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At the first quarterly meeting of the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, which was sponsored by Washington County’s Kentucky Farm Bureau, State Representative Kim King and State Senator Tom Buford shared some of the bills and issues that are currently facing Kentucky’s General Assembly.
King started off the evening by discussing and taking questions about a few of the bills that she has been the primary sponsor for.
The first bill that she discussed was House Bill 42. Co-sponsored by District 26 representative Tim Moore, the bill looks to have all fiscal measures voted on by the House members to become roll-call votes.
This means that all votes would appear on “the big board” in the House, which is a system that allows everyone to see who voted for what.
However, not every choice that representatives vote on is recorded in this manner.
King hopes that instilling this measure will allow “the folks at home” to see who voted on which side of every fiscal matter (live and archived sessions are available for streaming at lrc.ky.gov).
This allows for complete transparency, according to King.
“Right now, I could vote yes on something, come down here, meet you all and say, ‘Well, I didn’t vote for that,’” King said, “and you would have no way of verifying if that’s true. I just think that’s inexcusable.”
The next talking point for King was House Bill 45.
This King-sponsored bill, which was pre-filed on Nov. 6, proposes to amend Section 42 of the Constitution of Kentucky.
This would “prohibit members of the General Assembly from receiving legislative pay for a special session that has been called by the Governor because the General Assembly adjourned without passing a state budget.”
Or, as King states, “basically, we didn’t do our job nine to five, so we charged you guys $63,000 a day to come back and do it in overtime.”
She believes there is “no excuse” for this action and declared that there has been a special-called session in each of her three years serving in the House.
But King acknowledged that this bill is “a long shot” to be passed, as it is still stuck in the Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs committee.
“It’s not going anywhere,” King said. “Expand on why that is happening in your mind, but it’s not going to go anywhere.”
Sen. Tom Buford also spoke on what the state senate is currently working on in Frankfort.
He first noted that the senate doesn’t hear as many bills as the House because they are a smaller group and serve every four years, which means that many of the opinions don’t change “as often” as they would in the House.
One of the main issues currently facing the senate, though, is minimum wage.
With minimum wage currently at $7.25, there’s action to possibly increase that figure to $10.10, increasing by intervals of $0.95 over a three-year period.
In 2007, though, a law was passed that, when the federal government moved to minimum wage to an increase, the state of Kentucky will also increase their minimum wage.
But Buford feels that, if Kentucky were to increase the wage before the federal government does, “we would be at somewhat of a disadvantage to some other states.”
“We have to be very cautious about how we move,” Buford said. “But if the entire nation moves at one time, then that would be more appropriate and be more fair to the retailers and those doing business.”
Another hot topic in the senate is the debate on casinos in Kentucky.
The senate voted not to move the bill first, but according to Buford, if the house can move it, the senate will then begin to reconsider its merits.
“Most legislators would rather not vote on the morality of gambling, I don’t think,” Buford said.
Toward the end of the event, King expressed hopes of the two coming back to Washington County to do a similar talk with the community once regular session ends.
The Kentucky Constitution mandates that a regular session be completed no later than April 15 in an even-numbered year.
For more updates on the House, check out the “Opinion” section of like Rep. Kim King on Facebook or follow @KimberlyKingGOP on Twitter.
To contact King, call 859-734-2173 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Buford, call 502-564-8100 or e-mail him at email@example.com.