Immigration and voter ID bills will top the GOP-led Kentucky Senate's non-budget agenda in the 2020 General Assembly. The measures were given top billing in the chamber as lawmakers met for the first time in the new year.
Day one of the 60-day budget session was mostly ceremonial, but Senate lawmakers did unveil a handful of top bills considered priorities. They include a measure outlawing "sanctuary cities," which limit their coordination with federal immigration officials.
Senate President Robert Stivers says the move is necessary to stem efforts to smuggle drugs into the state and "secondly, limited resources, where individuals are coming into the state, using our education systems and healthcare systems without any contribution to those systems."
Republicans are also eying new voter ID requirements. The initiative received pushback from the Senate's top Democrat, Morgan McGarvey, who said current voting laws already do the job.
"I don't see why that's a priority in 2020," the majority floor leader told reporters. "We shuld have as many people legally voting as possible. Our laws allow for that right now. This law is to prohibit people from voting."
Even with those political battles looming, the Louisville Democrat said the most important document this session remains the two-year, $23 billion spending plan.
The 2020 session runs through mid-April.