Politics & Government

Budget adjustments might take detour, Richards says

FRANKFORT - Lawmakers may use other legislation to address budget issues such as money for a new runway at Blue Grass Airport instead of the budget bill a House committee approved last month, House Speaker Jody Richards said yesterday.

Richards, D-Bowling Green, said the measure amending the state's two-year budget that the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved last month--House Bill 327 -- "may very well just rest quietly" for the rest of this legislative session.

"We may accomplish what we want in other legislation," he added.

Richards would not say what might or might not survive from HB 327 but did say the House is "very much for" funding for the Lexington runway.

Asked why House Democratic leadership was not going to bring HB 327 to the full House for a vote, Richards said many amendments had been filed to the bill. As of yesterday, various House members had filed 14 proposals to change it.

Richards added that certain provisions of the bill did not meet the criteria of being an emergency and applicable to all Kentucky. He declined to offer specifics.

House budget chairman Harry Moberly Jr., D-Richmond, said House Bill 1 and not HB 327 probably will be "the vehicle for all budget adjustments."

HB 1 restores building projects Gov. Ernie Fletcher vetoed last year. The House already has approved it, and it is now in the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

Moberly said he expects a conference committee, made up of representatives from the House and Senate, will use HB 1 to try to iron out differences between the two chambers on budget issues.

"We tend to put things like Samaritan Hospital, the Lexington runway and those things in HB 1," Moberly said.