Lawmakers’ Special Session Pay Debated

For all intents and purposes, Kentucky’s 11-day special session on Medicaid is over.  But arguments remain over whether lawmakers should be paid for the next ten days continue to rage.

The House adjourned last night and went home, but the Senate plans to return on April 6th to consider gubernatorial vetoes. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers must be paid until both chambers officially adjourn, so he’s encouraging the Senate to gavel out.

“It takes both chambers to sine die from the session, so session will technically continue until the Senate does what we did last night,” Stumbo said.

But Senate President David Williams maintains language in the Senate bill accepted by the House requires lawmakers to forgo their pay until April 6th.

“We have provisions in this bill that legislators are not to be paid during veto days, and these are veto days,” he said.

Until the legal issue is resolved, lawmakers’ pay is being held in escrow.  Special sessions cost taxpayers around $64,000 per day.

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.