The waning hours of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly session found senators debating nuclear and coal-based power. The discussion occurred during consideration of a bill to help AK Steel, a manufacturer suffering sizable job loss.
Lawmakers waited until the last few hours of the 2014 General Assembly session before they approved a statewide road plan. House and Senate members agreed to spend more than $3 billion over the next two years for repair and replacement of the state's roads and bridges. The Senate voted 37- 1 for the measure.
FRANKFORT—After a marathon negotiation session this weekend, the Kentucky General Assembly gave speedy passage to a slew of budget bills that gave raises to judicial employees and restored funding for K-12 education while also reducing safety inspections for mines and possibly prohibiting the commonwealth from funding local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo praised the Senate for its willingness to compromise with his chamber, and called the process — including the 14-hour closed-door session of budget talks this weekend — “democracy in its purest form.”
“You saw people of different convictions, different ways to view things," Stumbo said. "It was democracy in its purest form. But it worked. And that’s what made, to me, all these years here worth spending.”
Provisions to block state money from being used on Kentucky's implementation of the Affordable Care Act will remain in the budget agreement reached over the weekend by state lawmakers. Sparring between House Democrats and Senate Republicans over the ACA dominated negotiations.
The ACA covers the costs of implementation through 2017, after which the tab will be split with the state.
Now, Senate President Robert Stivers says lawmakers will send the governor a budget that blocks general funds from going toward the state's health insurance exchange, Kynect, and the expansion of Medicaid. Stivers acknowledges that much of the heated debate over the ACA was "political theater."