Beshear vetoes no-pay provision for lawmakers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed a
provision of a Medicaid budget bill on Friday that would have
barred lawmakers from being paid during a legislative recess.
Lawmakers had been caught in limbo Friday with the House
adjourned and the Senate in recess, an unusual circumstance that
requires the state to continue paying the salaries of all 138
members of the General Assembly even though they're not at the
Capitol.
Legislative Research Commission Director Bobby Sherman had
ordered a hold on payments of any further salaries and expenses
associated with the special legislative session, pending Beshear's
decision on vetoing the no-pay proposal.
The peculiar circumstance of some lawmakers being adjourned
while others are in recess coupled with the no-pay provision had
complicated the legislative pay issue, leading to Sherman's
decision.
"I don't want to cause an administrative nightmare of issuing
money then having to retrieve money potentially," Sherman said.
"And I don't want to unintentionally adversely affect tax
implications for these members because of some confused
distribution of checks that were inappropriate."
It was unclear Friday evening whether Sherman would reverse his
decision now that Beshear has issued the line-item veto.
Lawmakers had been meeting in special legislative session since
March 14 at a cost of about $64,000 a day. Beshear called them back
to Frankfort just days after they adjourned the regular session,
which ended in discord and without an agreement on how to fill a
budget gap in the Medicaid program that provides care for more than
800,000 elderly, poor and disabled Kentuckians.
After passing a Medicaid budget fix late Thursday night, House
lawmakers adjourned until January, when they're scheduled to return
for the 2012 session. Meanwhile, the Senate recessed until April 6
when it would return to Frankfort to consider overriding vetoes, an
apparently futile move because the House would have to agree to
overrides.
Stumbo said House lawmakers don't want to be paid for any
additional days, which is why they opted to adjourn already.
Williams said early Friday that language in the Medicaid budget
bill would have halted any additional pay during the legislative
recess.
Beshear said Williams could ensure that lawmakers receive no
additional pay in the legislative session simply by adjourning,
rather than remaining in recess.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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