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Ky. Lawmakers Banking On Last Minute Deals As Deadline Approaches

LRC Public Information

It’s crunch time in Frankfort as lawmakers prepare for the final scheduled work of the 2015 legislative session. Monday, neither chamber acted on major legislation, choosing instead to send high profile bills on the gas tax, teacher pension fixes, and heroin back to conference committee.

On the latter issue, House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. John Tilley sounded undaunted. 

"We're as close as we've been in some time. We met late Friday night, identified a framework. We're a paragraph or two, still stuck on the penalty phase somewhat. Good Samaritan, needle exchange programs are still on the table," the Hopkinsville Democrat told WUKY.

But it's not hard to notice a change in tone as the session wanes, with party leaders paring down expectations. As for what shape the final bill could take, Sen. President Robert Stivers says, if all else fails, lawmakers could eliminate those controversial provisions altogether.

"If we can't get some type of consensus on those, there is a substantial portion of the issue we do have consensus on. And I believe it would behoove the legislature to go ahead and make a conference committee, or do an amendment to a bill, to get those portions codified," he explained.

Proposals for shoring up the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System remain far apart – with House leaders pressing for a bond issue of at least $1.5 billion while Senate negotiators want to form a task force to study further options.

Asked Monday where talks stand on freezing the state’s shrinking gas tax, Stivers declined to give details, indicating the language was still being reviewed.


With the clock winding down and the General Assembly’s top legislative goals as yet unrealized, chatter surfaced Monday about adding more days to the short off-year session. Asked whether lawmakers might need the extra hours, House Speaker Greg Stumbo responded, "I hope we don't have to," adding that the answer would be up to his colleagues in the Senate. 

Down the hall, Senate President Robert Stivers offered a more concrete reply.

"I don' think there's a necessity of going beyond Tuesday. There can be resolution or not, it's pretty simple," he said.

Each additional day would cost taxpayers about $65,000.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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