- Special Sections
- Public Notices
After observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, the General Assembly went back to work.
Jan. 21 was a significant day as Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, the highest ranking female legislator, became the first woman legislator to preside over the joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly when Governor Beshear presented his proposed budget.
During the address, Governor Beshear presented a multi-faceted budget proposal of $20.3 billion dollars for the next two fiscal years. The plan calls for five percent cuts to most state agencies, proposes a gas tax increase, and borrows $1.9 billion in new debt. Of course, we all know it is easy to propose grand initiatives in broad strokes. However, the reality is that the economy is stagnant, and we will have to make tough choices and operate within our means.
Despite the hazardous weather and somewhat dangerous road conditions, the Senate plowed ahead, passing bills brought to the floor this week. Among the bills passed was Senate Bill 27, a measure that moves all elections of constitutional officers to even-numbered years. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Chris McDaniel, saves local and state governments money by combining elections, and will help engage more citizens in choosing constitutional officers with higher voter turnout. These funds can be put to better use for education, public safety and infrastructure projects.
Another cost saving measure, Senate Bill 4, was successfully passed this week as well. This legislation provides a onetime election for members to base their pensions on their legislative work only, rather than on a high salaried position such as a judgeship or executive appointment that they may pursue in their final years of service.
Senate Bill 3, a measure that requires a face-to-face consultation with a physician or designee prior to an abortion procedure, also passed. Making sure patients receive valuable information regarding medical procedures ensures they understand any health risks, and allows them an audience for questions and answers. SB 3 is sponsored by Sen. Sara Beth Gregory.
To leave a message for me or any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. I also invited you to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every message that comes to my desk.
Citizens are always welcome to watch our committee meetings and floor proceedings. If you can’t make the trip to Frankfort, you can access live and archived legislative activity streaming online at www.ket.org.
(Senator Thayer represents the 17th Senate District, which includes southern Kenton County, as well as all of Grant and Scott counties. He is senate majority floor leader, as well as a member of the agriculture committee, the committee on committees, the legislative research commission, the licensing, occupations and administrative regulations committee, the rules committee and the state and local government committee.)