Politics
11:29 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Kentucky House, Senate Leaders React to Gov. Steve Beshear's State of the Commonwealth

Robert Stivers
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear gave his seventh State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday, and leaders from both General Assembly chambers—and both parties—had quick reaction.

Senate President Robert Stivers voiced opposition to the governor's support of a statewide smoking ban, saying that although he does not smoke, he supports an individual's choice to do so.

Related: State of the Commonwealth: Beshear Says Kentucky's Momentum in Jeopardy

He added that he supports the governor's commitment to funding education, but, as with tax reform, says he still needs specifics.

"We have very much an interest in seeing a competitive tax code, that he talks about being business friendly, expands the base," said Stivers, a Republican. "That is something that we are looking for the details."

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said of Beshear's intention to make "harmful cuts" to other programs in order to fund education—all cuts, essentially, are harmful to the agency being cut.

Related: What to Expect fro the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly Session

"We have ... to determine, 'What are the core functions of the government?'" said Stumbo, a Democrat. "It has to provide for a system of public schools, it has to provide for a system of public safety ... health and human services programs. The governor has prioritized those in the past, and I think he'll continue to do that."

When asked why the governor didn't mention in his speech House Democrat's signature legislation, HB1, which would increase the state minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, Stumbo said he hadn't talked to the governor about the bill.

"It's my bill," he quipped.