House Speaker 'intrigued' by idea of one chamber

It certainly would stop the bickering between Kentucky's Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-led House if the state had a single legislative chamber.

On the eve of the 2010 General Assembly, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday during an interview that he is "intrigued" with the idea of a unicameral legislature.

Nebraska is the only state in America with just one chamber. Most city lawmaking bodies are unicameral in the sense that city councils are not divided into two chambers.

About half of the world's sovereign states are unicameral, including the most populous — the People's Republic of China — and the least populous — Vatican City.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said unicameralism is touted for saving money and working better in representation because it breaks the state down into equal districts with smaller constituencies — possibly 138 districts in Kentucky.

"This idea that there needs to be some overriding force to keep things in check, maybe as a country we have outgrown that," said Stumbo.

He said his staff has researched the issue and that such a move would require a change in the state Constitution approved by the legislature and Kentucky voters.

"I don't know if the people of Kentucky would be interested in something like that or not, but I think it's worth some debate at least," Stumbo said. "I'm intrigued by it. I don't know if I'm for it, but it's interesting."