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Shorter session could save $400,000

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By Bryan Marshall

Could the 30-day 2011 General Assembly session be shortened by six days?

That is the idea recently brought up by Senate Republicans after Gov. Steve Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth address.

The legislative session began Jan. 4 and recessed Jan. 7 before starting again Feb. 1 through March 22.

By eliminating six days of legislative pay, the state would save almost $400,000.  
However, local legislators, Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge, and Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, disagree about cutting the session short.

“We discussed it at the Senate Republican Caucus and it enjoys unanimous support in our caucus,” Thayer said. “Senate President David Williams has made the proposal to House Speaker Greg Stumbo. I would favor it. I think we can finish up our work in time and show solidarity with state employees, businesses and citizens across the state that we’re taking a pay cut. We’re willing to do more and take less for it. I think it’s an appropriate step to take in our current economic environment.”

Adams said the proposal may be a case of “political posturing.”

“The session is so short anyways that it’s very difficult to get a bill through both houses in the time we have,” he said. “If you cut six days off, it’s going to be virtually impossible to get a bill passed.”

Still, Adams said the shortened session may become a reality.

“I personally think that, if we’re going to do the people’s work, we need to do it in the alloted time,” he said.