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Day one of the special session

Lawmakers: Is the governor overstepping his power?
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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 19, 2019

Lawmakers got to work on day one of the special session Friday. The goal of the special session is to pass a bill to help some Kentucky groups who are currently facing huge pension costs, but the day quickly became about the governor and whether he is overstepping his power.

In his official call, the governor made it clear what he wants lawmakers to consider in this special session, and some quickly criticized him, saying that he is overstepping his power and telling lawmakers what to do. So the question Friday was, is the governor's bill the only one being considered, or are other proposals, the ones from the Democrats, still on the table?

When lawmakers gaveled in, they had the ability to move forward on several pension proposals, one of them is Governor Matt Bevin's bill, the other two are proposals from the Democrats. In Bevin's five-page, detailed proclamation for the special session, he instructs the General Assembly to take action on his bill.

Democratic leaders quickly called it an overstep of power.

"Any time a governor tries to interfere with another branch of government, it's really a cause of concern, not only on this floor but across Kentucky," said House Floor Minority Leader Rocky Adkins.

Republican lawmakers reminded the Democrats that former governor Steve Beshear once called a special session with a 182-page call that included the bill. As far as Governor Bevin's call goes, the house speaker said there's not much wiggle room, but he said the governor has the constitutional power to do that.

"It is a narrow call, but it is his prerogative to do so, and I think Section 80 of the constitution clearly gives him that ability," said House Speaker David Osborne.

For now, lawmakers moved all three pension bills forward into committee. They'll continue the special session Saturday.