COLUMN: Redistricting, budget fill session conversations

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By Paul Hornback | State Senator

It is our constitutional duty every 10 years to realign our voting districts according to population after each census. This act fulfills the requirement of one man, one vote. In this, the third week of session, that is exactly what the Senate and House did with House Bill 1.
According to tradition, the Senate draws its lines while the House of Representatives decides on theirs. My district changed with the additions of a portion of Boone and Jefferson Counties, and all of Carroll, Gallatin and Henry counties. I will continue to represent Shelby and Spencer counties.
(The final congressional district lines are still being discussed between the chambers.)
Last Tuesday, the governor gave the budget address outlining his priorities for Kentucky’s budget. As I have been warning, we have close to a billion dollar shortfall; $742 million, to be exact, over the biennium. I was glad to see that the governor took a more realistic approach to the budget this time and didn’t use phantom gambling proceeds to fund programs.
He also proposed cutting certain agencies by 8.4 percent. However, the governor then proposed about $800 million of additional spending. He is funding new programs and initiatives while applying severe cuts to other parts of government. This does not make sense to many of us in the Senate.
The House of Representatives has assigned the budget proposal to its budget subcommittees. When they have finished putting their mark on the document and the House passes the bill, the Senate will then have our turn at reviewing and revising the proposal. I will keep you updated on that process.
We are in a 60-day legislative session so there is still plenty of time to let me know what topics interest you. The heavy workload of social workers and how to curb meth abuse were just two of the topics that committees focused on this week. These and other discussions and debates will continue in the weeks ahead.
I can be reached through the Legislative Research Commission’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. You can also check the committee schedule and learn more about what the committees are doing at www.lrc.ky.gov.