Politics & Government

Special sessions persist despite annual law-making sessions in Kentucky

FRANKFORT — When Kentucky voters approved a constitutional amendment in November 2000 to allow state lawmakers to meet every year instead of every two years, advocates predicted that it would spell the end of special legislative sessions.

It didn't.

Since annual sessions became part of the state Constitution 12 years ago, there have been 10 special sessions, including the one that began Monday at a cost of about $60,000 a day.

In the 1990s, when the legislature met every two years in regular session, Kentucky had 13 special sessions.

Only the governor can call a special session and set its agenda. Lawmakers determine when they end.

These are the special sessions held since the state approved annual legislative sessions and their agendas:

■ 2002, April 22 — May 1 (9 days): State budget

■ 2004, Oct. 5 — 19 (11 days): Health insurance for state employees and teachers.

■ 2006, June 22 — 28 (5 days): Taxation for small businesses and tax exemptions for coal-based emission power plants.

■ 2007, July 5 — 30 (4 days): Incentives for Energy Independence Act; appropriations for additional budget items; taxation of military pay; substance abuse recovery program; public employee insurance plans.

■ 2007, Aug. 20 — 24 (5 days): Tax incentives for use of alternative fuels and renewable energy resources.

■ 2008, June 23 — 27 (5 days): Pension reform

■ 2009, June 15 — 24 (8 days): Expanded gambling; state budget issues.

■ 2010, May 24 — 29 (6 days): State budget; state road plan, unemployment benefits; Kentucky convention and tourism issues

■ 2011, March 14 — April 6 (18 days): Adjust budgets for Medicaid and higher education; increase the school drop-out age.

■ 2012, April 16 - ?: Prescription drug abuse and Transportation Cabinet budget.

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