FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — will it be bi-partisan cooperation or gridlock in Frankfort as the 2020 legislative session begins?
The republican-controlled House and Senate gaveled-in at 12 p.m Tuesday for the 60-day session which, based in pre-filed bills, could cover a lot of ground and a lot of controversial issues.
And at the center of it all – how to pay for it.
This is the fourth consecutive session with republicans holding the majority of seats in the House and Senate, but what’s new this year is a democratic governor.
“You’re gonna see us focus on an initiative that will be pro jobs, pro worker and pro family,” says Republican House Speaker David Osborne.
When we sat down with Governor Andy Beshear last month he was optimistic working with a republican-controlled legislature could be done, that it wasn’t an automatic recipe for gridlock.
This will be put to the test when he proposes his budget later this month which will include his campaign promise of a $2,000 raise for teachers, which would cost an estimated $84-million a year.
Beshear also wants to legalize casinos to bring in more money.
Senate President Robert Stivers says don’t bet on that happening in that chamber and House Speaker David Osborne says it’s a long shot in the house, but says legalizing sports betting may have a chance.
“Obviously the priority of the session is the budget,” says Osborne.
Ah yes, how to pay for everything from pensions to medicaid to the governor’s campaign promises – all with a projected deficit of more than a billion dollars.
“We continue to be a state with many needs and limited resources,” says Osborne.
Though the house didn’t prioritize a top bill, the senate did. SB1 would not allow illegal immigrants to enroll in state colleges and universities.
“There’s individuals coming in to our country using our resources, our educational systems and our healthcare systems that are not contributing in any way,” says Senate President Stivers.
This session, lawmakers are expected to debate reforming the criminal justice system, which is bursting at the seams from the opioid epidemic and legalizing medical marijuana, among others.
Obviously a lot to be discussed and considered with hundreds of bills already on the table. We will work hard on bringing you the latest.