Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

State News

March 13, 2014

Senate passes Thayer bill to ‘clarify’ election laws

(Continued)

FRANKFORT — “Sounds like the Speaker is adamantly opposed to it which is surprising because all this is really about is the opportunity for Kentuckians to vote for — or against — one of their own who may run for president,” said Thayer.

But Thayer thinks Paul could successfully challenge the law in court and passage by the state Senate might help.

“I believe, as he does, that he can run for the Senate and the president right now. But I wanted to file this bill to give a little clarity to the situation.”

Thayer said if Paul were to win the presidential race, Kentucky’s voters wouldn’t be disenfranchised. He’d serve out his current term before being inaugurated and the governor would appoint a replacement for two years.

“The opportunity to have one of our own run for president of the United States is an opportunity of gargantuan proportions,” Thayer said.

Thayer said he expects the measure to be considered by the full Senate next week.

The committee also passed out a proposed constitutional amendment by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, to limit the length of General Assembly sessions to five days in odd-numbered years and 45 in even-numbered years.

Currently the legislature meets for 30 days in odd-numbered years and 60 in even-numbered years. The amendment, if approved by voters, would also allow leaders of the General Assembly to call lawmakers into special sessions for a maximum of 10 days. Presently, only the governor can call a special session and that wouldn’t change under Stivers’ proposed amendment.

Stivers said the bill will save the state between $3 million and $7 million annually and return the legislature to the concept of “a citizen legislature.”

Minority Leader R. J. Palmer, D-Winchester, said he agrees with the concept but worries about unintended consequences. He suggested for instance that if one party controlled both chambers that party might be tempted to call a special session right before an election in an effort to affect the outcome of the election.

The measure now goes to the Senate floor.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

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