FRANKFORT — The Republican-led state Senate approved two of its high-priority bills and the Democratic-led House made controversial committee appointments as lawmakers wrapped up the first part of this year's lawmaking session Friday morning.
Friday was the last day of a four-day organizational session for legislators. They are to return Feb. 3 to work on legislation and adjourn March 24.
In the House, Democratic leaders appointed each of the five freshman Republicans to only one committee, a move House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, called "petty and punitive."
House members usually get two to four committee assignments. All six of the first-year Democratic House members were assigned to at least two committees.
In an email defending the move, Stumbo said House rules "guarantee the members get at least one standing committee assignment. That was adhered to."
Stumbo said the committee assignment report can still be amended when the House reconvenes in February. Hoover said he is "optimistic this can be rectified by the time we return to Frankfort on Feb. 3."
Republicans were unsuccessful last November in wresting control of the House from Democrats, who have led the chamber for nearly a century.
In the first four days of Kentucky's 2015 General Assembly, the Senate approved and sent to the House five bills. The House did not consider any bills.
The Senate on Friday approved and sent to the House bills dealing with abortion and administrative regulations used by the governor.
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, would require women to have face-to-face counseling in the same room with a doctor or nurse at least 24 hours before they get an abortion.
The Senate voted to approve the bill 30-5. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the measure will die in the House. He compared its fate to vultures flying around the Capitol.
The Senate also approved SB 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to give the legislature more authority over administrative regulations issued by the executive branch.
It would give lawmakers the power to set up a special committee or agency to halt such regulations when the legislature is not in session.
The Senate vote on the bill was 24-11. The House killed a similar measure last year.