In Frankfort, Opinions Differ On Session Agenda

Kentucky lawmakers are preparing for the 2011 General Assembly, which convenes Tuesday, but there are widely varying opinions on what should be addressed during the session.

Senate President David Williams, who’s running for governor, is proposing an aggressive session agenda, including immigration, pension and tax code reform. And Williams predicts the Senate will act on the measures in the first four days of the session, when the focus usually is on election of new officers.

“These bills will be introduced the first day. They’ll be available by Wednesday. And we feel that most of them will be over in the possession of the House by Friday,” he said.

But House budget chairman Rick Rand says, not so fast. He says those are complicated issues to be tackling in a short, 30-day session.

“You know, I think here in the House we like to be a little more deliberative in how we address those issues,” Rand said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Beshear, who’s seeking re-election, is offering a modest session agenda. He wants to tweak the Medicaid budget and raise the state’s drop-out age from 16 to 18.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.