Legislative Update: Senate panel passes bills to abolish Ky. treasurer and allow subpoena power to urban county govs.

01/22/2014 01:07 PM

VOTE UPDATED: Two pieces of legislation which have passed Senate committee in past sessions again proceeded Wednesday to the full Senate.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, took up the mantle of trying to abolish the position of state treasurer. McDaniel said the bill would save taxpayers an initial $1.3 million and an additional $750,000 once employees of the office were located elsewhere in state government.

Senate Bill 58 which would take the form of a constitutional amendment passed the committee 11-0. Initially, though, Sen. R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, voted no. He said the issue of abolishing the treasurer’s office does warrant discussion. But he said the current state treasurer, Todd Hollenbach, should have been there for the discussion. Palmer later changed his vote, as did Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, who initially passed.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters last week that the treasurer’s office is “pretty antiquated.” And he said the bill could stand a chance in the House.

As a constitutional amendment, the measure must get support from three-fifths of each chamber of the legislature. Then it must be ratified by voters in the November election. If the constitutional change is accepted, the Finance and Administration Cabinet would take over most of the duties of the treasurer after Hollenbach’s term expires.

The bill was proposed by Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, in previous sessions and he called on lawmakers to look into other areas where he says there is duplication of government, including the Department of Agriculture and Governor’s Office of Ag Policy, as well as the Education Cabinet and the Department of Education.

Also clearing the committee was Senate Bill 53 — which grant subpoena power to Lexington Urban Government and Louisville Metro Government.

The legislation, which is offered by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, would allow the Louisville Metro Government Ethics Commission to subpoena witnesses in investigations.

The bill cleared the Senate State and Local Government Committee with unanimous approval and makes its way before the entire Senate for debate.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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