On first day, big issues arise for 2019 KY legislators

Ambitious agenda planned for 2019 Kentucky General Assembly

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky’s 2019 legislative session got underway Tuesday, marking a third attempt by GOP lawmakers to pass pension reform.

But one of the first acts of the House was to establish a committee that could lead to a newly-elected Democrat losing his seat.

Rep. Jim Glenn (D-District 13) won his seat by one vote.
Rep. Jim Glenn (D-District 13) won his seat by one vote. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

There were cheers and chants in the Capitol supporting newly-elected Rep. Jim Glenn (D-District 13), who won his Owensboro seat by just one vote.

After a legal challenge, the GOP-dominated house formed a committee to decide if there should be a recount.

When asked if he believed the same would be happening if he were a Republican, Glenn said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. It is what it is.”

Other potential partisan fights in the 2019 session include new restrictions on abortion and funding for charter schools.

Republicans, still angry over the state supreme court ruling that sent pension reform back to the drawing board, may target the courts as well.

“Essentially you’ve got circuit judges in Franklin County who become sort of super circuit judges,” Majority Floor Leader Sen. Damon Thayer (R-District 17) said. “And I think we’re going to look at court jurisdiction as a major topic that (Senate) President Stivers is going to work on this session.”

After a failed special session in December, GOP legislators are also focused on producing a pension reform bill that will survive a legal challenge.

“Pension reform is going to continue to be the most important issue that we face,” Thayer said. “It affects all 4.3 million Kentuckians and we’re going to be going back through the process to figure out what we need to do and what we can get the votes to pass.”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R) greeted Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) warmly on the first day of the session.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R) greeted Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) warmly on the first day of the session. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Democrats expect to see some across-the-aisle cooperation on issues, including funding for school safety.

“We need to talk about sports gaming which has bipartisan support, we need to talk about medical marijuana which has bipartisan support,” Minority Floor Leader Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-District 19) said.

Both sides agree it is an ambitious agenda for a 30 day session.

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