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Session Without Conference Committee Work So Far

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Anne Kitzman, 123rf stock photo
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The 2017 Kentucky General Assembly session has been void of something typically found in the legislative process.

Through 27 days of a 30-day session there have been no conference committee meetings.  That’s when members from both Houses meet to iron out differences in bills.  Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said there’s been no need, so far.

 

“What we’re finding is our members who have amendments on their bills and vice versa are working with the other chamber to say ‘Hey would you be ok with this amendment, if I put it on your bill.’  So we know we have agreement going in,” Thayer said.

 

However, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he can’t predict the session will end with total agreement.  Likewise, the Senate leader can’t predict if the session will end with no vetoes from Governor Bevin.

 

“I don’t know, I haven’t even thought about that.  The governor has a right to veto a bill and we have a right to override and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Thayer said.

 

For the first time in nearly 100 years, Republicans are in control of both Houses of the legislature.  They are also working with a Republican governor, Matt Bevin.  Bevin did veto legislation in his first session, maybe most notably the so called “Real ID” bill.  Senate President Robert Stivers said yesterday he anticipates a vote today on legislation to address the issue.  The bill aims to make state driver’s licenses and official IDs conform with federal standards.

In the past with a Democrat-controlled House and Republican-led Senate, conference committees were commonplace.  Budget conference committees could last for days.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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