What to Watch Wednesday: Senate map, budget reaction and the horse industry

01/18/2012 06:23 AM

The Kentucky Senate’s state government committee is expected to unveil its map for redrawing the lines of the 38 districts.

Keep an eye on whether the Senate Republican majority creates districts that might be favorable for some House Republicans who were drawn into districts with other incumbents.

The House map that chamber passed last week drew eight House Republicans into districts with other incumbents, including three in the same 17th House District. One of those three was Republican Rep. Jim DeCesare of Rockfield, who was a strong supporter of Republican Senate President David Williams during last year’s governor’s race. Warren County, though, already has a Republican senator and has the perfect amount of constituents for its own Senate district. So, for instance, will the new Senate map perhaps split Warren County?

Something else to watch for is what the map does to the 15 Senate Democrats. As in: which ones find themselves in the same district with one of their colleagues the way the minority House Republicans did.

Senate State Government Committee Chairman Damon Thayer declined to comment on Tuesday about any details of the map. The committee meets at noon.

Let the budget editing begin

Now that Gov. Steve Beshear has unveiled his $19.2 billion state budget for the next two years, lawmakers can officially begin the task of deconstructing it.

With 8.4 percent cuts to some agencies and no cuts to other programs, many legislators will find a lot to dislike and some to like about the proposal.

The House gets the next crack at editing the budget plan. And hints about what they might edit or revamp usually surface within a couple days of the unveiling of the governor’s budget proposal.

Does the horse industry go all in?

The first legislative action Wednesday is a House agriculture committee meeting at 8:30 a.m. dedicated entirely to the state of Kentucky’s thoroughbred industry. That includes one lawmaker, horse owner and state Representative David Osbourne of Prospect.

With the governor making his latest public pitch for allowing expanded gambling in Kentucky, the horse industry has a natural follow-up opportunity to make its case for why gambling revenue could help it compete with other states.

In the past, how the tracks and horse industry got a piece of the gambling revenue pie has been a key sticking point in the debate over casino gambling. Look for that to be a major subplot this spring as well.

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