Citizens from across the state have been asking questions about what will happen with the budget and corresponding revenue plan on Friday and Saturday, the last two days of this year’s legislative session.
This Q&A seeks to answer the most common questions.
Q: What will happen on Friday and Saturday, the legislative session’s last two days?
A: There are many important items to consider; however, the main focus will be on the governor’s vetoes of the entire two-year state budget (House Bill 200) and corresponding revenue plan (House Bill 366). If a vote is taken and the vetoes are overridden – at least 51 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate are needed – both bills would then become law as written.
Q: What will happen id the budget and revenue bill vetoes are not overridden?
A: The legislative session will more than likely end without a budget.
Q: Is the governor able to write and implement his own budget?
A: No. Only the General Assembly has that authority.
Q: What will likely happen in the event the session ends without a budget?
A: The governor will likely call legislators back to the Capitol before July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year. Only he can call a special session and determine its subject matter, but legislators decide what, if anything, becomes law and the length of time needed to act. It takes a minimum of five days for a bill to become law – and that assumes legislators and the governor are in agreement.
Q: What if the governor does not call a special session?
A: In 2005, the Kentucky Supreme Court laid out strict requirements for state spending if there is no budget by July 1st. The Fletcher case, as that ruling is known, states clearly that the governor only has authority to spend public funds on any operations of government statutorily or constitutionally mandated, which includes K-12 education. If there is no budget, the governor CANNOT decide unilaterally how to spend public money. We want to be clear, despite what you hear, no governor has the power to craft a budget. Appropriating money is a legislative authority, and we’ll have to come back in a special session if there is no budget.