Fletcher and Richards Talk About Special Session

The special session of the General Assembly is still in jeopardy. The Senate is at work, while the House adjourned on July 5, 2007, just an hour after the session began.

House leadership and Governor Ernie Fletcher held a conference call this morning to discuss the chances of the House returning to Frankfort.

Both Governor Fletcher and House Speaker Jody Richards said the tone of the conference call was very business-like. They spoke about the possibility of the House returning to Frankfort for the special session. However, even after the call, the consensus of the House is there won’t be a special session.

Communication and doing what's best for the state were two topics the governor and House leadership spent around 45 minutes on the phone discussing.

"I told them if they thought it was political to tell me what to take off the list," Fletcher said.

By resolving those issues, the two were hoping to combat an energy bill that’s been a hot topic of the General Assembly. The bill is one of the main focuses of the special session the governor called last week. It would provide incentives to attract companies that convert coal into alternative fuels.

The state is in talks with Peabody Energy to come to Kentucky. House Speaker Richards said even if the incentives are passed, that doesn't mean the company will come to the state.

"That's not good business for the Commonwealth. We can't lay our cards on the table, or our incentives on the table and let some other state trump it or up it," Richards stated.

Richards said he offered to go with the governor and Senate President David Williams to discuss the state's options with Peabody.

"We need a commitment from them if they're going to get a commitment from us," Richards said.

If the General Assembly doesn't pass the bill, Governor Fletcher said the chances of the company coming to Kentucky are zero.

"Peabody said they're 100 percent sure they are not coming to Kentucky without these incentives. Number two - they're making a decision in 90 days," Fletcher said.

In order to give Kentucky the best shot to attract the company, the governor said the House needs to go back to work.

"We have a commitment that they're very likely to come to Kentucky, that's a pretty strong commitment," Fletcher said.

Richards said the House already passed the bill during the regular session.

"I think both sides understand the other, which I think the governor needed to understand our position on it," Richards said.

House Speaker Richards said he thinks many of the other issues that weren't passed during the last session can be handled in January 2008. One of those topics is the university projects. The governor said if the General Assembly waits until January, it will cost the state an extra $24 million in expenses.

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