FRANKFORT — The state Senate had difficulty rounding up enough members to conduct business on Friday, the same day the University of Kentucky basketball team played a tournament game in New Orleans.
About 9 a.m., Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, started to lead the chamber in the absence of Senate President David Williams.
Williams, R-Burkesville, left the state Thursday to attend Friday's Southeastern Conference Tournament game in New Orleans between UK and Louisiana State University.
When Stine asked the clerk to call the roll, 19 of the Senate's 38 members were in the chamber. Senate rules say at least 20 members have to be present to conduct business.
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Some Senate leaders and staff immediately began trying to find another member.
Their work was successful. At 9:42 a.m., Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, came into the chamber to applause from his colleagues.
He later explained that he was tardy because he had to pay respects for a friend who had died in Casey County.
Veteran members of the Senate could not recall a delay in the chamber's work because of a lack of members. Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, acknowledged it was unusual.
He said some members were absent because they knew the Senate would not be voting on any bills Friday.
After the Senate reached a quorum, the first order of business was to excuse the absent members, who still will get paid. While in session, lawmakers get paid every day, including weekends and holidays. They get $188.22 in salary plus $135.30 for expenses daily.
The Senate adjourned Friday at 9:48 a.m.