Ballot measure would give lawmakers more days to meet

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Legislative, Session, House of Representatives, Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky voters could decide whether to give lawmakers the option to extend the number of days they meet under a proposal that won Senate approval Monday.

The proposed constitutional amendment cleared the Senate on a 31-4 vote and now returns to the House, which will consider changes to the bill. The proposed ballot measure would go before the state’s electorate in 2022 if it clears the Republican-dominated legislature.

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The proposal seeks to amend Kentucky’s constitution to give lawmakers the option to be in session up to 12 extra days each year, in addition to their regular sessions — which last for 60 days in even-numbered years and 30 days in odd-numbered years.

Lawmakers could reconvene for the additional days through a joint proclamation from the House speaker and Senate president.

Now, once lawmakers end their regular session, they can’t reconvene until the next year unless called into special session by the governor.

Republican lawmakers found themselves on the sidelines for most of 2020 as Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear issued orders responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal would not change a governor’s ability to call special sessions.

Republican Sen. David Givens said the measure would give the legislature a chance “to become a more co-equal branch of government.”

Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey said the legislature needs “to evolve and change to meet the needs of a modern world,” but he called for broader discussions on how to accomplish that.

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The legislation is House Bill 4.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.