With the failure to come to an agreement on the two-year road budget last night, Gov. Steve Beshear has called for a special session.
And in typical form, the two most powerful men in Kentucky not named Calipari are out calling each other names. From the Herald Leader:
“His rank partisanship, his obstructionist attitude, have caused numerous special sessions and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars of unnecessary expenses in having to conduct those special sessions,” Beshear said.
Beshear said Kentuckians last November rejected Williams “and I whooped him by 21 points. I think everybody in this state got the message except for David Williams.”
Williams called Beshear “a small, petty and vindictive individual.”
They then proceeded to take their argument into the men’s room, each carrying a ruler.
Beshear followed up with a press conference this morning, upping the ante:
Once again, it’s the morning after a legislative session formally came to a close, and once again, critical business remains unfinished.
The reason is a familiar one to Kentuckians: Senate President David Williams.
Sen. Williams is so wrapped up in winning what he sees as a political game here in Frankfort that he is willing to turn his back on the needs of our people.
In essence, he forgets why he is here.
Yesterday our Senate president not only refused to pass routine bills to keep the state operational, but also torpedoed essential legislation designed to protect the health and safety of our citizens.
The General Assembly had only two items that it had to pass yesterday to meet the requirements of this session – a transportation budget and a road plan. The House passed both, but the Senate passed only the road plan.
In a demonstration of political gamesmanship at its worst, Sen. Williams adamantly declared that the Senate would not pass the highway budget until I signed the road plan first – without even reading it.
Numerous senators on both sides of the aisle told me last night they were ready to vote on the transportation budget. But they didn’t get a chance to.
Sen. Williams still seems to think this is some sort of personal competition.
He still thinks that it is acceptable to push the state’s business to the 11th hour, to hold bills according to his personal whim – and then, when reasonable people don’t acquiesce to his wishes – to throw a temper tantrum and go home, with business unfinished.
To Kentuckians, this is no game.
Why would a person sabotage this effort? I’ll tell you why. It’s simple. Personal greed.
When Sen. Williams received the funding plan, it already included $288 million in projects for his district. $288 million – over $130 million of which was to be funded in the near term.
But that wasn’t good enough for Sen. Williams.
He made some last-minute fine-print changes that moved an additional $155 million of those projects in his district ahead of those in other communities around the state.
He wanted to guarantee that his projects would be finished first – at the expense of others. And his worry, he said – the reason he held up the plan – was that he was worried that I would veto those changes.
He was worried about himself, not the state.
But Sen. Williams willfully ignored the visible misery of our communities, and allowed this essential bill (pill mills) to die. Why? Because of his road projects.
How many issues, how many legislative bills, how many families must be sacrificed to feed our Senate president’s political ego?
I thought that voters sent a clear message in November. Quit the games. Stop the power plays. Work together for the good of all Kentuckians.
Almost everyone got that message. Apparently, the one person who didn’t get that message was the Senate president.
Since Sen. Williams’ assumed the Senate presidency in 2000, the Kentucky legislature has been ordered into a special session four times because of failure to agree on budget issues.
Those sessions cost our Kentucky families and businesses nearly $2 million and put more pay into Sen. Williams’ pocket. Come Monday, we add to that figure.
Get a room, you two.