House Adjourns Just After Special Session Gets Underway

House lawmakers adjourned without taking any action during a special legislative session called by Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Fletcher, a first-term Republican, had included potentially volatile issues on the agenda, including a measure that could prohibit public universities from providing health insurance benefits to domestic partners.

But House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, urged House
lawmakers to adjourn without taking any action.

Richards questioned the need for the session, saying the costs outweighed the benefits and that any legislation could wait until the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

After heated debate, the House adjourned just over an hour after the session was called to order.

House lawmakers agreed to forfeit their salaries and expenses for the special session.

Richards said it could have taken up to eight weeks to get through Fletcher's 67 item agenda, costing taxpayers some $2.5 million had lawmakers not adjourned.

"To lend any further credibility to this charade would set a dangerous precedent which I am sure we would all live to regret," he said.

Richards also asked House lawmakers to forfeit any salaries or expenses for Thursday's session.

Fletcher said he called lawmakers to the Capitol primarily to pass a package of incentives for companies looking to build high-tech fuel plants in Kentucky. So far, Peabody Energy Corp. Is the only company to have publicly expressed an interest.

Fletcher signed an executive order on Monday calling lawmakers back to Frankfort at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday.

Fletcher has called the General Assembly into special session twice previously since he took office - once in October 2004 to improve health insurance benefits for teachers and state employees and again in June 2006 to provide tax relief for small businesses.

Steve Beshear, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is among those questioning Fletcher's motives for calling the session. Beshear said paying the salaries and expenses for lawmakers could potentially cost millions of dollars, depending on how long the session lasts.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by fred Location: lexington on Jul 7, 2007 at 02:13 PM
    way to go, Ernie Felcher!
  • by Liz Location: Lexington on Jul 7, 2007 at 08:56 AM
    I am a democrat, but they won't get my vote after seeing Gov. Fletcher on TV a few minutes ago. I think he is sincerely concerned about more jobs for Ky., and what is best for the state. The special session is no ploy, there is work to be done. Thanks for letting me let off steam!!
  • by Ed Location: Frankfort on Jul 6, 2007 at 04:02 PM
    Looks like the Republicans again want to play games. This immoral unethical Gov needs to be sent home, and soon he will!
  • by Tina Location: Owingsville on Jul 6, 2007 at 09:02 AM
    Wow! I'm really shocked to see that no one is noticing that Fletcher said he called this session for the purpose of passing incentive packages for companies to locate here for fuel/energy sources but turned around and made a different agenda. Am I the only one that can see this was a re-election ploy by Fletcher? I fail to see how people can uphold someone this sneaky. I have always heard to be a true leader you must "Lead by example". So far the example that has been set before us and the General Assembly has been conniving and deceitful- no wonder they don't want to listen to him- he has not gained their respect as a leader. If Kentuckians re-elect Fletcher then I will have to agree with the rest of the country when they say that we are ignorant and uneducated backwood rednecks!
  • by Crystal Location: Corbin on Jul 6, 2007 at 07:14 AM
    I agree with the majority of you that this is just absurd! Even if they were not for any of the things that Gov Fletcher proposed, they should have followed protocol and listened and debated their reasons why not. The incentive for the energy bill was, to me, the worst part of their denial of an actual special session. I am not for Gov. Fletcher, I am democrat but I think this is a total lack of respect for the system and this is so transparently a political move. Sad . .. .
  • by Ken Location: Richmond on Jul 6, 2007 at 05:10 AM
    If your boss or my boss called us into work for something they felt was important and once we got there, we decided it wasn't that important to us so we left. What do you think our bosses' reaction would be and would we still have a job? HECK NO! While I can applaud Jodie Richards on one hand for saying this session was not needed and they shouldn't waste the $60K per day it would cost the taxpayers; I have to wonder if his actions teeter on insubordination? I know lawmakers cannot be fired by the Governor since they are elected officials, but if the boss says we need to get together for something he feels is important, who are they to say no? That is the problem with elected officials; they answer to NOBODY, not even those who elected them. Nobody is right in this case; the Governor wants to get things accomplished NOW to make him look better for re-election and the lawmakers DEFY his authority as Governor. Once again, why is the American public at their wit's end with politicians????
  • by O'Brene Richardson Location: Irvine on Jul 6, 2007 at 04:18 AM
    Our State Motto is "United we stand, Divided we fall." I have never seen such division, back biting and refusal to work together. For the House to vote to not even stay and consider what the Governor has proposed is an outrage to me. We need to clean house in Frankfort and sent some new people there who will work together in a spirit of "Hey, let us work together for the common good of the people of Kentucky. Let us be willing to consider new ideas, debate them and share in a spirit of service." Wouldn't it be great to hear lawmakers sharing ideas and discussing how to make things better for our people than all of this fussing, bickering, and arguing?
  • by Greg Location: Clay City on Jul 5, 2007 at 05:24 PM
    Looks like the Liberals and Democrats are getting nervous.They don't want the public to see where they stand on the domestic benefits.What cowards they are to not represent the majority of Ky.
  • by Del Location: Versailles on Jul 5, 2007 at 04:43 PM
    kudos to the house speaker...this action taken by fletcher is beyond dirty politcs..what wouldn't he say of do to get re-elected..
  • by Diane L. Williams Location: Mt. Sterling on Jul 5, 2007 at 04:02 PM
    It is laughable to see these politicians huff and puff about a special session "costing the taxpayers." The real issue is about trying to force taxpayers to fund domestic partner benefits through the university system. The forces that want our state to legitimize this behavior are responsible for this special session. They are covertly trying to undermine our majority voted DOMA (defense of marriage amendment) When they can't get their way with a fair and legal vote they either use the courts or the schools to promoter their agenda. So the next time you try to make the governor the bad guy maybe you should look in the mirror.
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