FRANKFORT— Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester (left), confers with Senate Democratic Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, prior to the start of the day's legislative session in the Kentucky Senate.
In just over four months lawmakers will be back in Frankfort for a full 60 day session. This winter, legislators must approve a new two year budget. While the state finished last year with a budget surplus, Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Bob Leeper doesn’t anticipate any big increase in state revenue. So, Leeper says building a budget will remain difficult.
“There’s so many factors that are affecting us, what’s happening in the eastern Kentucky coal fields, loss of jobs there, loss of income for people to go out and buy goods. There’s any number of issues going on worldwide, nationwide that we can’t control,” said Leeper.
House Budget Committee Chair Rick Rand sounds a similar tone. He said the growth predicted by state experts is not as “robust” as they had hoped.
The Republican Kentucky Senate has completed its shake-up, after announcing new committee chairs today. Among the appointees, the caucus named Senator-elect Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville, chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator-elect Stan Humphries, of Cadiz, chair of the Capital Planning Advisory Board.
Independent state Senator Bob Leeper of Paducah says he knew his failed bid for the senate presidency was a long shot, but he wanted to give senate members a choice. He says his lack of party affiliation likely factored into his failed nomination.
Senate Republican leaders meet next week to caucus on Kentucky's next Senate president. The Courier-Journal reports the GOP meet Tuesday to vote on who they support in the role: Republican Sen. Robert Stivers, who has served as floor leader for the past four years, or Independent Sen. Bob Leeper, who has served as Senate budget committee chairman.
Kentucky's lone Independent state senator says his record as budget chairman is the reason he should be the next state Senate president.
Originally a Democrat, Leeper made the switch to the GOP in 2000, before becoming an Independent later that decade. He may be the one state senator who can say he has literally worked with each side of the aisle in Frankfort.
Now, he's hoping to convince Senate Republicans to make him the next president of the chamber, because he has been a loyal GOP caucus member and budget chairman.
Kentucky Senate Republicans have appointed President Pro Temp Katie Stine as the new legislative co-chair for their chamber as David Williams prepares to depart as Senate president. Williams will resign Friday to take a circuit court judgeship, which leads to a vacancy in the Legislative Research Commission. No decision was made on a permanent leader for state Senate.
Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers is getting plenty of vocal support to succeed David Williams as Senate president. This comes days after Williams said he was resigning to take a circuit judge position.
Kentucky Senate President David Williams is one step closer to leaving the state legislature. Williams is one of three people nominated by a judicial commission to fill the 40th Circuit opening. Angela Capps and Stephen Hurt are the other two people nominated.
A spokesman for Kentucky Senate President David Williams says Williams would consider a judicial appointment if Governor Steve Beshear offered the position. Williams and Beshear are bitter rivals. And rumors have been swirling in Frankfort that Beshear is planning to offer Williams an open circuit court seat in his southern Kentucky district. Williams is a trial lawyer by trade. And earlier this week, Kentucky Public Radio reported that Senate Republicans have already picked a successor should Williams leave.