FRANKFORT – A measure that would let voters decide on proposed changes to the legislative session calendar of the Kentucky General Assembly was approved Wednesday by the Senate.
Senate Bill 195, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would reduce the number of working days during regular legislative sessions. Regular sessions during even-numbered years would be reduced by 25 percent to 45 working days. Final adjournment would be required as it is currently, by April 15. Odd-numbered year regular sessions would be cut from 30 working days to five.
Under the bill, an additional ten legislative days could be used to extend an odd-numbered year regular session, or for a special session called by legislative leaders anytime during the biennium. Currently special sessions can only be called by the governor.
As amended, the proposal would require the Senate President, House Speaker and minority floor leaders in both chambers be involved in determining a legislative call for special session. The Governor could still call special sessions without time limits.
According to Stivers, the measure is an attempt to reflect the original Constitutional intent of a citizen legislature by making legislative offices more accessible to Kentuckians with work, family and other time constraints.
“It truly opens up the system, it saves money and it gives us the ability that we do not lose our (legislative) influence within the process,” he said.
SB 195 was approved 34-3 and now goes to the House of Representatives for further action. If the measure passes there, the question will be posed to voters for ratification in the 2014 general election in November. If ratified, the bill would take effect in January 2015.