House Bill 228 shields porkers from scrutiny
In the waning hours of the Kentucky General Assembly, leaders in the Kentucky Senate have just approved a measure that would allow them to place an even tighter vice grip on legislation.
The Herald-Leader’s John Stamper sums it up (March 22 Herald-Leader story):
The proposal would clarify that lawmakers have the ability to set aside existing laws and create new laws within the executive branch budget bill, which appropriates billions of dollars once every two years. It was put into an unrelated House bill by a Senate committee last week.The size and secrecy of the last two Kentucky state budgets should serve as a reminder to all fiscal watchdogs that the General Assembly continues to actively seek opportunities to spend more of your money with less scrutiny. Lawmakers who vote for the current version of HB 228 do not represent fiscal conservatism. They do not represent the interests of all the Kentucky families on tight budgets who have to pay the bills for the state. House Bill 228 is little more than a cynical repackaging of House Bill 184.
Unlike most other bills, the final details of a budget bill are usually hammered out in closed-door meetings of leading lawmakers from the House and Senate. Most rank-and-file legislators have no opportunity to even read the mammoth document before casting a vote on the measure in its entirety.
UPDATE: The bill in its current form no longer contains the offensive elements. The bill is, though not perfect, far better than it was a few weeks ago.