The Kentucky House of Representatives voted down, in an apparent act of defiance to the Governor, legislation to allow Kentucky distilleries the ability to give away samples. Rep. Harry Moberly of Madison County gave a speech that condemned Gov. Beshear for what he called a lack of leadership. "Where are you", proclaimed Moberly in referring to Governor Beshear's leadership.
Moberly chastised Governor Beshear for not communicating with House Leadership and its Members. Moberly criticized the Governor for putting the sampling legislation on the extraordinary session agenda while leaving off charter school legislation. By not passing legislation that would establish some form of charter schools in Kentucky it cost the Commonwealth the opportunity to receive 175 million dollars in federal education dollars. Kentucky needed to add points to its "race to the top" application to qualify for the money.
I think most legislators thought the sampling bill would pass but after the vote it was obvious that Moberley's speech had convinced and provided enough legislators an outlet to send the Governor a message. Moberly went on to say this would be the worst budget he ever voted for.
Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville spoke about his displeasure with the budget bill but was later called to the carpet by Rick Rand the House Appropriations and Revenue Chairman. Rand pointed out that if Rep. Wayne was so concerned about the bill he probably should have attended Tuesday's A & R committee meeting. In regard to Rep. Wayne missing the meeting Rand said, "He could have done his posturing there".
In other notes- Rep. Sannie Overly did a wonderful job presenting the transportation and road bill. Former Speaker Rep. Jody Richards rose to speak about former Sen. Walter Baker who passed away this week.
The air in the House Chambers was notably thick with frustration. The present political climate combined with the lack of a credible working relationship with Sen. Williams has left many in the House feeling angry and powerless.
Kentucky now struggles with a state divided into many political and geographical parts. Democrats are bitterly divided between Rural and Urban areas. Republicans have controlled the federal delegation for 16 years but now have a libertarian as their nominee for the U.S. Senate. The Kentucky House is controlled by the Democrats, the Senate is controlled by the Republicans and the Governor now seems to be on the outs with both chambers. We are in the midst of a U.S. Senate race but the governor's race for next year has already begun. Rumors are flying about and I have heard that Rocky Adkins the House Majority Leader is now considering running for Governor. Mitch McConnell has lost the power and control he once wielded in the Kentucky Republican Party.
I think the word that best describes Kentucky's political climate is "Anarchy". As I have said for the past 3 years success is going to be finding some folks who can be a unifying force. The Democrats need it, the Republicans need it and Kentucky needs it.