Politics

A measure related to legislative pensions won unanimous approval Wednesday from a state Senate committee. And legislation that could change the state Constitution and move the election of statewide officeholders to even-numbered years also emerged unscathed.

There was no committee debate on Senate Bill 45, a measure that would require the disclosure, upon request, of retirement benefit information of both current and former General Assembly members. The legislation is being sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chair Chris McDaniel.

He said transparency is a key to government.

“There are some select circumstances where people have done things that the public would find egregious in terms of spiking benefits,” McDaniel said.

The committee also approved a constitutional amendment bill to shift the election of statewide officers to even-numbered years. That bill wouldn’t go into effect until 2024, meaning it wouldn’t affect the current governor.

“You can’t change the term of a current officeholder because you wouldn’t have provided notice to the public,” McDaniel said. “But the fact of the matter is the whole slate that would be elected next time would serve five-year terms, assuming the people of Kentucky ratify a constitutional amendment.”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said approval of such a measure could mean a big boost in voter turnout.

“All you have to do is go back and look at previous presidential years; we usually hit 50 percent turnout,” said Thayer.

The committee was told passage of such an amendment could save the state $3.5 million every four years.​