By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says taxpayers in the Commonwealth have been taken advantage of for years, and is calling out Kentucky Senate President, David Williams.
Beshear condemned Williams for preventing the Senate’s approval of the transportation budget and of House Bill 4, the prescription drug abuse bill.
Because the transportation cabinet has no authorized budget for the next two fiscal years, Beshear has called a special session to convene on Monday, April 16, at noon.
The governor said the Kentucky General Assembly had two items it needed to pass in order to meet the requirements of the current legislative session: a transportation budget and a road plan. The Kentucky House passed both bills , but the Senate did not pass the transportation bill.
Beshear said there were two road plan bills, including new projects that had only been added to the proposed legislation the day before. The bills were 398 pages long, Beshear said, which does not give him enough time to examine the bills and find out how the projects are funded.
“In a demonstration of political gamesmanship at its worst, Sen. Williams adamantly declared that the Senate would not pass the highway budget until I signed the Road Plan first – without even reading it,” Beshear said.
“We had hopes that he had learned a lesson from the general election last November and he would take a different attitude,” Beshear said Friday. “However, my happiness did not last long because the old David Williams surfaced once again, and he has caused the Senate to refuse to pass the transportation budget bill. Without the transportation budget bill, we can’t fund any of the projects in the transportation plan that had been passed.”
Beshear also said Williams’ stance is preventing the state from moving forward in its battle with prescription drug abuse.
“He has caused the failure of House Bill 4, the bill that would have allowed Kentucky to take an aggressive stance against illegal prescription drug abuse,” Beshear said. “By his failure and by his actions in not allowing that bill to pass the Senate, he is responsible for the continuing agony of hundreds of thousands of families around this state who have members who are suffering from various types of drug abuse.
“The whole state knows that prescription drug abuse is causing untold misery among our families,” Beshear said. “It is robbing our economy of productive workers. It is filling our jails, hospitals and treatment centers. And it is draining our state budget of resources that could be used to fund classrooms, put police on our streets and create jobs. In a nutshell, prescription drug abuse is wasting away the future of Kentucky.”
Beshear said House Bill 4 had strong bipartisan support, and was set to be passed, “But Sen. Williams willfully ignored the visible misery of our communities, and allowed this essential bill to die,” Beshear said.
“Why? Because of his road projects.
“It’s time that people of this state know loudly and clearly what the problem is here,” Beshear said. “If you go back twelve years, it covers three governors. Two Democrats and a Republican. Every one of us have had the same problems with Sen. Williams. Special session after special session after special session. The one common denominator is Sen. Williams.”