Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Constitutional Amendment - Senate Bill 161

This bill was sent to the Senate State & Local Government Committee yesterday:

Senate Bill 161: AN ACT proposing an amendment to Sections 36 and 42 of the Constitution of Kentucky relating to legislative sessions. Propose an amendment to Sections 36 and 42 of the Kentucky Constitution to repeal annual sessions; provide ballot language for submission to voters.

This is without a doubt the dumbest idea ever conceived! We already have a “part-time” legislature!

One major obstacle now is that Kentucky’s lawmakers are not in session long enough to accomplish anything. They currently meet for 60 days on even numbered years, and 30 days on odd numbered years. This of course doesn’t include holidays, Sunday, etc. Basically, our legislature is only in session for several months!

I wonder how many decades it would take Kentucky to have a statewide law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment if the General Assembly only meets every two (2) years? Who wants to wait 2 years before a new law is passed, changed, etc.? You must also remember that Kentucky’s legislature cannot call itself into special session….. only the Governor can.

Let's hope Senate Bill 161 dies quickly.

In California, their lawmakers meet year around (much like the federal model, Congress)…. so do lawmakers in California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

- Full-Time: California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

- Middle: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

- Less than Part-Time: Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this. I think it would be best if they had a meeting at the beginning of the year, and then again near the end of the year or the middle.

Sarah G said...

As I have said elsewhere, fewer meetings of the legislature would lead to fewer anti-gay and anti-church/state separation bills. I have yet to see much proof that meeting annually has produced budgets more quickly (if at all) or solutions to Kentucky's real problems of poverty, poor health care, and funding for education.

Instead, the gay community has to spend twice the amount of time and money fighting odious bills. Women's groups have to fight twice the number of bills that restrict reproductive freedom, and the state loses twice as much money fighting the ACLU over the Ten Commandments.

As long as legislators can use bills as a form of campaign ad for themselves, this will continue. Changing the filing dates for candidacy until after the session ends might help, or shifting session and primary dates around until the primary precedes the election might help. Assembling in odd years, which are not election years 50% of the time, still strikes me as the best solution.

Sarah G said...

Sorry, I meant so that the primary preceded the session.

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