By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT —The Kentucky House has called off meeting for the rest of this week and not reconvene until 4 p.m. Monday.
Meanwhile, the state Senate will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday this week and be back at it next week.
If either chamber meets, that constitutes a legislative day. The House has 100 members and the Senate 38, with one vacancy.
So far, legislators have met 13 days this year. The 2015 General Assembly session is to run for 30 working days, with completion scheduled for March 24. The Kentucky Constitution requires 30-day sessions in odd-numbered years to run no longer than March 30.
Lawmakers have not actually met since last Friday. They were off Monday for Presidents’ Day and have been off Tuesday and Wednesday due to the inclement weather.
House Democratic leaders said in a release Wednesday that the combination of record cold temperatures and this week’s heavy snowfall is the reason for their decision for the chamber not to meet until Monday.
“Several members have expressed concern about leaving their families in these conditions, and major highways like I-65 have seen closures because of accidents,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said.
“Therefore, we think it is more prudent to be safe than sorry.”
Stumbo said it would be up to the individual committee chairmen to decide whether to meet prior to the legislative session on Monday, but “the other leaders and I do not recommend any meetings before we gavel in.”
He added that, at this time, they do not expect this decision to alter the session calendar. “We have more than enough time to complete the work before us,” he said.
Senate Republican leaders met Wednesday afternoon in Frankfort and decided to reconvene this week.
“The majority of our caucus members were here on Wednesday prepared to do the people’s work and the rest are on their way,” Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said in an email. “We understand the hardships associated with current weather conditions, but there are plenty of businesses staying open throughout the Commonwealth and the Senate feels inclined to stay open for business as well.”
By convening on Thursday the Senate will not lengthen the 2015 legislative session, but the House will have two less days to consider legislation, said the Senate GOP release.