Well, despite all his detractors, (including me), Governor Steve Beshear seems to finally have developed a backbone when it comes to Senate President David Williams. On Wednesday, Williams gaveled the Senate to order, which forced Behsear to call a special session in order to deal with the shortfall in Kentucky’s Medicaid budget. The reason is that Wednesday made it 30 days for the session, which is the limit for a short year. The House had opted to wait until next week for the final day in order to negotiate a Medicaid agreement. Williams decided that plan would give the House, and by extension Beshear, too much control over the issue and gaveled in. Hence the session call from the Governor.
Williams called the move ridiculous and not neccesary, but you may recall Williams himself proposed doing the same thing. The difference? He wanted to wait until August. That’s AFTER the primary elections, when he and the Governor are expected to be crowned as their respective parties nominees, and will no doubt be locked into a dirty, nasty campaign. Yes that’s right Williams was going to make the budget hole an issue in the Governor’s race. Who knew?
To Beshear’s credit, he doesn’t seem to be playing politics this time. He’s opted to call the General Assembly back into session next week to deal with this, and he’s added increasing the droput age to the call. That’s another part of his prime legislative agenda that didn’t make it through the regular session. What Williams may have succeeded in doing is giving Beshear the chance to look like a leader. Something he’s had a lot of trouble with during his time in office. Allowing Beshear to point out that the budget has a major gap and it’s the Senate’s fault is not smart, and so far the Gov is hammering on it for all he’s worth. He’s making particular hay out of the cost, which after veto days are included could approach a million dollars.
That said, it’s entirely possible the Senate comes back next week then immediately adjourns, forcing Beshear’s hand again. It’s been done before, and we should not be shocked if it happens again. In fact don’t be shocked by ANYTHING that happens during the next two weeks in Frankfort. As for the Governor’s race? Strap in it’s gonna get bumpy.