Kentucky House Democrats say they're outnumbered, but not irrelevant
Democrats released an agenda that includes an increase in the minimum and scholarships for community college
FRANKFORT , Ky. (WDRB) -- Raising the minimum wage and free tuition for community college are two big priorities that Kentucky House Democrats say they plan to push.
But because of the new reality in Frankfort, their wish list may be little more than a pipe dream.
On the day after Gov. Matt Bevin's State of the Commonwealth address, House Democrats outlined their own agenda, knowing they have absolutely no power.
The governor walked into the House chamber Wednesday night knowing he and his allies have full control of the Capitol agenda for the first time in history.
Voters gave the Republicans super majorities in both chambers.
"You asked for change to come and change has come," said Bevin.
But the now-outnumbered Democrats say they don't plan to sit quietly.
"I would that they hope they hear us this morning," said Rep. Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook), the new House Minority Leader.
House Democrats say they'll try to find common ground on issues that both parties have supported in the past, such as establishing a fund to pay tuition for qualified students at the state's community and technical colleges.
"Much of this legislation was passed in the last session and vetoed by the governor. It was agreed on by the House and the Senate. It was agreed on by Democrats and Republicans," said Adkins.
But Democrats say they'll also press progressive issues such as an increase in the minimum wage. Their proposal would gradually raise the wage to $15.00 an hour by 2021.
"It's something that the folks in Kentucky want by a wide margin," said Rep. Sannie Overly (D-Paris.)
But Democrats know they no longer have the votes to pass their agenda or block the GOP's
"Charter schools are coming to Kentucky. I can tell you that right now," said Bevin in his address.
On issues such as charter schools, the best Democrats can hope for is to sway a few Republicans to their side.
"I think we can. Because, I think that regardless of where you come from in Kentucky, there's going to be a lot of opposition," said Adkins.
Democrats displayed their feisty attitude when asked about the governor's push for tax reform.
"Given the information that WDRB reported yesterday, that the governor had not paid his property taxes, I'm calling on the governor to release his income taxes, to let us know if he's paid his income taxes," said Rep. Rick Rand (D-Bedford.)
There still has been no comment from the governor's office on either the property tax or income tax questions.
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