During the 2013 General Assembly session, lawmakers were supposed to see many bills which addressed prominent issues in the minds of Kentuckians — such as what to do about the multibillion dollar pension shortfall, the legalization of casinos, and a way to start solving the Medicaid fiasco the state has been dealing with since 2011 — and they did see these bills. However, none of these have seen any kind of final action, and in some cases no action at all.
Some things the legislators of Kentucky have passed are commendable, like raising the dropout age from 16 to 18 in the state, and making the “pill mill bill” easier for doctors and patients to abide by.
Other bills do not seem to be so worthy of praise at a time when the state faces such economic issues. A religious affirmation bill was also passed, but not yet signed by the governor, for all those who have yet to discover their First Amendment rights, and a resolution to honor the Ohio County High School boys’ basketball team for their 3rd Region Championship was recently passed in the Senate.
When sessions in which 107 of 673 bills or resolutions that were filed are passed, too many of which are made to honor state basketball champs and community service participants or grant protection for already protected rights, it would seem to be a good indication the House and Senate need to get their priorities in order.
The state’s senators and representatives needed to take the time they had put aside to pat high schoolers on the back and use it to get over themselves and pass some much needed legislation instead of just fighting or finding a useless soapbox issue to stand on in preparation for election season.
This issue of a divided and therefore useless legislature is obviously not a new issue, and is one that has been harped on time and time again, and with good reason. But it is one thing to not be able to pass bills simply because of disagreement, it is quite another to not have the time because of triviality.
Gov. Beshear has said overall this session has been a success and he is hopeful that other important bills — such as pension reform — can be agreed upon and passed. However, with the way the House and Senate have reacted to these “important” bills so far this session, it is doubtful anything will be agreed upon except how early the legislators should be able to go home on March 26.