Ky. Youth Activists Uncover Longstanding Discriminatory Policy In Frankfort

Jan 31, 2014

It took a group of Kentucky student activists to unearth a discriminatory policy that’s been practiced in Frankfort for more than a decade.

KY Student Environmental Coalition strategic planning summit in 2013

When a group of young people began calling their representatives in Frankfort this week to show their support for the Clean Energy Opportunities Act, a number of them began hitting an unexpected roadblock.

"I started to get reports from some of our students, mainly our high school students, saying that they were being turned away from the Legislative Research Commission's call center because they weren't 18," says Tyler Offerman with the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.

That set off some alarm bells, so he contacted Roy Collins, Assistant Director for Human Resources at the LRC, and was eventually told that no such rule existed. Worse still, the informal policy had been in place for 15 years.

"To be told that our government was telling people that they weren't allowed to participate in our representative democracy because they weren't 18... that's just really upsetting to me," he says.

While action is being taken to end the practice, Offerman admits the episode has left him uneasy about lawmakers’ commitment to hearing from all of their constituents. He says next week, members of his group plan to show up at the Capitol to lobby their representatives in person.