Special session ends, transportation bill passes without Williams’ projects

House Speaker Greg Stumbo
House Speaker Greg Stumbo

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – After five days of a special session, the General Assembly passed both bills on the Governor's agenda.  Both chambers agree on House Bill 2, which is the $4.5 billion transportation budget, but disagree on an amendment.  It started a discussion in Senate that dragged on in private and on the floor for hours.

"The running tab for the tax payers of Kentucky is now approaching 2.5 million," said Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, D-Louisville, of years of special sessions.

The Senate was scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. They began about a half an hour later, but after the prayer and pledge, the parties caucused privately for an hour and a half.

"To call any one member of this body greedy is unfair," said Chair of the Budget Committee Sen. Bob Leeper.

Leeper argues it's unfair that Gov. Steve Beshear removed $50 million of projects in Senate President David William's district. Williams ran against Beshear for governor in the fall.

"The constitution doesn't allow him to do that," said Transportation Chair Ernie Harris.

Democrats, however, think the Governor does have the authority and it's not an issue that is germane to the session, therefore, it should be taken up.

"The amendment is in violation of statutory law, period," said Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort.

Still all 37 Senators, who voted on the road plan with that amendment, voted yes.

"The state road plan, which included the funding for the Louisville bridges project and that's obviously a very important piece of legislation," said Shaughnessy.

In the end, however, it was up to the democratically controlled House, which agreed with the outspoken senate democrats and passed the bill without the amendment.

WAVE 3 asked House Speaker Greg Stumbo if it was a shot at Williams.

"We won't do anything that's unconstitutional, regardless of what Sen. Williams wants," said Stumbo.  "For the most part, most of us don't care what Sen. Williams wants."

House Bill 2 goes to the Governor.

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