WAVE 3 Editorial -- March 28, 2013: Legislative Session Review - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

WAVE 3 Editorial -- March 28, 2013: Legislative Session Review

Posted: Updated:

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.

Copyright 2013 WAVE News.  All rights reserved.