Top lawmakers not on list of those refunding state

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The state's top two legislative leaders
aren't among a growing list of lawmakers who have reimbursed the
treasury pay they received for a two-week period earlier this year
when the House and Senate were in limbo.
Senate President David Williams and House Speaker Greg Stumbo
have taken other routes to deal with the pay issue, which explains
why they aren't among some 23 lawmakers who have refunded the state
more than $61,000.
The state Constitution required all 138 lawmakers to be issued
checks, even though an odd twist left the legislature idle for
about two weeks in March with the House adjourned and the Senate in
recess. The total bill for the period was estimated at more than
$600,000.
The disputed pay became a heated issue in the final days of a
special legislative session that had been called by Gov. Steve
Beshear to balance the state's Medicaid budget.
Senate lawmakers who have sent refunds to the treasury include
Jack Westwood, Bob Leeper, Joe Bowen, Ernie Harris, Jimmy Higdon,
Paul Hornback, Tom Jensen, Vernie McGaha, John Schickel, Brandon
Smith, Denise Harper Angel, Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Ken
Winters, Jerry Rhodes, Dennis Parrett, R.J. Palmer II, Perry Clark
and Dorsey Ridley. House lawmakers include Jim Wayne, Brent Yonts
and Jeff Greer.
Williams spokeswoman Lourdes Baez-Schrader said the Senate
president has opted to forgo pay during the legislative interim
until the state is fully reimbursed for the disputed wages paid to
him between March 25 and April 6.
Stumbo, in a joint statement with House Majority Floor Leader
Rocky Adkins, said they and many other House lawmakers have given
their wages to charities, a move that provides them a tax write-off
and does nothing to help improve state government financial woes.
Some also have followed Williams' lead and have asked not to be
paid for days worked during the legislative interim period to make
up for the wages doled out for the legislative limbo.
"We're proud of the way our colleagues are stepping up to
return the money, putting a positive end to a negative situation,"
the statement said.
Stumbo donated his pay to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of
Commerce to help purchase books, lab equipment and other supplies
for schools in the state's mountain region.
Several lawmakers, Stumbo said, also have donated pay to the
family of state Rep. Dewayne Bunch, a legislator who was critically
injured earlier this year while trying to break up a fight at the
Whitley County school where he worked as a teacher.

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


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