Senator Joe Bowens Weekly Letter
Despite our best efforts, the General Assembly finds itself called back to Frankfort by the Governor for an Extraordinary Session over the lack of funding for the road plan. It is an extremely unfortunate – and unnecessary — turn of events. Following the process outlined in KRS 48.300 and consulting with the Governor’s Transportation Secretary, the House and Senate developed the road plan and its companion funding bill. Both chambers passed the road plan in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner. On the last day of the regular session, the Governor himself called the road plan “acceptable” and with no objections raised, both the House and the Senate patiently waited that day for him to sign it.
The Senate had the road plan budget ready but it would have been irresponsible, in my view, to blindly turn over the funding without knowing how he would spend the money. To be clear, if the General Assembly were to pass the funding bill for the road plan and the Governor vetoes the road plan, then he would have $4 billion to do with as he wishes. It would be entirely up to him whether or not to fund the worthy projects in our area and other legislative districts. Our road money could potentially be gone and some other districts increased.
The Governor has yet to tell the General Assembly what he plans to do with the road plan. We still haven’t heard if he has any objections. What we do know is that late on the evening of the last day, the Governor’s Staff offered to trade the road plan for his high school drop-out bill. I feel this type of horse-trading in government is what people despise the most. I’m not willing to trade for road and bridge projects that are rightfully ours.
As of the writing of this column, we are still waiting on the Governor. If he accepts the road plan, the operating budget is ready to go. If he vetoes the bill, the General Assembly can then take five days to pass a new bill. The choice (and the responsibility) is the Governor’s.
As always, please feel free to call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 if you would like to comment on the Special Session or visit us at www.lrc.ky.gov to learn more about the work we have done so far.