A group opposing Constitutional Amendment 1 on the ballot is attempting to tie the measure to a pay grab by the part-time legislature.
Kentuckians for Checks and Balances, which is closely tied to Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, is running a “multi-faceted” campaign across multiple mediums telling Kentuckians to vote no on the proposed amendment.
Eric Hyers, the treasurer for Kentuckians for Checks and Balances, ran Gov. Beshear’s 2019 election race against then-Gov. Matt Bevin. Now Hyers is seeking to defeat the proposal which if adopted would allow the Kentucky legislature to call themselves back into a special session without the call of the governor.
Currently, the General Assembly meets for 30 days in odd-numbered years and 60 days in even-numbered years and must end by certain dates in the spring. If the General Assembly needs to meet for a longer period or later in the year, only the Governor can convene a special session and the Governor alone decides for what purposes.
If ratified by voters, the amendment would allow the General Assembly to determine when it may meet in the legislative session, and adjust the session calendar if three-fifths of each chamber agree to it. It would also allow the House Speaker and Senate President, both Republicans, instead of the Governor alone—to call a special session for up to 12 days for any reason to address issues that require a legislative solution.
A 30-second ad ran over the weekend to “digital” viewers of the University of Kentucky and Tennessee football game calling on Kentuckians to strike down the amendment.
Republicans have done little in the way of a coordinated campaign to explain the proposal to Kentuckians, which Hyers says could be indicative of its defeat.
“They clearly had a coordinated effort to get it on the ballot so we know it’s something [Republicans] want to pass,” Hyers said. “Their lack of a funded ‘yes’ campaign is probably indicative of their expectations of its ultimate demise, but we’re not taking anything for granted this is a terrible amendment, it’s a partisan power grab, and we will do what we need to defeat it.”
Kentuckians for Checks and Balances has raised $323,000 to defeat the amendment, according to a late October filing with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.