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Attorney General Jack Conway is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott not to cut a not-yet-implemented prescription pill tracking system.

The program is similar to the KASPER system in Kentucky, which Conway and others say has helped stop pill mills from distributing prescription drugs in the commonwealth. It’s believed that many of the prescriptions abused in Kentucky come from Florida. Governor Steve Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, Congressman Hal Rogers and U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske have all encouraged Scott to reconsider cutting the program. In his latest monthly column, Conway joined the call:

The bottom line is that we need to stop illicit prescription pills at their source; states like Florida and Georgia that do not have prescription drug monitoring programs in place. Programs like Kentucky’s KASPER system are needed, warranted and must be implemented in all 50 states. Until that happens, prescription drug abuse will continue to ravage our families and our kids.

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Governor Steve Beshear is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott to rethink his plans to cut a prescription drug tracking system.

It’s estimated that many of the prescription pills that are abused in eastern Kentucky come from Florida. In 2009, that state’s legislature approved a system to track prescriptions and reduce the number of so-called pill mills.

As part of his plan to cut spending, Governor Scott has proposed cutting the program. That first prompted a response from Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, who asked his fellow Republican Scott to reconsider, saying that Kentuckians and Floridians alike are dying of prescription drug overdoses.

In a letter released Tuesday, Beshear echoed those sentiments. Kentucky has a prescription tracking system, and Beshear credits it for pushing pill mills out of the commonwealth.

A Greenup County sheriff has also reportedly taken issue with Scott’s plans to cancel the tracking program.

Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky is asking Florida Governor Rick Scott to back off from his plan to repeal a yet-to-be-implemented prescription pill monitoring program.

Scott has asked the Florida legislature to cancel the program before it launches. The program was approved in 2009 and is meant to crack down on so-called pill mills that supply drug dealers and addicts with prescriptions.

Both Rogers and Scott are Republicans, and Rogers says residents of his district and of Florida are dying from overdosing on drugs that originate from pill mills.

Scott’s request to kill the program is part of his plan to cut money from the Florida state budget, but the prescription tracking system would not be funded by the state. A spokesperson for Scott says the program also raises privacy concerns.

(Some information provided by the Associated Press)

Democratic consultant Paul Begala has penned an op-ed for The Daily Beast arguing that the small government rhetoric of Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Representative Hal Rogers is hypocritical, given Kentucky’s dependence on federal money.

Take Kentucky, please. Kentucky has given us Makers Mark bourbon, Churchill Downs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky has also given us Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. While Rogers was once dubbed the “Prince of Pork” and McConnell has hauled so much pork he’s at risk for trichinosis, they are now converts to Sen. Paul’s anti-government gospel.  McConnell says President Obama’s new budget is “unserious” and “irresponsible” because it merely cuts projected deficits by $1.1 trillion.  “The people who voted for a new direction in November have a five-word response,” McConnell said, “We don’t have the money.”

Fair enough.  So here’s my two-word response: Defund Kentucky. Cut it off the federal dole. Kentucky is a welfare state to begin with. The conservative Tax Foundation says the Bluegrass State received $1.51 back from Washington for every dollar it paid in federal taxes in 2005 (the most recent data I could find on the Tax Foundation’s website.)  We need to listen to the people of Kentucky. They don’t want any more federal spending in their state—and they certainly must be appalled by the notion that they’re a bunch of welfare queens, living off the taxes paid by blue states like California(which only gets 81 cents back on the dollar), Connecticut (69 cents), Illinois (75 cents) and New York (79 cents).

The issue was briefly raised during Paul’s race for the U.S. Senate. In recent years, we’ve seen many rural writers and advocates take increasingly bold stands against federal program cuts. From Post Office closures to poorly-expanded internet access, rural areas often see the effects of altered spending first. Of course, Louisville benefits from federal spending as well. Many previously-proud earmark earners say now is the time to end the process and close the deficit. Others, however, argue that in times of recession, a balanced budget should not be a high priority. When asked about the cuts in various federal budget proposals in the House, Third District Congressman John Yarmuth told WFPL:

“A lot of us, for whom some of these cuts the Republicans have proposed and even cuts like the ones the Obama administration has proposed would be much more acceptable if we didn’t have 10% unemployment and so many people suffering.”

What are your thoughts on how to square rural difficulties with small-government politics?

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