Early Voting is Not the Answer

Early Voting is Not the Answer

by Senator Damon Thayer, Majority Floor Leader

Sen. Damon Thayer (Georgetown)

Sen. Damon Thayer (Georgetown)

I read with interest recent editorials from various newspapers stating it is too difficult to vote in Kentucky and that the Commonwealth should pass a law allowing "early voting" to increase the number of participants in our state and federal elections. I am always supportive of increased voter turnout; early voting is not the answer.

Kentucky's current law allowing voters to cast an absentee ballot by mail or at the courthouse and military voting ballots by mail is "just right." Campaigns are funded and executed with the intention of peaking on Election Day. This strategy is perhaps more true in local elections where candidates are unable to raise large amounts of money for campaigns.

As we saw in the recent Presidential election, relevant information on both candidates came out weeks and even days before the election. It makes little sense that states allow voters to cast a ballot up to a month prior to Election Day, and it makes elections more complicated and more costly. There could still be a debate between two candidates. Should we really consider allowing voters to make their decisions that early? I say no.

Another issue with early voting is the potential for voter fraud when there are fewer election observers and officials monitoring the process. Early votes are not submitted in nearly as controlled of an environment as on Election Day itself.

In 2016 we had just under 60 percent turnout in Kentucky, which is a solid percentage if you look back in history. One way to increase turnout, while giving voters a needed break from elections, would be to move Kentucky's statewide elections to even-numbered years, a proposal my Senate colleagues have passed for several years. The suggested legislation, sponsored by Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill), would save the Commonwealth of Kentucky and all 120 counties millions of dollars, involve more voters in the process, and lighten the load from making Kentuckians vote three out of every four years to just twice out of every four years.

If Kentuckians are serious about increasing turnout for important statewide elections, we should consider Senator McDaniel's proposed Constitutional Amendment to go on the ballot in 2018. This would be a much more effective way to guarantee increased participation in statewide elections while saving taxpayer dollars.



Senator Jimmy Higdon

Many of you may recall an issue the Kentucky General Assembly discussed in the 2016 Session, known as “REAL ID,” which requires Kentucky to meet modern federal regulation standards on the issuance of identification.  Known as Senate Bill (SB) 245 in the 2016 Session, the bill passed both the Senate and the House but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Bevin because of concerns will the bill’s future implications.

Kentucky requested another time extension to come into compliance with federal REAL ID regulations but was denied on October 12. For the most part, Kentucky has actually met many of the necessary provisions to be in compliance with this regulation. The main point of non-compliance can be found with our ID issuance—Kentucky allows its citizens to obtain a driver’s license or ID card over the counter at one of its 144 Circuit Court Clerk locations. According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, this setup created a challenge in meeting REAL ID facility security requirements.

How will this extension denial affect Kentuckians? For the most part, most Kentuckians will not feel an immediate impact. According to the Transportation Cabinet, Kentuckians will still be able to use their state-issued driver licenses and ID cards to visit Social Security offices, Veterans’ Affairs (VA) facilities, federal court houses, and to apply for federal benefits such as Medicare.

Some minimal, but more immediate effects, have already taken place. As of October 11, 2016, Kentucky’s driver licenses and ID cards are not acceptable forms of identification at the Department of Homeland Securities Nebraska Avenue Complex headquarters in Washington, D.C. Beginning January 10, 2017, Kentucky driver’s licenses and ID cards will not be accepted at some federal facilities, including nuclear power plants and military installations. If you frequently visit either of these facilities, please contact them to ensure you have correct credentials moving forward.

Kentucky driver’s licenses and ID cards will be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) until January 22, 2018. If Kentucky is still deemed a non-compliant state by that date, Kentuckians will likely be required to use another form of identification to board domestic flights. There are a few options available; if you are concerned you will need a new form of identification for any of the above reasons, both a passport and a passport card—both federally issued—are acceptable forms of identification.

You can obtain a passport card or a passport in person. Call your local post office to find the nearest location to you to apply for a passport or check online at https://iafdb.travel.state.gov/DefaultForm.aspx. If you already have a passport or a passport card but need to update it, you may be eligible to apply for a new one via mail. Check with your local passport application facility or online at www.travel.state.gov to see if you are eligible to apply online.

We in the Kentucky General Assembly plan on revisiting this issue in the 2017 Session. The Interim joint Committee on Transportation, among others, has already had discussions on REAL ID compliance, and we plan to continue the conversation through the Session. As always, the members of the General Assembly welcome your input on the issue.

Pension Crisis Must Be Addressed

Pension Crisis Must Be Addressed

By Sen. Wil Schroder (R, Wilder).  This column originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Sen. Wil Schroder (R, Wilder)

In early February 2015, Speaker Greg Stumbo, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, sat before a House Committee pitching the passage of House Bill 4 (HB 4). This legislation, he claimed, would save the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System (KTRS) by borrowing $3.3 billion and then investing the money in the stock market. Stumbo projected the $3.3 billion could be borrowed at a 4.5 percent interest rate and then invested for a 7.5 percent return. He encouraged members of the committee not to miss this “window of opportunity” and claimed “you have guaranteed the solvency of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System.” House Bill 4 passed out of committee that day with the support of every Democratic member and then passed the full House, again with the support of every Democratic member.

Despite numerous letters, calls and meetings from teachers urging its passage, I, along with most of the Senate Republican Caucus, knew the math in HB 4 just did not work. In fact, the 7.5 percent return guaranteed by the House Democrats has proven to be a negative 1.3 percent. While this is terrible news, it would have been even worse had HB 4 passed.

According to the most recent projections from former Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget director, had $3.3 billion been borrowed in July 2015, the KTRS would have actually lost $43 million. This would have been in addition to the $200 million in interest payments required that year and the fees paid to KTRS investment advisers. The guarantee of KTRS solvency rings hollow now that we know taxpayers and retired teachers would have been the big losers under the House Democrats’ plan.

In contrast, I have been proud to support real pension reform proposals based on proven facts to help solve the looming crisis of unfunded obligations in all of Kentucky’s public pension systems. An excellent example of this reform was Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) proposed during the 2016 Session. Senate Bill 2 would have brought enhanced transparency to the KTRS and Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) by requiring the disclosure of investment fees and the terms of contracts entered into by the retirement systems. Recently, the KRS reported its annual investment expenses were running 75 percent higher than reported in previous years, yet little explanation was given behind this steep increase.

Common sense dictates there should be more transparency in how the public pension systems operate. When in your everyday life would you ever continue to give money for a service without first understanding how and for what you were being charged? Yet, despite feigning support for “more light” to be shined on the pension systems, the Democratic leaders in the Kentucky House who control the flow of bills refused to post SB 2 for passage. These same people have even blocked passage of Senate legislation ending the “super-sizing” of legislators’ pensions.

Kentuckians deserve better and we cannot afford any more risky investment plans put forth by House Democrats. The House of Representatives needs bold leadership unafraid to do the right thing. I stand with my Senate colleagues ready to work with those leaders to solve Kentucky’s public pension crisis.

Sen. Wil Schroder represents the 24th District in the Kentucky Senate.

Ralph is on a Roll

Ralph is on a Roll

In case you've been hiding under a rock for the last month you've seen our resident Republican Rockstar, Ralph Alvarado (Winchester) tear Hillary Clinton and the rest of the wayward Democrats to pieces.  He made a name for himself in front of a national TV audience at the RNC Convention in Cleveland and then drove it home recently on the Fancy Farm stage in Graves County.

In case you missed it...

Schroder: Encourage Growth, Cut The Red Tape

Schroder: Encourage Growth, Cut The Red Tape

By: Sen. Wil Schroder (Wilder) – Follow Wil on Facebook and Twitter

Sen. Wil Schroder (Wilder)

Sen. Wil Schroder (Wilder)

This week, I was excited to learn that Governor Bevin rolled out a new enterprise aimed at helping to identify and cut back on the unnecessary burdensome regulations that too often harm Kentucky businesses. I am wholeheartedly supportive of Governor Bevin’s #CutTheTape initiative. There are currently over 4,500 administrative regulations in Kentucky, and an estimated 15 percent of them have not been reviewed since 1974. We must cut back the red tape in government if we want to encourage growth in our state.

Governor Bevin outlined the problem well. “As a business owner, I understand firsthand how difficult it can be for a new or growing business to be aware of, understand and comply with every government regulation,” Gov. Bevin said. “While some regulations are very necessary and protect the public safety, others can stifle economic growth, impose unnecessary costs on businesses and impede private sector investment. These costs all get passed through to the consumer. I constantly hear from business owners that confusing government mandates and red tape are huge challenges for them… This suffocating red tape is a problem that must be fixed and, with the help of all Kentuckians, we intend to do just that.”

Click to Visit the Site!

Click to Visit the Site!

The Governor is currently working with cabinet secretaries to identify burdensome regulations within their departments. His office has also reached out to government employees across the state to help identify unnecessary “red tape” and is working with businesses and community leaders across all spectrums.

Addressing unnecessary administrative regulations is an issue the Senate has been working on for years to no avail with past administrations… I, along with the Senate, applaud the Bevin Administration for moving forward. This will create a better business environment and help create Kentucky jobs.
— Robert Stivers, Senate President

Last session I filed, and the Senate passed, legislation that would have helped business more conveniently challenge many of these regulations.  Unfortunately, this legislation never received a hearing in the House.  Senate President Robert Stivers commended the Governor for taking this step and made it clear that the Senate will work with the Governor on this initiative:

If you or your business have been negatively affected by a regulation, a website has been established, www.redtapereduction.com, where you can suggest regulations that should be reviewed. You can also check back at the website for updates on the review process. I encourage you to take advantage of this new resource to help Kentucky businesses succeed, and I look forward to seeing the results.  Together we can create a better business climate in our great Commonwealth.

Senator Wil Schroder represents District 24 comprised of Bracken, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties.

Red Tape Reduction Initiative

Red Tape Reduction Initiative

On July 6, Gov. Matt Bevin announced the Red Tape Reduction Initiative to review the thousands of Kentucky regulations on the books, most of which haven't been examined for relevance or effectiveness in decades, if ever at all.  Your Senate Republicans work daily to create Kentucky Jobs and strengthen Kentucky families, and we've tried to address wayward regs by legislative action (something the House Dems consistently fight).  In the meantime, we fully support the Governor's effort to get burdensome, unnecessary, out-dated or ineffective regulations off the backs of Kentucky's job creators.

A great part of the initiative is that the Governor is calling on all Kentuckians to get involved in the process.  If you've had to deal with a regulation that was burdensome, unnecessary, out-dated or ineffective you can report it right here: redtapereduction.com

Many of our members took to Twitter and Facebook today to encourage people to share their input. Kentucky Senate President Stivers also issued the following statement:


FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 6, 2016) – The following is a statement from Senate President Robert Stivers regarding the recent announcement made by Governor Matt Bevin regarding his ‘#CutTheTape’ initiative to review and reevaluate excessive administrative regulations in Kentucky.

“Addressing unnecessary administrative regulations is an issue the Senate has been working on for years to no avail with past administrations. I personally introduced legislation to draw in regulations and have had many conversations with Governor Bevin about the necessity of this issue. I, along with the Senate, applaud the Bevin Administration for moving forward. This will create a better business environment and help create Kentucky jobs.”

For more information on how to suggest regulations that should be reviewed, please visit the website: redtapereduction.com.

Independence Day

Independence Day

By: Senate Damon Thayer, (Georgetown) Majority Floor Leader

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— Declaration of Independence

Independence Day, the Fourth of July, gives us all a chance to reflect on our country and to take pride in our nation's enduring principles. It is the day on which the Declaration of Independence was ratified by exemplary visionaries who dared to create a new form of government and new laws for a new people. For the first time it was decided that every person is born with certain God-given rights and that government should have no powers of its own other than those granted to it by the people.   

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," is one of the most powerful statements of all time. Those words still ring loudly throughout the world today as America has taken its foundation of freedom and transformed it into the blueprint for the greatest nation on Earth

But this freedom has not come without sacrifice. Countless men and women have given their lives on and off the battlefield for our freedoms and rights. Civil and international wars have been fought to expand those freedoms to all people. We still continue that fight today. We are a nation that celebrates our differences; we do not persecute because of them.

While we celebrate independence on the Fourth, we also celebrate our country’s unity. After the recent terror attack in Orlando, the citizens of the United States stood together to show the world that we cannot be beaten down. We remember our state motto: “united we stand, divided we fall.” 

As we celebrate with our family and friends this holiday, let us keep in mind those principles of freedom, sacrifice, and unity. We are one nation, under God, and together we will continue to live the lives our founding fathers envisioned for the future of this great nation.

Be safe this holiday, keep your family and friends close, and lastly, God bless America.


Note:  Senator Thayer represents the 17th Senate District which includes southern Kenton County, as well as all of Grant and Scott Counties.  He is Senate Majority Floor Leader, as well as a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Committee on Committees, the Legislative Research Commission, the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee, the Rules Committee, and the State and Local Government Committee.

Sen. Wise on CN|2: Thoughts on Orlando

Sen. Wise on CN|2: Thoughts on Orlando

The entire Commonwealth grieves for the tragic loss of life in Orlando in the nation's worst mass shooting, and the Senate GOP continues to ask that those families and loved ones suffering be remembered in your prayers.

As investigators and law enforcement have worked the case we've all learned of the gunman's ISIS sympathies (and those of his wife and family).  There are lots of questions remaining unanswered, but Senator Max Wise sat down with Nick Storm of CN|2 to offer his informed perspective.  Sen. Wise previously served as an analyst for the FBI from 2003 to 2007 in Washington, D.C. and Louisville. He also serves as an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Campbellsville University.  He has also taught at the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky.  We're proud to call him a part of the Senate Super Majority.

Leader Thayer on CN|2

Leader Thayer on CN|2

Last week Senate Super Majority Floor Leader, Damon Thayer (Georgetown), sat down with Nick Storm in the CN|2 studio to give a recap on the 2016 session, with a specific focus on the new dynamic created by the GOP holding the keys to the Governor's office for the first time in nearly a decade.  Things are different and its already paying dividends for the people of Kentucky.

Damon then gives his thoughts on the upcoming elections for the House and Senate.  Once again the Senate Super Majority remains in safe GOP hands.  Once again, the House GOP seeks to regain a majority in the lower chamber for the first time in 95 years.  It should be easier now that the House Dems have gone a step further than merely being in the party of Obama and Clinton, but they've taken an affirmative vote – twice – in 2016 to setup Obamacare in state statute (remember Old Beshear embraced the horrible healthcare policy by executive order...funny that now the Dems wanted to send a bill through the legislative process).

Sen. Girdler: Damon Thayer is a Proven Leader

Sen. Girdler: Damon Thayer is a Proven Leader

Our colleague from Somerset, Senator Chris Girdler, isn't running for re-election this year so I was honored when he decided to write this Letter to Editor recognizing the hard work of our Super Majority Floor Leader, Damon Thayer...

Your 2016 Senate GOP Nominees

Your 2016 Senate GOP Nominees

After May Primary the Kentucky Senate Super Majority remains well positioned for November.  Incumbents Albert Robinson (London) and John Schickel (Union) both handily won their primary contests.  With those out of the way the SRCCC can turn its focus to November to bring our nominees across the finish line on top.

Meet Steve Meredith

5th District Nominee

Meet Damon Thayer

Senator, 17th District Nominee

Meet Albert Robinson

Senator, 21st District Nominee

Meet Steve West

Senator, 27th District Nominee

Meet Shenita Rickman

33rd District Nominee

Sen. Joe Bowen on Pension Transparency

Sen. Joe Bowen on Pension Transparency


 The following is an op-ed submitted by Kentucky State Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro: 

The most important political office is that of the private citizen.
— Justice Louis Brandeis

These words were powerful in the early 20th Century when written by the former Justice of the Supreme Court and are arguably even more meaningful today.

As the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) during the 2016 Session, I sought to focus needed "sunlight" into the activities of the Commonwealth’s taxpayer funded state employee pension systems. Unfortunately politics got in the way and my efforts were fruitless. Key decision makers in the House of Representatives succumbed to the relentless opposition from the retirement system’s lobbyists and decided that transparency is not important. 

The nearly $40 billion in liabilities of the retirement systems are a ticking time bomb threatening our entire state. Our retirement systems are ranked among the worst funded in the nation. Taxpayers deserve to know how the pension systems operate and legislators should to have the ability to set policy, not simply react to crisis after crisis. It is past time for change. SB 2 would have provided an opportunity for everyone interested in finding a solution to have the information they need to find those solutions.

Even my good faith attempts at compromise produced no results. The consequences of this inaction mean that you, the taxpayer, and state retirees (who are dependent on the systems for their checks) continue to be in the dark regarding how the systems make decisions. Decisions that involve investing billions of dollars.

Senate Bill 2’s key provision was requiring adherence to the state’s "Model Procurement Code” by the retirement systems. Meaning for the first time an open and competitive bidding when hiring investment managers. While establishing this process would have been victory enough, the bill also called for the reporting of management fees, transparency in investment performances, and Senate Confirmation of the Kentucky Retirement Systems’ Executive Director. Senate Bill 2 would have required more financial expertise of appointed board members and provided additional oversight from a watchdog group known as the Government Contract Review Committee.

The House’s failure to enact Senate Bill 2 does not mean the General Assembly took no action to solve Kentucky’s public pension crisis.  The Commonwealth will be making an unprecedented contribution of $1.28 billion above the recommended and required contributions to the pension systems.  A move I have been advocating for some time.  But this additional funding does not remove the need for more transparency.

All is not lost. I have lived to fight another day and the retirement systems should remember that the 2017 Session of the General Assembly will be here before they know it.

 # # #

Note:  Senator Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro) represents the 8th District including Daviess, Hancock, and McLean counties.  He is chairman of the State and Local Government Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee, the Licensing and Occupations Committee, and co-chair of the Public Pension Oversight Board.

Sen. Schickel Endorsed by NRA

Sen. Schickel Endorsed by NRA

The Kentucky Senate GOP works to protect our treasured 2nd Amendment right against regular attempts to carve into it, reduce it, distort it or eliminate it outright.  The Senate Republicans won't stand for it, and you find that gun rights advocates recognize that work, and reward it with endorsements accordingly.

Your Senator from Boone,  John Schickel is one such Republican.  John, as Chairman of the Licensing and Occupations Committee and member of the Judiciary Committee, has been in a position to support the passage of laws to protect and expand upon the right our framers enshrined in the 2nd Amendment.  Today John announced the National Rifle Association gave him an A Rating.

If protecting the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is important to you, exercise your power at the ballot box to keep folks like Sen. John Schickel in office to protect it.

Don't forget to vote in the Republican Primary on May 17th!  Find your precinct and polling place here!

Sen. Robinson Endorsed by NRA

Sen. Robinson Endorsed by NRA

It doesn't get much simpler than this.  The Kentucky Senate GOP works to protect our treasured 2nd Amendment right against regular attempts to carve into it, reduce it, distort it or eliminate it outright.  The Senate Republicans won't stand for it, and you find that gun rights advocates recognize that work, and reward it with endorsements accordingly.

Your Senator from Laurel, Albert Robinson is one such Republican.  Albert serves as Chairman of the influential Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee where he has overseen the swift passage of laws to protect and expand upon the right our framers enshrined in the 2nd Amendment.  Today Albert announced the National Rifle Association gave him an A+ Rating, their highest for a candidate.

If protecting the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is important to you, exercise your power at the ballot box to keep folks like Sen. Albert Robinson in office to protect it.

Don't forget to vote in the Republican Primary on May 17th!  Find your precinct and polling place here!

Sen. Robinson Endorsed by KY RTL

Sen. Robinson Endorsed by KY RTL

The fight for the unborn is one we take seriously in the Senate GOP caucus.  That's why we have one of the strongest voices for the profile movement in the Chair for the Veterans-Military Affairs-Public Protection committee, Sen. Albert Robinson.

Albert likes to promote a constant theme of "God, Gun, Country & Family" and his work on prolife legislation is proof of that.  In fact, Albert helped move Senate Bill 4 (informed consent) – the first prolife bill to pass the legislature in over a decade – through the Senate and was part of the handful of legislators that personally escorted the bill from the Senate chamber to the Governor's office on the first floor, marking the historic day.  It was a special day for the Senate GOP, but most of all for the mothers and their children whose lives will be saved.  Sen. Albert Robinson worked to make it happen.

Today Albert announced he's been endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life, a sure sign he's serious when it comes to protecting life in the Kentucky Senate.  Let's keep him there on the front lines of this fight!  

Making A Difference

Making A Difference

The Kentucky Senate Majority continues to demonstrate leadership and this year's budget process is no different.  We fought for and passed a fiscally sound budget, finally setting Kentucky on a path to prosperity rather than spending our way deeper into debt....

Budget Agreement Reached

Budget Agreement Reached


Around 2am the budget conference committee arrived at a compromise on the Commonwealth's biennial budget document.  The document doesn't exist yet but is being put together by legislative staff in anticipation of a vote by both chambers on Friday, April 15th, the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

We'll post the document here when its done, but here are some of the highlights.

The budget includes the following (amounts to follow): 

  • Work Force Bonds $100 Million
  • Equity Funding (NKU and WKU)
  • Constitutional officers cut 3.75%
  • Lexington Convention Center (bonding authority)
  • Performance Base funding for Univ  
  • Library Construction funds
  • Urgent needs schools
  • No cuts to KET
  • Dual Credit money
  • No cuts to K-12
  • Kentucky State Univ no cuts
  • Atwood center funding
  • Coal funding 45 million
  • Judicial Branch additional $34 million
  • Publishing requirements for counties over 100,000 on legal advertising.
  • Universities allowed 2 projects
  • Pike funding for optometrist program slots
  • Foster care additional funding
  • CASA funding
  • Unexpired tobacco debt service reauthorized .

Six Urgent Needs Schools including:

  • Lewis County
  • Breckinridge County
  • Raceland Independent
  • Hart County
  • Boyle County
  • Morgan County

A Second Chance

A Second Chance

For several years there has been a desire by some to create a process for convicted felons to have their records expunged so long as they meet certain criteria.  The criteria hasn't changed much over time; low-level offenses only, non-violent, non-sex-offense, no repeat offenders.  The argument in favor of such a law is centered around redemption, and the ability to remove the social and economic stigma of being a felon.

Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.
— Job 11:18-19

The arguments of redemption have been met with the criticism that employers should be able to know who they're hiring, and that crime victims need to be protected too.  Both sides have merit.  Over the last several months work has been underway to find a middle ground.

We believe we found it.

With the work of Senate President Robert Stivers, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, HB40 was amended in the Senate to provide a chance at redemption but to make sure it was only for those most in need and most deserving, those who have accomplished what we ask everyone in the criminal justice system to do: Learn from your mistake.  Go forth and sin no more.

The bill passed the Senate in late March and was officially signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on April 12, 2016.

House Walks Away

House Walks Away

We can't explain it much better than the Giant Killer, the Senator from Clark, Dr. Ralph Alvarado...

From Sen. Alvarado's Facebook page:

House Democrats have failed Kentucky.... again
Kentucky State Senate proposed the following budget compromise:
1) FULL funding of the judicial branch
2) FULL funding of K-12 (LARS, FRYSKy, etc)
3) $1.282 BILLION into pension system (KTRS/KERS)
4) $250M into Budget Reserve Trust Fund (rainy day fund)
5) $250M into Permanent Pension Fund
6) No current year university cuts, with only 1/2 the cuts moving forward
House Democrats walked away from budget talks today and REJECTED the full funding of K-12 education, REJECTED the full funding of the judicial branch (again), and REJECTED record investment into our broken pension system. Instead, House Democrats INSISTED on 22 pages of unnecessary "pork projects" in their home districts and wanted "free" college education for two years, all at the expense of our absolute #1 budget priority: Kentucky's $38 billion pension problem. House Democratic leadership is still stuck in 1996. Kentucky deserves modern leaders who are responsible and responsive to the demands of its current electorate. There is no excuse for the House Democrats to walk out on their constitutional obligations. So, please contact House leadership and urge them to accept the latest Senate proposal and pass a fiscally responsible budget for Kentucky.