Senate Republicans look to finally be able to pass legislation which was stymied by House Democrats in past years

12/01/2016 10:32 AM

COVINGTON – As Senate Republicans meet at their annual retreat in Paducah, one reality is that for the first time in 95 years, legislation which is passed out of their chamber in 2017 has a better chance than ever to pass both chambers, and be signed into law.

Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, senses a lot of optimism among his colleagues who are looking forward to the 2017 session with more enthusiasm than ever.

“A lot of the priority items that we’ve looked to in the past that were kind of wishful thinking, but that we really supported, now have an opportunity to actually get through.”

For the past two years, Schroder has sponsored legislation that would exempt public school and university construction from Kentucky’s prevailing wage law.

The legislation died in House committees both years, but with the Republicans now controlling the House as well as the Governor’s Office, it would appear the legislation has a better chance than ever to make it through the General Assembly.

“That’s certainly something that I’ll talk to leadership about, but I hope to carry that again as well as through the House,” Schroder said. “If you talk to about any superintendent across Kentucky, I’ve yet to hear from any superintendents that are against it. It will save the schools a tremendous amount of money.”

Schroder says other legislation which might be considered is right-to-work, as well as a number of other pieces of legislation which didn’t make it through the legislature in previous years.

“Joe Bowen had a pension transparency bill that I think was a great bill,” Schroder said. “It actually survived getting through a House committee but it was unfortunately never brought to the floor. Sen. John Schickel has worked on a judicial redistricting bill for the last few sessions. I think that will certainly be an issue that we would look at.”

With the GOP holding control of all three chambers in state government, Schroder knows that it’s time for Republicans to make positive change or they’ll have to answer to the voters.

“I think the voters will hold the Republican Party accountable as they should,” he said. “When things didn’t get passed in the past sessions, we looked at the House Democrats really holding things up and not even calling for a vote, but now, things have changed.”

Schroder acknowledged the potential for a special session in 2017 to address tax reform does exist.

Gov. Matt Bevin had indicated that tax reform would take place in 2017, but probably not during the regular session.


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