Thursday, January 28, 2010

A General Assembly Shakeup?

According to Secretary of State Trey Grayson, more than 230 Kentuckians have filed to run for the 119 contested seats in the state legislature. This could be a record. The Kentucky House, dominated by 64 Democrats, will face 42 GOP challengers. The Kentucky Senate, held by Republicans with a 20-17 majority, has 19 seats up for re-election in which 29 Republicans and 20 Democrats have filed.

So what does this mean? Renewed political interest for starters. People are certainly frustrated with Washington. But they're also frustrated with Frankfort. The special session push to expand gambling last June certainly drew many candidates into the ring. It would be an understatement to say that bribing some legislators with the promise of new schools and holding other legislators hostage with the threat of nixing new schools didn't go over well with the people. Then we have a looming $1.5 billion deficit over the next two years and a governor who wants to fill the shortfall by inviting the casino sharks into the commonwealth to "fix the problem."

House leadership has been particularly hostile to pro-life and pro-family legislation over the past several years. For the last two years they've killed ultrasound legislation that would benefit women in crisis pregnancies. In fact, there have been no truly significant pro-life laws passed since fetal homicide legislation passed in 2004. Public decency, which would restrict strip clubs, has been killed in the House every year since 2000. Add all this up and you get a frustrated electorate; a record number of candidates who challenge incumbents; and quite possibly some significant turnover in the legislature come November. Stay tuned.

No comments: