Rowell: Legislators don’t deserve OT for work

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By Larry Rowell

On a recent visit to Casey County, Kentucky Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, accused Gov. Steve Beshear of not having an agenda for the current legislative session.
But about the only thing that I can see legislators have done is actively engage in the same old partisan, gridlock politics originating from a Democratically-controlled House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate.
In 27 days of this session, which is scheduled to adjourn March 22, only a handful of bills have been passed, most notably among them a bill revising the penal code for non-violent drug offenders.
But for all their political posturing and maneuvering, is this what we send legislators to Frankfort to do, fuss and fight and act like kindergartners, accomplishing almost nothing?
And now, it looks like Beshear might have to call a special session later this spring to resolve the huge hole that the Medicaid program has created in the state budget.
A special session that only costs us, the taxpayers, $350,000 a week for state legislators to continue to practice partisan politics.
Why pay legislators for overtime work that should have been conducted in regular session? I don’t think they should be paid for a special session.
Beshear opposes Williams’ proposal of wanting to fill the Medicaid budget crater by cutting education costs in Kentucky.
I’m grateful that House Democrats, House Republicans and Senate Democrats all stand with Beshear on the issue of cutting school funding.
Williams countered that Beshear’s plan to save Medicaid by contracting out certain services isn’t realistic and won’t produce the savings the governor promised.
By the way, do I also need mention that Williams is likely to face Beshear in this fall’s gubernatorial election?
Beshear and Williams need to stop using the current session as a platform for their campaigns and get back to a state government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
They’re being paid from our tax dollars to make decisions for the good of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
However, I find it difficult to swallow when I hear a politician assure me that he or she is representing the best interests of all Kentuckians.

We need to send a clear message to the governor and our state legislators that partisan gridlock will no longer be tolerated because nothing is being accomplished.

Enough is enough — get to work, please!