Politics & Government

Williams gives office TV to Senate, buys his own

FRANKFORT — A 60-inch plasma screen TV in Senate President David Williams' Capitol Annex office that caused controversy has a new home and has been replaced by a similar set Williams bought and paid for himself.

In 2008, The Courier-Journal reported that the Legislative Research Commission spent $639,000 to renovate and expand the offices of 11 Republican senators in 2006, including a $17,000 entertainment center in Williams' office featuring a 60-inch plasma screen TV.

The TV and renovations sparked criticism in newspaper editorials about legislative spending.

Williams, R-Burkesville, said Monday that the TV is now one of two in the Senate chamber on which members can see the status of bills beings considered and their votes on them.

The Senate used to have a projector that displayed the information on a screen.

"It burned out," said Williams, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor. "We checked on the price to replace it and the antiquated technology with it and found it should be replaced."

Williams said the TV in his office was moved to the Senate "since it was always meant to be a substitute for one of those screens" in committee rooms.

Another screen like it was purchased so there could be two screens in the Senate — one on each side of the chamber near the front — to provide information to senators during sessions, he said.

The decision not to replace the old projector, move his TV to the Senate and buy another for the Senate "saved thousands of dollars," Williams added.

Asked whether he now has a TV in his office, Williams said, "Yes, very much like one of these."

He quickly added: "I bought it at Office Depot. I paid for it."