FRANKFORT – Amid a debate over House rules and questions whether Rep. Jeff Hoover will remain as Speaker of the House, the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly began its 60-day session on Tuesday.
As the Legislative Ethics Commission investigates the private settlement by four legislators of a sexual harassment complaint by a female legislative aide, House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, has stepped back from his leadership role.
Instead, Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect is presiding over the House.
In the Senate, Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, was sworn in as the President Pro Tem of the Senate.
Meanwhile, legislators agree that the commonwealth’s public pension funding crisis remains the top issue for the budget session.
“There is no question it will be the budget,” said Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro. “Of course, the two are intertwined, pensions and the fiscal challenges we have with the 2018/2019 budget. So, it’s all about the budget and all about pensions.”
“Coming up with a good two-year budget when we don’t have any money and haven’t done tax reform,” Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo told the Legislative Research Commission. “That’s critical. That’s our job.”
“I think what we’re going to be looking at is really three main things outside of pensions,” said Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, the House Majority Floor Leader. “The budget, making sure that we have a budget that is actually fiscally responsible to pass this session. We are also going to be looking at the adoption and foster care system with Chairman Meade’s workgroup that he worked on during the (interim) session.”
Shell added that he also hopes for a vote on his “essential skills bill.”