- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By DAVID FLOYD, State Representative
The 2012 session began Jan. 3. Your General Assembly convenes on the “first Tuesday after the first Monday” in January. In even years, we meet for no more than 60 legislative days. That doesn’t include weekends or holidays, and when you add in the “veto period” it means we won’t finish up until the middle of April.
This will be our toughest budget session in decades. Why? We’ve run out of stimulus money. (“Stimulus money” is your tax dollars coming from another source – the federal government.) Over the past two years, Kentucky’s serious budget gaps, especially in Medicaid spending, have been filled by a one-time stimulus bill passed in 2009 by the U.S. Congress.
While Kentucky has reduced our budget over the last four years (because of declining revenue), the cuts would have been much steeper without an infusion of federal cash. That cash has been exhausted, and now is the time for our budget to be more, well, truthful. As a result, not many groups will like this new budget. I’ll write about that process in a future column.
There are several ways to keep track of things during this session. The best way to get a message to me is our toll-free number, 800-372-7181. For the hearing impaired, there’s a TTY line for messages at 800-896-0305. You can learn of the schedule for committee meetings by calling 800-633-9650.
Committees typically meet Tuesday through Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m. You don’t need a special pass to observe a committee meeting, and visitors are welcome. You can also visit the House or Senate in session. The first couple of weeks are slow on the floor since we don’t have any bills to consider until the committees pass them. But after that you’ll see some debate on bills and amendments.
You can keep track of a bill by calling the toll-free Bill Status Line, 877-840-2835. But if you have Internet access try the website www.lrc.ky.gov. There you will find every bill that has been presented, and check on its status. You can email me from there, too.
Here is this year’s schedule of Saturday Coffees. We start at 10 a.m. and continue for an hour or so. At these coffees, I bring information on bills that have been filed, but we can talk about anything you’d like. These are great meetings, my chance for one-on-one with you. I’ve always encouraged you to call me at home or in Frankfort and I’m sincere about that. These Saturday gatherings might be even better. The coffee is free, and I hope to see you there. And remember, the best part of my job is hearing from you.
Jan. 14 – Fairfield, Joy’s Grocery
Jan. 21 – Boston, Boston Food Market
Jan. 28 – Samuels, Rooster Run General Store
Feb. 11 – New Haven, Short Line Diner
Feb. 18 – Culvertown, Culver’s Country Kwik Mart
Feb. 25 – Bardstown, Down Home BBQ
March 10 – High Grove Grocery
March 17 – New Hope Food Mart
March 24 – Botland, 150 Quick Stop
March 31 – Mt. Washington (TBD)