Friday, March 30, 2007

Legislature: The Final Days

State prepares for possibility of runoff election

The state Board of Elections has taken action in hopes of helping Kentucky's military service people and overseas citizens vote in case of a primary runoff election in this year's race for governor. The runoff would occur if no gubernatorial candidate in one of the May 22 primary elections receives at least 40 percent of the vote. The runoff would be 35 days after the primary.

A runoff election which should have never been challenged. A runoff election I advocated. Victory is mine. Victory is mine. Great day in the morning people, victory is mine.

Session gets mixed reviews

Coal miners, minimum-wage workers and the Ford Motor Co. met with success in the 2007 legislative session that ended Tuesday night. But university students, women without health insurance and numerous nonprofit agencies were among those who struck out after bills to help their causes failed to pass. "It was a session that substantive things were accomplished, but I still think it was a session that, in my opinion, constitutes a missed opportunity," said Rep. Scott Brinkman, R-Louisville.

We passed corporate welfare, an unemployment initiative, and were virtually stagnate on mine safety. Session, guess my review.

Lawmakers spar on pension plan

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, accused House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, of dodging the issue to smooth his campaign for governor, and Richards responded by essentially calling Williams a liar. The Republican leadership plan to change the retirement system for state and county employees, which passed the Senate on March 6 with the dissent of only two among the Senate's 14 Democrats, would have sold $828 million in bonds to get the current program out of debt, put half the current employee contribution into an employer-matched 401(k), and raise the length of service needed to retire with full benefits from 27 years to 32. The changes would apply to state or county employees hired after July 7, 2007, and would not affect teachers' benefits at all. But it stalled in the House, though Senate leaders called for its consideration up to the General Assembly's last two days in session.

They are debating the pension plan now?

Fletcher uses discretionary funds for design of Horse Park stadium

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said today he is considering using his executive authority to pay for some of the "urgent needs" that legislators declined to fund in the legislative session that ended Tuesday. Fletcher said he believes he has the power to use the state's "rainy day fund" to help several South-Central Kentucky counties with expenses related to ongoing repairs of a leaky Wolf Creek Dam and to pay all the costs of an expected runoff election in the Democratic primary for governor.

Discretionary funds? I would have preferred them elsewhere. With that stated, the legislature was lazy. Governor Fletcher’s decision was correct.

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