Lawmakers React to Special Session

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

It's only been a few days since the House voted to abruptly end Governor Ernie Fletcher's special session. In the days since, there's been many accusations from both Democrats and Republicans about who is at fault for the failed session .

From Governor Fletcher's non-preparedness, to alleged constitutional violations and more, there's been plenty of blame to go around. Speaker of the House, Democrat Jody Richards, said last week's ill-fated special session should've never happened because it was costly and unnecessary.

"To have a special session, it really needs to rise to the point of an emergency and so far the governor hasn't been able to prove that the items on that call do rise to that level," Richards said.

Richards said he believes the governor had another motivation for calling the much-rumored session.

"The governor called it for political purposes. I don't know if that's the case, but it certainly looks very political."

However, Republican Rep. Jim DeCesare disputes Richards claims about who's playing hardball.

"I don't think it's a political stunt on the governor's part, but I think its a political stunt on the Democrats part," DeCesare told WBKO.

Governor Fletcher said the need for the special session is needed to move ahead with previous projects that were locked up in previous sessions, not to further his re-election bid.

"Overall, they'll save $24 million dollars on the projects if they do them now, rather than waiting," Fletcher explained.

One of those projects includes coming up with an incentives package to encourage Peabody Energy to set up shop in the bluegrass state. Fletcher said the state has to give the company a plan of action by the end of a 90-day window or face losing the company's business.

Speaker Richards said this whole situation could've been taken care of months ago. During the latest session, the House passed House Bill Five, which would've allowed for any incentive packages a company would need, but the Senate failed to pass the measure.

"If it's important now, it was important then.Yet, he didn't show any interest in it," Richards said.

Governor Fletcher sent a letter to Richards asking for the House to consider the fact that nearly 4,000 jobs may be lost if Peabody doesn't come to Kentucky. He also states in the letter that he would like to work with both sides and have another special session called very shortly.

"We're going to say 'Is there something that you need?'" Tell me politically what you have problems with and we'll talk about those things, Fletcher said.

Richards is doubtful there will be another session before the annual one in January.

Governor Fletcher is expected to hold a conference call with House Speaker Richards and Senate Leader David Williams Monday morning. Kentucky is currently in a fight with Illinois, who already has an incentive program in place for the services of Peabody Energy.

To read the complete letter from Governor Fletcher to Speaker Richards, click here.


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