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As the Speaker’s gavel fell on Tuesday, Jan. 4, all 100 members of the Kentucky State House filed into the chamber, waiting to commence the 2011 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
This first organizational week was a whirlwind of activity that gave us all a sampling of what the remaining five weeks may hold. At the beginning of this four-day session, we received the official oath of office from Chief Justice John Minton of the Kentucky Supreme Court and selected legislative leadership. In the House Republican Caucus, electing Representative Jeff Hoover as our Floor Leader for a record-breaking sixth consecutive term made history.
We also prepared for the second portion of this legislative session that will reconvene on Feb. 1 by receiving our legislative committee assignments. These assignments, which we typically hold for at least a two-year term, allow us to have a hand in shaping legislation that affects many different sectors of our Commonwealth. I am honored to be serving as a vice-chair of the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee, as well as a member on the House Agriculture and Small Business, and Economic Development committees.
There have been more than 150 bills filed for consideration this session. Over the next two months, all 16 legislative committees will meet to debate the merits of these measures as they move through the lawmaking process, so now is the time to begin research. This research is a vital component to being an effective legislator because, while the bill may look simple and straightforward, it can contain unforeseen consequences or aid political agendas.
While some of the legislation has been seen in previous years, the outcomes may be altered as we welcomed 10 new members of the House Republican Caucus, shaking up the political landscape of the House floor. This ushering in of more conservative legislators will hopefully result in a legislature that is fiscally responsible and accountable to taxpayers.
To that end, we have filed a package of legislation that would put an end to the same tax-and-spend policies that have long ruled in Frankfort. Furthermore, by providing increased transparency to the process, state government can and should be held more accountable for its actions. You as taxpayers have a right to know how your tax dollars are being spent.
We must also deal with several other critical issues such as advancing our schools, providing protection for our citizens and bringing better paying jobs to our communities.
As I mentioned before, we will reconvene the 2011 Regular Session on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The session presents an exciting opportunity for you to visit the Capitol and to experience, firsthand, the legislature in action. Each year, numerous schools, civic organizations, families and individuals visit the Kentucky State Capitol Building. I hope to see many of our citizens during this year’s session because I think it’s important that you see your elected officials at work.
In the meantime, I can be reached at home or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. A taped message containing information on legislative committee meeting schedules is available by calling 1-800-633-9650, and information on the status of each bill is available by calling 1-866-840-2835. If you have Internet access, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may keep track of legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.
Kim King is the state representative for the 55th district.