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Senator Max Wise's 2020 Regular Session Review
Personal political commentary/opinions of the writer
By State Senator Max Wise, (R-Campbellsville)
16th District: Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne Counties
It was an honor to serve you and our district at the Capitol during the 2020 Regular Session. With a reduced staff and no visitors, efforts to promote social distancing left the Capitol much quieter than usual for the final days of a budget session. However, the legislature continued to work tirelessly to complete the people's business in a timely, but healthy manner, meeting only 53 legislative days--seven days less per the Kentucky Constitution.
Going into this year's legislative session, we knew that its success would be measured on the passage of a balanced 2-year budget plan for the Commonwealth. Indeed, the worldwide pandemic prompted us to step back from tradition and make changes to session procedures while remaining dedicated to our constitutional obligations.
The difficulties of making long-term revenue projections amid the pandemic shifted our focus from a 2-year budget to instead passing a simple 1-year spending plan.
The Senate joined the House of Representatives to override all gubernatorial vetoes to the state budget bill. The overrides, among other things, will give Kentucky's Attorney General the final word regarding any questions that arise regarding the interpretation of House Bill 352 or the transportation cabinet budget. Under current law, the finance cabinet has the authority to decide questions regarding the meaning of the executive branch and transportation cabinet budgets when the General Assembly is not in session.
Veto actions on House Bill 351, often referred to as the revenue bill, were also overridden. The 1-year $11.3 billion spending plan spends less than expected just a few months before the pandemic reached Kentucky. Still, the budget maintains current funding levels for most services across state government. It also has approximately the same total state funding level as that currently exists for Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK), the state's core kindergarten through 12th-grade funding formula. It provides millions of dollars for enhanced school security measures and school-based mental health service providers. Both were called for in the 2019 School Safety and Resiliency Act, the critical school safety measure that passed last year that I was proud to sponsor.
In addition to budget measures, the House and Senate passed historic legislation on issues relating to COVID-19 relief, education, human rights, mental health services, veterans, and others, many which passed with bipartisan support.
You can find a complete list of legislation that will be implemented as a result of the 2020 Session at www.legislature.ky.gov.
The 2020 Regular Session was undoubtedly unique. An abundance of gratitude is owed to those keeping us safe and healthy during these challenging times. I have been impressed with our doctors' and first responders' continued dedicated service. Our educational professionals have also stepped up, as teachers and students grapple with finding ways to adapt to these times. It goes to show how blessed we are as a community and a Commonwealth. I ask you to join me in thanking these selfless individuals.
I would also like to thank you for your continued support, criticisms, questions, and comments.
Although the session is over, we will be participating in interim committee meetings throughout the remainder of the year to prepare and discuss new legislation. If you have any thoughts or questions regarding the work we accomplished during this past session, I certainly want to hear from you. You can contact me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Max.Wise@lrc.ky.gov.
I am happy to be home, reunited with loved ones. I hope to see you out and about in the coming year. Stay safe, and God bless.
This story was posted on 2020-05-29 10:27:15
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