Lawmakers join blame game during start of special session

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - More than $60,000 a day: that's what Kentucky's special legislative session is costing taxpayers. And there's still no real timeline for getting the transportation budget passed, along with a bill to curb prescription drug abuse.

On Monday, the first day of the special session, lawmakers joined the blame game, backing either Gov. Steve Beshear or his former political rival, Senate President David Williams.

The House seemingly refiled the two bills, and when the Senate convened at 4:00 Monday afternoon, lawmakers spent their first 90 minutes trying to explain themselves.

"I have the sense that the general populous does not understand, as many of us do not, why we're back here," said Republican Senator David Givens of Greensburg of the special session.

The cost of $60,000+ per day equals the average starting salary of two teachers in Kentucky. That's the amount we're losing every day the special session continues.

"It's a shame," said Sen. Kathy Stein, a Lexington Democrat. "We have cost the citizens of our Commonwealth not only tax dollars, but their ability to trust what we do."

On Friday, Gov. Beshear told WAVE 3 News, it was Senate President David Williams' fault. "Once again, Sen. Williams stepped up and put his desire for road projects ahead of the wishes of the people," Beshear said.

The governor said he called the special session because the Senate adjourned without passing the prescription drug abuse legislation and a transportation budget which funds the bridges project among many other big projects.

Williams said the budget approval wasn't happening until the governor signed the road plan bill into law.

Beshear claimed Williams feared a veto of road projects in his senate district.

A resolution didn't seem any closer when the session began Monday. "I understand he's planning a big rally on Thursday to try and get the budget passed," Williams told reporters of Beshear. "I would suggest his time could be better used explaining to us what's wrong with the road plan."

Williams said last Thursday the governor indicated the plan was acceptable. Williams asked, "Why doesn't he sign it and move on?"

Senate Democrats defended the governor, saying he has a constitutional right and responsibility to get ten days to look at the road bill before signing it.

Sen. Walter Blevins Junior, a Democrat from West Liberty, told his colleagues, "The governor had no choice other than to be handcuffed into signing a bill that he had not had an opportunity to study. His staff had not had an opportunity to study it and its over four billion dollars."

Lawmakers on both sides urged their colleagues to move forward and get to work for the people of Kentucky.

The House is expected to approve both measures on Wednesday.

Williams said Senate Republicans will take up the so-called pill mill bill right away.

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