Well, that was different!
On the opening day of Kentucky’s General Assembly, it usually just purrs right along at a quick clip of approving the Record from the 23 GA and the blanket approval of the usual Resolutions. But today there was a wrinkle in both the Senate and the House as the “Rules of Procedure” were proposed in their respective chambers. The Democratic caucus decided to object to the Rules of Procedure.
In the Senate, Senator Reggie Thomas (D-13) rose to speak about the report from the League of Women Voters that addressed concerns about the lack of transparency in the fast tracking of bills. Sen. Thomas outlined suggestions from the report and asked his colleagues to consider discussing them before voting on the adoption of the rules. The rules that were proposed for this session were the same as those in place for the 2023 session.
Sen Damon Thayer (R-17 and Majority Floor Leader) smugly put down the request by saying he wished that the request had been brought to his attention sooner, and that there are 59 more days in the session to talk about them. The Senate declined to discuss the proposed rules, and passed them as Senate Resolution 5.
In the House, minority floor leader Derrick Graham (D-47) also rose to speak about the LWV report, and asked for a recess so the minority caucus could review the rules proposed for this year’s session and discuss the topics outlined by the LWV report. Speaker of the House, David Osborne (R-59) granted, with the hint of a smirk on his face, only fifteen minutes of recess.
Afterward, multiple representatives spoke about wanting to have a discussion about the LWV report and some possible changes to the House Rules of Procedure. Rachel Roberts (D-67 and Minority Whip) made a motion to lay HR 2 on the clerk’s table so changes could be discussed. That motion failed 68-24, with Savannah Maddox (R-61) supporting the Democrats. Felicia Rabourn (R-47) then filed a gazillion House Resolutions about amending the rules (I counted at least 9), and the clerk had to have a big drink of water after he finished reading them all!
David Osborne (R-59) also got to pontificate about how he felt the LWV report was “statistically insignificant” since they didn’t use data from all of the legislative sessions.
In the end, the supermajority passed House Resolution 2 with 4 Republicans (by my count) joining the Democrats who voted No.
It is important to note, the Democrats are not shrinking away from fighting for citizen participation in our legislature. They are fighting for transparency and fair play. It is now public record that the leadership of the legislature has been called out for using shenanigans that shortcut legislators and citizens in order to push through their agenda. That is NOT representative government.