from Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh
In Frankfort, a new biennial state budget has cleared its first hurdle in a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
The House budget committee voted 24-2 for the $17-billion budget, which includes language allowing Gov. Beshear to furlough state employees if necessary. That provision concerns Rep. Derrick Graham, whose Frankfort district includes hundreds of state workers.
“I would hope that we don’t have to move in that direction,” says Graham, “but this is one step that is designed to prevent layoffs from occurring and I understand that.”
Graham voted yes to get the bill out of committee.
One of the two opponents was Republican Rep. Charlie Siler, who lost his primary race last Tuesday.
“I answered thousands of people,” says Siler. “The question being, we sent you there to get a budget, you didn’t get it done, so you gotta go.”
The other opponent was Democratic Rep. Fred Neslar of Mayfield.
The budget now moves to the House floor, with the session still on schedule to end on Friday.