Stivers' constitutional amendment to shorten legislative sessions passes full Senate; Path forward in House still unsteady

03/19/2014 06:13 PM

While the Senate overwhelmingly endorsed Senate President Robert Stivers’ plan to shorten legislative sessions by a 34-3 vote Wednesday, it faces much more resistance in the lower chamber.

Stivers pitched Senate Bill 195 as a return to the Kentucky constitution and “citizen legislators.”

The legislation would limit odd-numbered sessions to a maximum of 15 working days, down from 30, and allow for 10 floating days. In long budget sessions the calendar would call for 45 days in even numbered years — down from 60 — with ten floating days.

The idea for allowing a floating schedule was attributed to Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Democrats offered what Stivers deemed to be two “friendly amendments” to the legislation that would clarify language so that any legislative days as part of a special session called by the governor wouldn’t count toward the “floating” 10 days.

Democrats voting against the bill were Sens. Walter Blevins of Morehead, Perry Clark of Louisville and Robin Webb of Grayson.

While Stumbo told reporters in the House he agreed with the concept of shorter weeks, he’s he said he doesn’t want to lop off the number of work days from a session.

“It’s becoming increasingly more and more complicated…there are more and more issues that the General Assembly deals with so probably needs a little bit of time to be vetted,” he said.

Members of the House are also worried about the likelihood of getting a budget in this session Stumbo said, which he seemed to indicate could delay movement on Stivers’ legislation.

Stivers told Pure Politics’ Ryan Alessi earlier Wednesday that he expected opposition in the House because he said House Democrats are concerned about losing pay if the number of work days are cut.

As a constitutional amendment, three-fifths of the House chamber would have to support the bill for the legislation to move on and then voters would have a chance to ratify the legislation in November.


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