Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, presents the House's version of the Kentucky state spending plan for the next two fiscal years in the House of Representatives. Rand is chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.
(Frankfort, KY - March 16, 2016) - Dramatic arguments, rulings from the chair, angry statements over funding or not funding coal counties represented by Republican lawmakers, went on for hours before Kentucky House members voted on and passed the two year executive branch budget.
Fifty three Democrats voted "Aye" to pass House Bill 303. Forty seven Republicans did not vote. The bill passed after multiple attempts by GOP lawmakers to get amendments passed. Only one succeeded. The others either failed on a vote or were ruled out of order.
According to CN2 reporter Kevin Whatley, "Democrats in the lower chamber particularly focused on their efforts to restore K-12 and postsecondary education cuts originally proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin with 4.5 percent spending reductions slated for the current fiscal year and 9 percent over the biennium. SEEK funding for schools had been spared from cuts in Bevin's proposal."
The Democratic version would maintain per-pupil funding for education (known as SEEK) as proposed by Governor Matt Bevin in the state's next $21 billion two-year state budget while restoring cuts proposed by the Governor to several K-12 services including family resource and youth service centers (FRYSCs) and preschool, Gifted and Talented and more.
At left, Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington (left), reviews a bill with Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Governor Bevin's proposed budget cuts for colleges and universities were also struck by the committee, as was a provision that would base future funding on a college or university's performance.
The bill now goes to the Senate where there is little chance it will pass in its present form. Hammering out a compromise budget will be the job of a committee of both House and Senate leaders. If/when a compromise is worked out, it will be sent to the Governor.
The House passed the legislative and judicial budgets with less drama.
The General Assembly adjourns on April 15, 2016. If there is no budget by that date, the Governor will have to call legislators back into a special session.