Williams criticized for plan to push legislation quickly

January 03, 2011 | | Comments 12
Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville

By Jack Brammer –

FRANKFORT — Senate President David Williams is ready to get the 2011 law-making session that starts Tuesday off to a quick start by pushing several complex bills through the Senate this week.

But some lawmakers and a rival in his race for governor say he is moving too fast on issues such as immigration and tax reform. They claim politics is the reason.

Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, who is challenging Williams for the Republican nomination for governor, accused Williams Monday of acting secretly.

“Williams came out last month with a lot of fanfare about the legislation but has not shown them yet to the public,” Moffett said in an interview. “The devil is in the details, and the public has not yet seen the fine print of these bills.”

The first four days of odd-numbered-year legislative sessions generally are reserved for lawmakers to elect their leaders and make committee appointments — a duty that will be accomplished this week.

But Williams, R-Burkesville, said Monday that several bills will be filed in the Senate on the first day of this year’s session and be voted on by the Republican-controlled chamber before week’s end.

They include legislation similar to a controversial Arizona law that would allow police to enforce federal immigration law, an overhaul of the state’s tax code, changes in the state’s pension system, a revamping of campaign laws and a wide-ranging constitutional amendment that deals with issues ranging from abortion to the Ten Commandments.

“All this language in the bills is language everybody is familiar with,” Williams said Monday.

He noted that the Senate Republican caucus agreed on the legislative package last month and that the proposals will be co-sponsored by many of his colleagues.

But several senators said Monday they don’t see a need to act on bills this week.

“I’m still looking for them. I would love to be able to read them,” said Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington.
Williams said the proposed legislation has been online since last Wednesday. His staff notified the media that day of a Web site that contained draft versions of the legislation.

“I want to see the specific bills. It’s fine to give them to the media but I would hope legislators would get them, too,” said Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson. “All this is too hasty. It’s an insult to the process and our new members.”

(The Senate, which Republicans control 22 to 15, with one independent, will have five new members. The House, with 58 Democrats and 42 Republicans, will have 12 new members.)

A better way, Webb said, would be for legislative committees to hold hearings on the GOP bills this month and vote on them when lawmakers return to Frankfort. The 2011 General Assembly is scheduled to be in session four days this week and from Feb. 1 to March 22.

Williams said Senate passage of the bills is only the beginning of the legislative process for them. They still would have to go to the House and, if approved there, back to the Senate for final approval of any changes. The governor would then have the opportunity to veto the legislation.

Webb said the Senate’s quick action this week on the bills is due to “political expediency.”

“Senate Republicans want to be able to say the House had plenty of time to consider their bill, and, don’t forget, there is a governor’s race,” Webb said.

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, said Monday he is ready to vote for the Senate GOP leadership legislation but that he has not yet seen the actual bills.

“We had a conversation about them last month but that’s all I know about them,” he said.

Buford also said it “probably would be unfair” to move leadership’s bills quickly and not the proposal of rank-and-file lawmakers.

Moffett said in a statement that his campaign contacted Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Dan Seum of Louisville last Friday about the GOP bills and that Seum said he had not seen them.

David Adams, Moffett’s campaign manager, said the campaign’s volunteer coordinator, Dave Goldberg, talked to Seum last week about some of the bills.

Goldberg, a Louisville businessman, said he did not call Seum under the auspices of the Moffett campaign but as “an interested citizen who wanted to have input into some of the bills.”

“Dan did tell me he had not yet seen the bills and I later told the Moffett campaign that,” Goldberg said.

Seum said he told Goldberg that the bills would be formally introduced Tuesday.

“That’s the first day they could come out,” Seum said. “I’m glad the Senate is doing this. It’s a short session and we’re going to make good use of the first four days. It’s better than just standing around.”

Filed Under: David WilliamsKY General AssemblyState Government

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  1. TomThumb says:


    You’ll have to do better than this for any smear to work – weak sauce.

  2. Joey says:

    I am tired of seeing that stupid picture of Williams.

  3. John Bird says:

    I am so thankful David Williams leads the Senate. He does while others (like Stein and Webb and Nrammer) onlu talk.

  4. Buck Feshear says:

    Dear Phil Moffett:

    Please shut up. We don’t need you to be what Larry Forgy was to Larry Hopkins in 1991.

  5. Sean M says:

    Democrats are Evil!

  6. Ole George says:

    If one of those bills is to change the tax code, I am against it. An increased sales tax won’t be administered and more honestly than present tax code. It’s too easy to buy off those responsible for collecting taxes due.

  7. serah says:

    Does Moffett have any idea what is happening regarding the illegal immegration problem in Kentucky. He’ll have to show me.

  8. Sally says:

    Phil Moffett is my choice for governor. He is for state sovereignty and stopping the federal government at the border: keeping the feds out of our gun laws, agriculture, food, and healthcare. And anything else they want to mandate with their grubby hands.

    He’s for abolishing state income and business taxes and instituting a consumer sales tax. This will make KY right for businesses. We need the money, we need to be a business-friendly state.

    He tells the truth about the financial hole we are in and he has plans in place to shut down the spending.

    Immigration? That is a diversion. Kentucky has MUCH BIGGER problems than immigration!

  9. serah says:

    Illegal immigration (not immigration) has impacted our social services, medical expences, loss of tax revenue, schools, $ in money spent on interpretuers and literature printed, (housing, etc) , food stamps, housing ( when Citizens can’t get),impacted a loss of value on neighborhoods, burdon on our jails (50%) and court systems, I’ll stop before I run out of space. This is an impact not a diversion. ILLEGAL is the word you didn’t use.

  10. Buck Feshear says:

    I am opposed to increasing the sales tax, and am opposed to extending the sales tax to services. I’d like to see the state roll back the sales tax to 5 cents and make corresponding cuts in state government. As long as Moffett supports those anti-consumer initiatives, i cannot support him.

  11. Steven says:

    Hey Buck. What Phil is proposing is a big change. He will do away with income tax and go to a user based tax system. It really is a good thing.

    This is right from his site. I think you need to do some research.

    Tax Code Reform: Creating Jobs & Improving the Business Environment


    Dozens of companies are leaving California, New York, and New Jersey because the business environments are bad. None of them are considering Kentucky as their new home.

    Why? Kentucky’s business environment is not competitive.

    Kentucky has 240 different state taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. The Moffett/Harmon administration will replace all of them with a single-rate, consumer sales tax on all goods and services.

    * No more personal income taxes.
    * No more corporate/business income taxes.
    * No more imbedded taxes in products.
    * No more state property taxes.
    * You will no longer have to file a state tax return!

    Transforming our tax structure to a single-rate, consumer sales tax will make Kentucky the most competitive state in the region, if not the nation, for business growth and new jobs.

    It is a simple fact that profitable companies hire more employees. Kentucky needs to be the place where companies can be profitable! Kentucky needs to be the place to get a good job!

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