UPDATE: House cancels activity for rest of the week with frigid temperatures expected

02/18/2015 11:38 AM

The Kentucky General Assembly will miss a second consecutive day of session due to poor road conditions after another round of snowfall throughout the state Wednesday, and the House has canceled all activity through the rest of the week.

The Legislative Research Commission announced Wednesday that lawmakers are scheduled to return to Frankfort Thursday, which will be day 14 of the 30-day short session, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo said in a separate news release that the House will not meet again until 4 p.m. Monday.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the chamber’s leadership decided to convene Monday after hearing from lawmakers.

“Several members have expressed concern about leaving their families in these conditions, and major highways like I-65 have seen closures because of accidents,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, we think it is more prudent to be safe than sorry.”

Stumbo said he did not expect the shift to alter the legislative calendar.

“We have more than enough time to complete the work before us,” he said in a statement.

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene 2 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday, Senate President Robert Stivers said in a news release.

Even if the Senate convenes and the House does not, a legislative day will be used, giving the lower chamber two fewer days to consider legislation.

“The majority of our caucus members were here on Wednesday prepared to do the people’s work and the rest are on their way,” Stivers, R-Manchester, said in a statement. “We understand the hardships associated with current weather conditions, but there are plenty of businesses staying open throughout the commonwealth and the Senate feels inclined to stay open for business as well.”

But Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones said in a letter to Stivers Wednesday that keeping the Senate open would only create unnecessary risks for senators and LRC staffers driving to Frankfort with slick roads and subzero temperatures expected.

Jones, D-Pikeville, called Stivers’ decision to convene Thursday “irresponsible” and “shortsighted,” particularly since the House has already canceled its business this week.

“Any snow that has melted will refreeze and become black ice,” Jones wrote in his letter. “There is also more snow predicted in the forecast for this evening. I had hoped that Republicans and Democrats could put political differences aside and put the members and staff first.

“The arbitrary decision to meet under these extreme conditions, and put the lives of our members and the lives of Legislative Research Commission staff or any of their families at risk where legitimate alternatives exist, is ill advised.”

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