4:31 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Lawmaker Wants to Return to Biennial Sessions

Kentucky should do away with annual sessions of the General Assembly because they haven’t worked the way they were supposed to--that’s the opinion of state Senator Bob Leeper, who is sponsoring legislation that would give voters a chance to repeal a constitutional amendment they approved more than a decade ago.

That amendment authorized the yearly gatherings and Leeper says it was sold to voters as a way to eliminate or reduce “special” sessions.

Leeper, an independent from Paducah, says special sessions are only supposed to be called when there’s an emergency, but that hasn’t been the case.

"Governors used special sessions out of political strategy.   They don’t call them for any other reason. They’re in the Constitution to be called under emergencies, and I can maybe think of once or twice when I deemed it an emergency when they were called.   But they were a political strategy, and that’s the nature of the beast.   It’s going to happen whether we have annual sessions or not," Leeper said. 

Leeper says the annual assemblies and an increasing number of special sessions are making it difficult to maintain a “citizen” legislature.

His proposal to change the state Constitution and go back to biennial 60-day sessions cleared a Senate committee last week.