John David Dyche in his Courier-Journal column has called on Gov. Beshear to endorse several  Republican bills that have been introduced in this session of the General Assembly.  Of the bills discussed by Dyche, we find great merit.  While these bills were all introduced by Republicans, they are not partisan bills.  They appear to benefit the Public more than any Party.

 “Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Republican Senate President David Williams of Burkesville, would move the filing deadline to the last Tuesday in April, and the primary election to late August. It would also abolish the gubernatorial runoff primary that is triggered if no candidate gets more than 40 percent of the vote.“

LawReader comment:  The current practice of wasting time during the first two weeks of the legislature while all the members wait for the filing date to expire is a waste of taxpayer money.  Either put the filing date before the legislature begins, move the starting date of the legislature, or as SB 3 proposes, move the filing date to Aug.  This would have the benefit of reducing campaign costs for candidates.  The current Primary being in May and the General election in August, means that all candidates have to run two campaigns.  This bill would also repeal the Gubernatorial run-off election law.  SB 3 sounds like a good idea to us.

“Republican Sen. Damon Thayer’s SB 8 would improve campaign finance reporting. Endorsed by Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the bill adds reports due 60 days before statewide primary elections and 60 days before general elections for all candidates. It also requires candidates raising over $25,000 in one election cycle to electronically file their reports with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. “

LawReader comment:   This open records type bill is a good idea.  There is no reason to hide the names of political contributors until after the election.   This Sun Shine law should be adopted.

HB105 - Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2008:   “One is Bowling Green Rep. Jim DeCesare’s Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2008. It would require the Finance and Administration Cabinet to create a searchable Web site of state treasury expenditures of $5,000 or more. Several other states are already doing this. Beshear says he will make state government more accountable. This act would make it easier for citizens, journalists and public officials to help him make it happen.?

LawReader commentHB105 This act would allow competing vendors see how much the state is paying for contracts and services.  This information should be public, and we see the potential for competitors to be motivated to lower their prices when bidding for state business.  If there is waste in state government, we can think of no stronger tool to discover such waste.  Allowing the public to closely inspect the actual expenditures of state government will quickly reveal “waste fraud and abuse? that everyone talks about,,,and then ignores. 

SB 7 Introduced by Senator David Williams would give bonding authority to new “public infrastructure authorities” for big public facility projects. 

LawReader comment:  This bill would allow alternatives for financing state projects such as the Louisville and Covington Ohio River Bridge projects. This bill would, “create a new section of KRS 175B to allow a public infrastructure authority the same ability as is granted the Department of Highways to enter into a partnership with a private entity to construct or operate a project under this chapter; create a new section of KRS 175B to allow an authority to place tolls on a project and set out procedures for collection and distribution of tolls.?  While tolls are not popular, and no one seems interested in raising the gas tax in state or federal governments, this may be the only alternative available to finance these billion dollar projects.  This bill will at least provide options for future consideration for the funding of these projects. 

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