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Proposed Amendment Allows Kentucky Legislature To Call Itself Into Session

LRC Public Information

The Kentucky General Assembly is bound by the state Constitution when it comes to how many days they meet each year and when sessions must adjourn. Bills gaining traction this year would change that.

As written, state law requires that the legislature meet for 60 days in even-numbered years and 30 during odd-numbered years, and must wrap up by hard deadlines. Under the proposed amendment, the General Assembly could alter those dates by a three-fifths vote. It would also permit the Senate President and Speaker of the House to call the legislature back into session for up to 12 additional days.

Speaker David Osborne noted, even if the changes pass the General Assembly, it may be a tough sell for some voters.

"It's not going to be an easy piece to pass once it gets to the ballot," the Republican told colleagues. "I think that generally people think that they need less government, but I do think that generally people believe that their government needs to work better and more efficiently, and I think that that's what this does."

Bills that normally die at the end of sessions could stay alive into the year under companion legislation. Lawmakers have also included language that cuts their own pay, stripping out paychcecks they currently receive on days they are awaiting vetoes by the governor.

They're ideas that could win bipartisan support, though Democratic leader Morgan McGarvey is among those who worry about the direction it may take the body as a whole.

"I am worried that this pushes us more towards a full-time legislature," the senator said. "Even if we're not here that number of days, the calendar will hang over people's heads that we can come into session at different times."

The legislation now heads to the full Senate.

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.