Lawmakers returned to Frankfort this week to convene the 2013 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
TurnerlogoAs at the beginning of any odd-year, 30-day “short” session, organizational matters were handled first. Leadership was selected, committee memberships and chairs named. New and re-elected legislators were sworn in and work began. By week’s end, more than 200 bills and resolutions had been filed.
We will spend the rest of January back in our home districts, studying issues, talking with neighbors, friends and constituents and preparing to return to Frankfort when the legislature reconvenes for the balance of the short session on Feb. 5. That is when we will get down to the nitty-gritty of vetting those bills in committees and hearings.
While we determine the State’s biennial budget during longer even-year, 60-day sessions, many bills we consider will address major financial concerns facing the State.
As the session continues, we will be tackling a wide range of issues, from veterans and active-duty military, education, public pension, tax reform, Medicaid and Medicare. Much work remains in our fight against the State’s multi-faceted drug-abuse epidemic. Legislative redistricting is still on our to-do list, after last year’s plan was struck down by the courts.
It is a tall order for any legislative session — even more so with only 30 working days. But we are committed to rolling up our sleeves and working together to tackle as many of these issues as we can in the limited time we have. It is a goal we all share.
It is a goal best achieved when citizens across the State are active and involved. Your input is not only valued and appreciated, it is genuinely needed. I encourage you to follow the issues and always welcome your comments and questions. There are many ways you can stay in touch with the General Assembly.
The Kentucky Legislature Home Page, www.lrc.ky.gov, provides information on each of the Commonwealth’s senators and representatives, including our phone numbers, addressees, and committee assignments. The site also provides a bill tracking service, and committee meeting schedules.
By going to our eNews page, www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/listserv.htm, you can subscribe to frequent e-mail updates on what is happening at the Capitol. In addition, the General Assembly has its own blog, Capitol Notes, www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/capitol_notes.htm, that will allow you to receive legislative updates at your leisure.
You can also follow legislative action in the following ways:
· A taped message containing information on legislative committee meetings is updated daily at 1-800-633-9650.
· To check the status of a bill, you may call the toll-free Bill Status Line at 1-866-840-2835.
· To leave a message for any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. People with hearing difficulties may leave messages for lawmakers by calling the TTY Message Line at 1-800-896-0305.
· You may write any legislator by sending a letter with the lawmaker’s name to: Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.
· E-mail me at email@example.com.
Senator Johnny Ray Turner represents Breathitt, Floyd, Knott and Letcher counties.