Kentucky legislators have 2 days to avoid 'doomsday scenario' at the Capitol
House and Senate leaders are deciding whether to override Gov. Bevin's vetoes of the tax and budget bills.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- When Kentucky lawmakers return to the Capitol on Friday, they will have two days to avoid what one legislative leader called a “doomsday scenario.”
By law, the regular session must end by midnight Saturday. The question is whether lawmakers and Gov. Matt Bevin will be able to agree on a budget by then.
Bevin ceremonially signed a veterans’ health care bill Thursday, but much of the attention at the Capitol is focused on two bills, in particular, he did not sign. Bevin vetoed both the revenue and the budget bills, and when they return, lawmakers must decide whether to override.
“I personally think that we should override the governor’s vetoes,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said
Thayer believes the best-case scenario is for lawmakers to override the vetoes and then tweak the bills to address Bevin's concerns.
“We're still working through the process of deciding if that’s what we’re going to do and communicating with our members to see if we have the votes to do the overrides,” Thayer said.
House and Senate leaders, along with Bevin, have been meeting behind closed doors for two days trying to come up with a deal.
“I hope we come up with a better version of a budget and a better version of a tax bill that will fund that budget," Bevin said. "And I am highly confident that we can do both."
It takes a simple majority, 51 in the House and 20 in the Senate, to override. If everyone who voted for the budget bills sticks with that vote, then they will pass again. If not, Thayer said, “It’s a sort of a doomsday scenario here.”
It could mean a $65,000-a-day special session or even a partial government shutdown starting July 1.
“I don't want to be back here for a special session," Thayer said. "I don’t want the governor to operate the government.without a budget."
There is much to get done, and the clock starts at 10 a.m. Friday when the House and Senate gavel in.
“We'll do what we need to do," Bevin said. "I mean, again, let’s see what we can get done. We’ve got two days."
There are other big matters to deal with as well, most notably Bevin's veto of a bill allowing local governments to phase in their increasing pension costs.
- Gov. Bevin tells 840 WHAS that he signed pension reform bill
- Pension benefits for future Kentucky teachers set for big changes under bill passed Thursday
- Ky. Attorney General announces intentions to file lawsuit over hastily passed pension reform bill
- Kentucky Senate passes hastily filed pension reform bill; school districts across the state cancel class hours later
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