WAVE 3 Editorial -- March 28, 2013: Legislative Session Review
By Ken Selvaggi WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky's legislature addressed several key issues this
session with the exception of redistricting and real tax reform.
But by doing a bunch of work at the 11th hour, the
legislators left open the possibility of not being able to override a veto by
the Governor of any of the flurry of bills they passed, and drew criticism from
fellow members for voting on bills they hadn't fully read or digested.
The biggest pieces of legislation involved the billions in
unfunded liabilities for the Kentucky Retirement Systems - the pension program
of state and local workers. The legislation begins the process of converting
from a tradition pension to a hybrid program for new hires, and changing tax
laws to generate more revenues for the program.
But it did not mandate the legislature to fully fund the pension program
in future years, a potential big omission.
The legislators wisely moved to set up a hemp production
program. But it is dependent on the
federal government taking it off the controlled substances banned list.
Lawmakers overrode the governor's veto of the bill that
prohibits government from enforcing laws that infringe on a person's religious
beliefs without a compelling government interest. Lawyers should benefit from that one as it
will no doubt lead to litigation.
Legislators made it easier for overseas voters to get
ballots and vote, but could have made it easier still if they permitted voting
by email. And they will let us purchase alcohol now while the polls are open on
election day, and continue to smoke in more places than some states permit.
Perhaps the most notable part of the session was the lack of
acrimony. It was a welcome change.
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