ting rein­fect­ed with symp­to­matic dis­ease is about 2.5‑fold higher.”

When asked, “Are anti­body tests a reli­able way for some­one to assess their immu­ni­ty to COVID-19?”, her response was: “There are a cou­ple of things flawed about that.  First, anti­body lev­els wane over time.  Second, these tests don’t cap­ture the full pic­ture.  Antibodies are just one part of the equa­tion.  They’re not pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for pre­vent­ing severe dis­ease once you’re infect­ed.  The anti­body tests are designed to diag­nose whether you’ve had the infec­tion recent­ly.  They’re not designed to tell you how your immune sys­tem is going to respond to COVID-19.”

The point is there are far more experts on dis­ease and immunol­o­gy than are present in the Kentucky leg­is­la­ture and leg­is­la­tors should not be mak­ing laws that make pub­lic health hard­er to deal with.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.