(The Center Square) – After a brisk first week of action last week, Kentucky lawmakers returned to Frankfort Monday to work on a one-year budget.
The General Assembly is expected to meet through Wednesday of this week to pass a framework for a spending plan, with conference committee members then meeting over the next six weeks to finalize details and approve a formal plan once the legislature returns in March.
Kentucky’s odd-year sessions are limited to 30 days. Typically, lawmakers spend a couple of days in a January organizational session before recessing until March when the legislative work then takes place.
This year, though, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and a 2020 election shift that gave Republicans super majorities in both chambers, lawmakers have spent the first days of the session to pass several bills that would put checks on emergency orders issued by Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat.
Through Saturday, the legislature has passed six bills that have made it through both chambers. Five of those have been delivered to Beshear.
Democrats in the legislature and others who oppose the Republicans’ efforts claim the GOP is trying to railroad legislation that will interfere with the state’s ability to manage the COVID emergency and push forward other objectives, such as additional controls on abortion.
When one opponent tried to bring up objections State Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, made on Twitter to the federal COVID relief package passed last month, he said the two issues were not alike.
“These bills were not long, have been worked on for many months, and each of them addressed one topic, which is why we passed numerous bills,” he said. “I understand that you’re against them. But this is very, very different . . . and everyone voting on them knows what is in them.”
On Saturday as lawmakers went through the first set of bills, armed protestors stood outside the state Capitol building. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group held a moment of silence for Ashli Babbitt, who died in the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as she allegedly tried to enter through a window.
One of the demonstrators was photographed carrying the same style of zip ties another Washington demonstrator had on him. It’s been suggested that the use of those ties, which law enforcement agencies also use as handcuffs, was a signal that some of the Washington rioters planned to take hostages last week.
Beshear in a statement noted the individual carrying the ties and criticized the event held just days after the violent Washington attack.
“We will not be intimidated. We will not be bullied. America is counting on the real patriots. Those who condemn hate and terror when they see it,” he said.
The governor will likely veto all the first wave of bills that hit his desk, but Republicans have stated they will be able to override those since they have more than enough votes to do so.
Disclaimer: This content is distributed by The Center Square