by Ean Hill
From November 18th-20th, members of the BHS Student-Y participated in the Kentucky Youth Assembly. The Kentucky Youth Assembly, or KYA, is a mock state government. The assembly focuses mainly on the legislative branch of government with three special programs in media, lobbying and bureaucracy, and the judicial system. This year, Bardstown had its first ever presiding officers at the Conference: Senior Ean Hill and Sophomore Amy Roblero! Presiding officers are students elected to run the programs for a year; additionally they attend all other Kentucky YMCA conferences and work on issue briefs for their communities. Ean and Amy were on a team of eleven students and Kentucky YMCA staff that oversaw the 500-kid conference. Ean Hill served as the Secretary of the Executive Cabinet, presiding over the Cabinet and Lobbyist special program. Amy Roblero served as the Lieutenant Governor, overseeing all the Freshman and Sophomore members of the Assembly!
In the Cabinet and Lobbyists program, Ean ran a group consisting of lobbyists, cabinet secretaries, and his position as the executive. The special program is made to demonstrate the power and influence of lobbyist groups in both Frankfort and Washington. Students had the opportunity to explore this system of bureaucracy firsthand. Lobbyists would argue for or against legislation and talk to the undersecretaries. The best lobbyists got to speak with Ean who chose only two students to send to speak to the governor of the assembly. In Ean’s words, “I was extremely grateful for the opportunity. It was exciting working with kids from across the commonwealth in a mock forum of government. It was an excellent and meaningful leadership opportunity that has been really special to me over this past year, it’s had a tangible impact on my life”.
For two days, students debated bills in chambers and ranked them in committees. As this happened, judicial proceedings happened in the Supreme Court Program, the Media team interviewed candidates and cabinet members, and the lobbyists met with members of the cabinet. On the final day, vetoed bills were announced then debated in a full chamber. Most notably, Governor Andy Beshear made a surprise appearance to receive the Kentucky Colonel Award. The award is granted by the conference’s governor.
In addition to Ean and Amy, Senior Eli Hill served as a supporting officer at the conference, an appointed role. Eli took the role of Chief of Staff to the Governor. Seniors Olivia Walton and Kate Clark were bill authors at the conference, creating legislation that was debated and voted over. Although originally vetoed, Olivia and Kate’s Commonwealth Bill #1 was overridden on its veto and passed into ‘law’. CW #1 was a motion to change the State drink from milk to Bourbon; something that legitimate Governor Andy Beshear didn’t even know!