What to look for in Kentucky's 2016 legislative session

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The 60-day General Assembly session begins Tuesday and already there's more than 300 pre-filed pieces of legislation, but most lawmakers will tell you that just one bill matters, and that's the budget.

"More than $20 billion that will be laid out in the spending plan that the Governor will present in his speech," said WKYT Political Editor Bill Bryant of Gov. Bevin's first budget address which will come several weeks into the session.

Bryant also expects lawmakers to have their hands full with a plan to help state pensions, and how to deal with Medicaid. The newly elected Republican Governor will likely have his own agenda as well.

"The Governor will make a push for right to work legislation. I think he will make a push for more choices in education," said Bryant.

A wide variety of issues have already been pre-filed. They range from prohibiting powdered alcoholic beverages to a a bill banning police from using drones to gather evidence. There is proposed legislation to require witnesses appearing before a House or Senate committee to take an oath before testifying, and a bill proposing a pilot project to open up juvenile court proceedings to the public.

But Bryant doesn't expect much to happen until after the candidate filing deadline passes in late January.

"Lawmakers want to know who their likely opposition will be. They stall off talking about serious matters until they get beyond that," said Bryant.

It will also be an interesting session with a Republican Governor, a Republican Senate, and Democrats holding a razor thin majority in the House.

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