WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Lawmakers prepare for start of legislative session

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP, WKYT) - It's back to work for Kentucky lawmakers. The first part of the 2013 work session started Tuesday afternoon, with lawmakers voting on their leaders the top item on this week's agenda.

Tuesday is the first day of the 30 day session and few surprises are expected. Greg Stumbo is expected to maintain his role as House Speaker and Robert Stivers officially voted in as Senate President. Lawmakers are expected to consider tax reforms and to search for ways to shore up the financially troubled pension system for government retirees.

The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at noon EST.

Leadership positions will be voted on and filled but lawmakers won't actually consider bills until they reconvene early next month. Among the issues being considered then will be pension reform, more scrutiny for taxing districts, such as library boards, tax reform, and possibly casino gambling. Money will once again be tight, so lawmakers will have difficulty finding the money to implement proposals. Laws have been pre-filed to abolish the death penalty, one that deals with the legalization of industrial hemp. Bills are expected in the wake of the mass shooting at the school in Newtown Connecticut.

A task force appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear has recommended a series of changes to the state tax code that could generate more than $600 million in additional revenue. And a separate legislative task force has recommended pumping more money into the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability.

Beshear has said he's not sure lawmakers can resolve those issues in the 30 days allotted for the session. If not, he has said he may call a special session later. Beshear will also outline his priorities for the legislature when he gives his state of the Commonwealth address next month.

After Friday, Lawmakers will reconvene February 5th. They are supposed to be done with their work on March 26th.


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