FRANKFORT, Ky. — Opening day of the General Assembly is like the first day of school –filled with optimism and everyone is dressed nice, looking to make new impressions. It didn't take long for one side to scuff the other's new sneakers and remind us that sooner or later someone was going to order up a meeting at the bike rack after the bell rings.
"…That 2021 is the year of ‘we,’ not the year of ‘not us’ and ‘them’ but ‘we,’” said Rep. Pamela Stevenson, (D) KY House Dist. 43.
The new 43rd district state representative wasn't alone with an upbeat attitude on opening day.
But even as families watched from the balconies and elbow bumps played out in the House and Senate, reminders of pandemic issues and new super-sized supermajorities were clear.
Five House Bills and five Senate Bills are already moving. They include efforts set firm rules for businesses complaining that the governor's pandemic restrictions were confusing, allow for end of life visits in now sealed up long term care facilities and abortions bills. House Bill two has already passed a committee.
That means the abortion bill and nine others could be headed to Governor Andy Beshear's desk by Saturday night, but expect a fight, verbal jabs and vetoes.
"…And in those top priority bills we heard the partisan power grabs and political hot button issues, but what I found missing, I didn't hear anything about raising the wage of Kentucky workers. I didn't hear anything about making sure every Kentuckian, especially in a pandemic, has access to quality and affordable healthcare,” said Sen. Morgan McGarvey, (D) KY Senate Minority Leader.
Republicans countered that this is not a power grab, saying they're exerting the will of the people—voters who gave their party nearly a clean sweep.
Getting these bills clear means they can focus on the budget.
The governor will announce his recommendations Wednesday night.
"I just look forward to seeing what he has to propose. We will certainly consider that. By some of the things that I’m hearing, I believe that perhaps he is dealing with a different set of realities than we are, quite frankly,” said Rep. David Osborne, (R) KY House Speaker. “But I look forward to seeing his proposal. We will absolutely give it every bit of consideration.”
Leadership has yet to make a set schedule but suggest they could schedule a Saturday work day to complete the bills.
You can expect it's likely the governor will veto some on the menu, but with supermajorities, Republicans clearly can override them.