Constitutional Amendment #1:
Let me summarize Amendment #1 that will be on the ballot. Although the language is long, it effectively does two things, both of which I STRONGLY support:
- Removes the end date for legislative sessions. Currently, per the KY Constitution, the General Assembly must adjourn by April 30 on odd-numbered years, for a 30 day session and by May 15 on even-numbered years for a 60 day session. These rules were established a long time ago when the majority of legislators were farmers. Given that there wasn’t much to do during the winter, that’s when they held the legislative session. Amendment #1 simply removes the required end dates of April 30 and May 15 from the Constitution. It DOES NOT add legislative days, therefore it doesn’t increase legislative pay. Sessions will still be 30 or 60 days long, but it gives the legislature the flexibility to meet anytime during the year as necessary. Imagine if we had this flexibility in 2020…we could have stopped this Governor from shutting down the state for almost a year. The legislature must vote on the calendar each session and this would be no different.
- Gives the Speaker of the House and the Senate President the ability to call the legislature into special session. Currently, only the Governor can call the legislature into special session. Our current arrangement only exists in just 14 other states. This establishes the legislative branch authority over itself. In order for this to happen, there must be a state of emergency or national disaster declared. They would have the authority to call the legislature into special session for a maximum of 12 days. The topic of the special session must still be stated and not wavered. Special sessions are not like regular sessions and are strictly limited.
Again, I encourage you to vote for Amendment #1 as well as #2. Amendment #1 establishes and reinforces legislative authority over it’s own branch. Other states have recognized, as they should, that the three branches of government are separate but equal. One should not be dependent on another and it’s time we make this change in Kentucky. Vote YES on Amendment #1!!