The caucus is expected to meet sometime after noon, when the House gavels in.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said earlier this week that he will allow the caucus to decide whether to suspend House rules that say the final two days of the session will only be used to override any potential gubernatorial veto. Gov. Steve Beshear urged the House to consider suspending its rules on Tuesday, saying that an incentive to lure a NASCAR Sprint Cup race to Kentucky needs to be passed soon.
That incentive for the Kentucky Speedway is part of Beshear’s economic development bill, House Bill 229, which was amended by the Senate to include a host of other economic development programs, some of which were not previously passed by the House.
Many House members were still on the fence late Wednesday as to whether the House should toss its rules and consider more bills.
Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, said Wednesday that he plans to listen to arguments from both sides before making a decision.
“I am going to wait for the discussion tomorrow before I form an opinion,” Moberly said. HB 229 contains Beshear’s economic incentive plan, which the governor needs to move forward with economic development projects, Moberly said.
Still, others say the House created its rules for a reason – they were tired of 11th hour changes to legislation in the last days of the session that were often passed late in the night.
Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, said that this legislative session has gone more smoothly than previous sessions because of the House’s new rules. “I appreciate so much how much more streamlined this session has been,” Westrom said.
If the House votes to suspend rules and consider legislation it should “only consider those bills that have a time limitation” and are critical, Westrom said.
Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, echoed Westrom’s comments.
“I think the rules were put into place for a reason,” Floyd said. “I think there would have to be an exceedingly good reason to suspend them.”
Former House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said if the House votes to suspend the rules, it should only be for a few pieces of legislation.
“I don’t think we should open the floodgates,” Richards said. “I don’t think we should consider anything that hasn’t passed both houses and should be global in nature or something that affects the whole state.”
– Beth Musgrave