Still many questions over what will pass as 2010 Legislative Session winds down

It appears the legislative session will adjourn before the Governor's 10 veto days before a budget will pass.

The sticking point with the budget is a plan by the House to borrow about a billion dollars to fund construction projects.

“Everyone agrees our budget would have created 25,000 jobs,” said Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

“We just believe that you cannot allow this state to continue in a death spiral of debt,” countered Senate President David Williams.

The $17 billion budget won’t raise taxes, nor will it lead to any pay raises for state workers or teachers. The House wants to cut K-12 instructional days but the Senate favors a slight reduction in classroom funding.

“The only difference in our (Senate) budget and their (House) budget is they’re not paying teachers for two days, not having instruction for two days…so they didn’t give them the money either,” said Sen. Williams, R-Burkesville.

With no agreement in conference committee between both parties, it seems likely the budget bill will have to wait until after the 10 veto days. If lawmakers approve the budget when they come back in mid April….they would not be able to override any gubernatorial line item vetoes.

“Well it’s an unfortunate result of our actions. And we’ll have to bear responsibility for those actions,” said Rep. Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

Legislation that seemed destined for passage was Amanda’s Bill, named after murder victim Amanda Ross, for domestic violence victim protections. But no compromise could be found...at least not by late Thursday afternoon.

“The budget negotiations affected Amanda’s Bill outcome. It’s what really happened. But that’s O.K. I have a long memory,” said Stumbo.

“That’s an unmitigated lie. He (Stumbo) knows that’s not the truth,” said Williams.

Williams blames the bill breakdown on last minute changes added by House.

Amanda’s Bill was passed unanimously by both House and Senate chambers, although the Senate changed the bill, which resulted in the conference committee, then the apparent impasse.


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