Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Our Present Legislature, Past And Future

I’ve covered legislatures in 5 states, and I am appalled at the recent actions of our Kentucky General Assembly ---not that other states haven’t been up to those same shenanigans, or even that past Kentucky legislatures haven’t done the same, but there is still no justification for their actions.
To take major pieces of legislation; the budget and the pension overhaul, kept them secret, fail to hold public hearings on the final versions, keep lawmakers of BOTH parties in the dark til the last minute, failing to give time to read the bills---and break its own rules during the process—that simply is much too much.       
The GOP camapigned on “transparency," a word I dislike but it means to bring  things out in the open so all citizens can understand what’s going on, and make their views known to their representatives in Frankfort –that pledge is now in shambles, and I hope voters will remember that come May and November.
But I also must point out that the Democrats have acted this way in the past, too; though perhaps not quite as much or on as serious as these matters. The Dems also ran roughshod over opponents in committee, cut time on the floor for amendments and debate, etc.  Republicans promised not to behave this way if they got into office, and we now see how little that pledge meant. (I wish I were confident that should the Dems take over either house they would behave differently, but I doubt it. Too much past history to the contrary.) 
As to the future, were I a betting man, I would wager that the courts will ultimately strike down the pension plan. Mainly because the GOP-controlled chambers violated their own rules by not providing an acturarial report, which the law requires. To me, that makes the actions indefensible and worthy of being tossed out. Similar rules MAY apply to the budget, but the courts have been more lenient on things like this in the past.
Should the pension plan be tossed out, stand by for a special session, UNnecessary & expensive.
Should the governor veto either one, in whole or by line item veto we may be in a new world of hurt.
I am happy the legislature restored many of the governor’s cuts, but why did they not understand the importance of the University Press of Kentucky? (operated by UK on behalf of many of our state colleges and universities.)  Without it, who will publish important research on our issues or our past history and culture?
What a lovely mess. 
I'm just sayin'...

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