Kentucky’s legislature is unique in many ways.
Our state holds one of the shortest legislative sessions in the country – in odd-numbered years, our legislators are in session for 30 days. In even-numbered years such as this, legislators are in session for 60 days. Gov. Matt Bevin only has about three weeks once the session begins to present his budget to the legislature, something that is a monumental task for any newly seated governor.
On Tuesday, our General Assembly convenes in Frankfort. Returning legislators and new legislators will be in our state’s capital taking the oath of office, getting appointed to their committees, participating in their caucuses and trying to get the people’s business of the state completed over the next three months.
It will be a tall order, as there are many issues facing the state that must be dealt with.
Regardless of political party, at the end of the day we are all Kentuckians. No matter whether our legislators are Republicans or Democrats, they should come together where possible and do their best to do the people’s work during this session.
Too often, the citizens of this state have witnessed partisan bickering and political games between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate. In the past, as a result of these partisan games, taxpayers have had to foot the bill for a special session at a cost of $160,000 per day to do what should have been done during the regular session.
We hope that isn’t the case this year.
We would be naive to believe that both sides of the aisle will agree on certain pieces of legislation that have been filed or will totally agree with Bevin’s budget proposal. That’s simply politics, but we hope there will be civil discourse among our legislators in debating the issues before them during this session.
That is why we urge House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, to lead in encouraging their respective chambers to get to serious work early during this session.
We would also urge lawmakers to move forward in the period before Bevin’s budget release and start debating and voting on legislation that isn’t revenue related. Legislators can hold hearings, debate and possibly vote on a statewide smoking ban proposal and on other pieces of legislation in coming weeks.
In this session and every other, time is of the essence, so we urge lawmakers to take advantage of their limited time in Frankfort to come together for the common good of Kentuckians and begin debating, voting and passing sound legislation in the days and weeks ahead.
Daily News, Bowling Green