Growing the Commonwealth for the Common Good.

Office of Senator David Givens

July 14, 2014

Senate Majority Caucus

FRANKFORT, Ky. – In 1968, the Kentucky General Assembly established an interim committee system to cover the time period between regular legislative sessions. The scope and functions of this system have broadened over the years and in 1979 a constitutional amendment was adopted in an effort to strengthen the system by assuring that legislators serve on these panels to get an introduction to issues before a session convenes.

During the interim – defined as the months from June to December – committee meetings are used to discuss and weigh potential legislation that may be introduced during a regular session. Interim committees are made up of the standing committees of both the Senate and House and referred to as an Interim Joint Committee (IJC).

I am vice-chair of both the IJC on Appropriations and Revenue and Health and Welfare. In addition, I am a member of both the IJC on Education and Agriculture. I am also a member of the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee, which is a statutory committee.

While our most visible work is done during regular sessions, a great deal of work leading up to those sessions is done during the interim. During each session of the General Assembly, legislators often direct the LRC to study specific issues needing immediate attention - issues that often require more scrutiny than the brief regular sessions can provide and that are so important that they warrant a special study panel.

Even though we passed a biennial state budget in April, we will still spend a large amount of time during the interim discussing budget issues. Just last week the Office of the State Budget Director for the Governor announced that the state ended the current biennium – FY 13-14 – with a deficit of nearly $91 million. This means that we go into FY 14-15 with a negative balance, putting us financially behind as we begin a new budget cycle.

How does this happen? It happens when the rates of growth are lower than what is projected for the year. And, as was mentioned when the shortfall was announced, this is proof that Kentucky’s tax code needs to be more elastic. Tax reform and the state budget were the key topics for discussion last Monday night when I appeared with other guests on KY Tonight on KET. We all raised concerns as to how Kentucky was going to pay for new costs. Because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky, we will soon be required to pay a portion of the Medicaid expansion implemented by the Governor through Executive Order.

Where will that money come from? To say federal funds are available is not only not necessarily true, but it also ignores something else I mentioned on KET – federal funds cannot be looked at as “free money”. The federal government gets that money from someone, and that someone is probably you or other Kentuckians and hard-working Americans.

Over the coming months, I expect us to have numerous conversations on this topic. Ideas are plentiful. What is critical is that we work to find a long-term solution and not just a one-time fix. The future of our Commonwealth depends on it.

During the interim, I am in my Frankfort office five or six days each month. Please call me with any questions, comments, or concerns at 502-564-8100 or toll-free at 800-372-7181. If you miss watching the proceedings live on KET, meetings are archived at www.ket.org. You can find a schedule of weekly committee meetings by visiting http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislative_calendar/index.aspx.

I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to hearing from you about issues of concern to you and your community.

Sincerely,

David Givens
State Senator
District 9


Note: Senator David Givens (R-Greensburg) represents the 9th District including Allen, Barren, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe and Simpson counties. He is the vice-chair of both the Appropriations and Revenue Committee and the Health and Welfare Committee. Senator Givens chairs the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee as well as serving on the Education Committee and the Agriculture Committee.For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Givens, please log onto www.lrc.state.ky.us/pubinfo/ephoto.htm.

 

David Givens
Kentucky's
9th District
Senator


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April 30, 2014
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2009 Session


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