Senate Notes: Chamber passes bills aimed at ignoring new federal gun rules and changing elections

02/25/2013 06:51 PM

A bill that would allow Kentucky to disregard new federal gun laws passed the Senate on Monday.

Senate Bill 129, sponsored by Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, passed easily by a vote of 34-3. Carpenter described his legislation as a preemptive strike against legislation Congress is debate about guns. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is taking up a bill that would ban the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons.

“This lean and concise bill simply protects this well defined right. If the administration tries to undermine the constitution in any way, our citizens will be protected,” Carpenter said. The measure includes an emergency clause that allows it to to take effect immediately after becoming law.

The three “no” votes were cast by Democratic Sens. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, Gerald Neal, D-Louisville and Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville on the grounds that the bill is unconstitutional.

“My solution for this body is: Don’t pass a law that we know is unconstitutional. We could pass a resolution which adequately expresses the interest of this body to tell the Federal Government to please do not take these rights away from us,” McGarvey said.

Chamber approves bill to move statewide constitutional officer elections

The upper chamber on Monday also voted 25 to 12 — mostly down party lines — to approve Senate Bill 55 that would change the constitution to move the election for the seven statewide officers to even years. It would take effect in 2016 allowing the current crop of constitutional office holders whose jobs are supposed to be on the ballot in 2015 to remain through 2016.

The bill’s sponsor, Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, estimates that moving to even numbered years would save Kentucky $1.4 million and the counties $12.6 million in 2015.

The constitutional officers include governor, lieutenant governor, auditor of public accounts, attorney general, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner and state treasurer.

The constitutional amendment, which requires approval of three-fifths of each chamber and the ratification of voters, now moves to the House. But House Democratic Speaker Greg Stumbo told reporters Friday he doesn’t see a need for the change.


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