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State House Democrats Unveil Agenda

Bud Kraft, LRC Public Information

Less than 24 hours after Kentucky voters maintained the 54-46 Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives, the chamber’s leaders announced their agenda for the 2015 legislative session. 

“We want to thank the voters for their support and for giving us the opportunity to move ahead with those ideas that are important to them and that help all Kentucky families succeed,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.  “Our Democratic caucus has made an effort in recent years to distance itself from the policies and gridlock we have seen coming from Washington, and the voters rallied behind that.”

House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark said that helping Kentucky’s working families, “guides all that we do.  That’s why we don’t pursue those policies that seek to divide us.  Instead we have worked tirelessly to provide the legislative tools needed to create and sustain good-paying jobs in our existing and developing industries.”

Speaker Stumbo said other agenda items would include boosting the state’s minimum wage, which has not been raised in more than five years, and ensuring gender equity in the workforce.

House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson noted the House, “has made economic development a central role in our vision for Kentucky.  That includes investments in workforce training; the local-option sales tax initiative, which would let local communities have a choice in determining their future by funding major projects themselves; and public-private partnerships, which will bring businesses and government closer together to accomplish a public goal.”

House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly said the House would also continue to work on social issues that have a major impact on Kentuckians.  That includes “finding a comprehensive solution to the heroin epidemic and making sure we tackle this issue much as we did prescription-drug abuse.”

Overly said another priority will be to extend domestic violence orders and emergency protective orders to victims in dating situations.  “We are the only state not to offer some level of civil protection in these cases,” she said.  “That puts an especially unfair burden on some of our youngest women who have no way of obtaining a DVO.”

The leaders added that the House would also put its support behind a constitutional amendment allowing most felons to vote after completing their sentence.

“We have an ambitious agenda, but I’m more convinced than ever that we can enact it and other needed laws,” Speaker Stumbo said.  “The election season is over; now, it’s time to get to work.”

The 2015 Regular Session is set to begin January 6th, and will last for 30 working days, concluding in late March.

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