Legislators Talk Cooperation As 2020 Session Starts

Jan 7, 2020

Kentucky House Speaker Pro Tem Speaks To Fellow Members About Health Issues Of Majority Floor Leader John "Bam" Carney
Credit Stu Johnson

Two Kentucky lawmakers representing different political parties are optimistic about getting things done during the 2020 general assembly session.  Day one of the 60 day session began at noon Tuesday.

East Bernstadt Representative Robert Goforth, who ran unsuccessfully against former Governor Matt Bevin last spring, predicted, “a great session.”  Goforth believes New Democratic governor Andy Beshear will work well with the GOP dominated legislature.

“I think we’re going to have a very good working relationship.  I think the governor understands there’s a super majority in both chambers and he’s going to be very willing to work with the House and the Senate to get things done for the people of Kentucky,” said Goforth.

Meanwhile, newly chosen House Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins said a meeting with Republican leaders went well.  “We’ve agreed that we need to tone down the rhetoric and be more civil to one another and try to work together whenever possible….do you think that will happen?....I trust Speaker Osborne to keep his word on that,” explained Jenkins.

Both Goforth and Jenkins say the budget takes priority this session.  Goforth says it’s too early to say whether more tax reform, cutting expenses or cutting exemptions will be the approach to help fund government services.  Jenkins says Democratic caucus members are working on revenue bills dealing with expanded gambling, sports betting, and medical marijuana.

Members in both houses of the Kentucky legislature took time to recognize the significant health challenges facing one of their own.  House Majority Floor Leader John “Bam” Carney remains in a Louisville hospital, recovering from pancreatitis. 

House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade said Carney’s illness draws attention to the importance of seeing much outside a political realm.  “Bam’s illness is a reminder to us that we fortunate.  We’re fortunate enough to serve in this chamber and know that we are more than friends.  The outpouring of support is evidence that our political differences, they don’t define us and they don’t harden us,” Meade said. “I believe in my heart that before the end of this session, God will touch him and heal him in such a way that he will walk back onto this floor,”  Meade added.  

Meanwhile, at the other end of the capitol, Campbellsville Senator Max Wise said Carney was making slow progress. 

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