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Friday, April 13, 2012

Steve Beshear's Call For Kentucky's "Annual Special" Session Reveals STRONG Animosity Towards David Williams. I Suspect The Feeling Is Mutual!

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then read this: Beshear orders lawmakers back to Frankfort at noon Monday
By Beth Musgrave and Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear has ordered the Kentucky General Assembly to convene an extraordinary session at noon Monday to consider a transportation budget and a bill aimed at battling prescription drug abuse.

Beshear's call for a special legislative session came about 12 hours after lawmakers ended their regular 60-day session Thursday night without approving the Transportation Cabinet's operating budget.

In his call, Beshear blasted Senate President David Williams for blocking approval of the bills on Thursday.

Beshear said Williams refused to allow a vote on the "bipartisan" bills, "once again allowing his rank partisanship to block the path of a measure so vital to the health and well being of Kentucky's citizens, its economy and its future."

Earlier Friday, Beshear said Williams' greed for more road projects will cost taxpayers more than $60,000 a day for a special legislative session.

Beshear, speaking at a press conference at the Capitol on Friday morning, said Williams did not pass the Transportation Cabinet's operating budget late Thursday — the final day of the regular 60-day session — because he did not want Beshear to line-item veto road projects in his Senate district.

The House and Senate passed the two-year road plan late Thursday, but Williams demanded that Beshear sign the two-year road plan into law before the Senate passed the transportation budget, which would have ensured Beshear could not veto any road projects.

"It's called personal greed," Beshear said. "When Senator Williams received the road plan, it already had $266 million for his district. Over $130 million of which was to be funded in the near-term. But that wasn't good enough for Senator Williams. He made some last-minute, fine-print changes that moved another $155 million of those projects in his district ahead of those of other communities around this state. He wants to guarantee that his projects would be finished first at the expense of others."

"He was worried that I would veto those changes," Beshear said. " In other words, he was worried about himself, not this state."

Beshear also added House Bill 4, a measure that was designed to crack down on misuse of prescription drugs, to the call for the special legislative session.

The state's abuse of prescription drugs is an epidemic, he said. Recent studies show that one in three adults in Kentucky know someone with a prescription drug problem. Three Kentuckians die each day from a drug overdose, Beshear said.

HB 4 would give law enforcement more tools to crack down on rogue doctors who over-prescribe pain medications and limit the ownership of pain clinics to physicians.

"Senator Williams willfully ignored the visible misery of our communities and allowed this essential bill to die," Beshear said. "Why? Because of his road projects."

Beshear said he could not say if he would line-item veto the additional projects in Williams' senate district, which includes Clinton, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties.

However, Williams has an advantage in his dispute with Beshear. House Bill 267, the two-year road plan, was delivered to the governor late Thursday. He has 10 days to veto the bill. The Senate could adjourn on Monday and wait for the 10-day veto period to expire. Or it could stay in special session until April 24, when Beshear's veto period is up, and then pass the Transportation Cabinet budget if he does not veto any projects in the road plan.

Only the governor can call a special session and set the agenda. But he does not control when the legislature leaves. It takes a minimum of five days for the legislature to pass a bill.

Beshear warned Friday that voters would not be happy if they have to pick up the tab to fuel Williams' ego or to protect Senate road projects.

"If they stay here longer than the minimum amount of days just in order to put money in their pockets or to play political games, the people of this state this fall, when these elections roll around, I think will let them know just how they feel about that," Beshear said.

Williams was not immediately available for comment Friday morning.

Late Friday night, Williams blamed Beshear for the special session. Williams said Beshear knew that the Senate wanted him to sign the road plan before they passed the Transportation Cabinet's operating budget.

Beshear said he would not add any additional measures to the special legislative session, including House Bill 260, which would tap coal severance money to establish a scholarship for kids in coal-producing counties to attend college. Beshear said that he did not want to make the special legislative session longer by adding additional bills.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/04/13/2149334/beshear-plans-to-call-a-special.html#storylink=cpy

Editor's note: Bills that died

These high-profile proposals did not pass the 2012 General Assembly, which ended Thursday:

■ Cooper's Law: House Bill 160 would have nullified deed restrictions on small outdoor structures deemed medically necessary for children 12 and younger. The bill was named after a Lexington boy whose parents were at odds with the Andover Forest Home Owners Association. Cooper Veloudis uses an outdoor playhouse as part of his treatment for cerebral palsey, his parents said. The association said the play house violated deed restrictions for all homes in the neighborhood. The bill passed a House committee but was never called for a vote on the House floor.

■ Human trafficking: House Bill 350 would have given law enforcement more training and more tools to crack down on human trafficking. It passed the full House and a Senate committee but was never called for a vote on the Senate floor.

■ Child abuse: House Bill 200 would have created an independent panel of experts to review deaths caused by child abuse and an ombudsmen's office to investigate complaints about child protection. The bill passed the House but died in the Senate.

■ Juvenile courts: House Bill 239 would have created a pilot project to open some of the state's juvenile courts, which are currently closed to the public. The bill passed the House but never received a hearing in the Senate.

■ Scholarships: House Bill 260 would have used coal severance tax money to fund college scholarships for kids from coal-producing counties. It passed the House and appeared to be cleared for passage in the Senate, but the Senate never took up the measure late Thursday.

■ Abortion: An assortment of abortion-related bills that would have put more restrictions on abortions in Kentucky were approved by the Senate but later defeated in a House committee.

■ Dropout age: Senate Bill 109 was intended to raise the high school dropout age in Kentucky from 16 to 18. Both chambers approved different versions of the bill, but the Senate never reconsidered the bill after it was amended by the House. The original bill would have allowed districts that had alternative programs to raise the dropout age. The House version of the bill would have made the higher dropout age mandatory statewide after 40 percent of school districts raised their dropout age.

■ Welfare drug testing: House Bill 26 would have required random drug testing of people who receive welfare and other public benefits. It received a hearing in a House committee but no vote.

Editor's note: Read the call for "special" session.

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