Several months have passed since the conclusion of the 2019 Regular Session, but my work as your senator has not slowed. Between answering your questions, concerns, letters or phone calls, I have met with constituents throughout our district in preparation for the Interim committee meetings and the 2020 Regular Session.
The Interim period is a time where we address a variety of things, many of which are issues left unaddressed at the end of the Regular Session. This is an opportunity to have a more in-depth discussion on policy matters. Interim joint committees (IJC) are standing committees that include members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and meet when the Regular Session is adjourned. According to the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), there are two types of Interim committees:
- Interim joint committees are formed from the standing committees of both chambers. For instance, the Education Committee of the Senate and the Education Committee of the House become the Interim Joint Committee on Education following the Regular Session.
- Special committees, are appointed by the LRC and function primarily during the Interim, usually to study a specific topic. Examples include the Mileage Based Transportation Funding Task Force and the Kentucky Career and Technical Education Task Force.
This year, leadership within the General Assembly decided to amend the interim meeting calendar in an effort to utilize our time in Frankfort more efficiently and ultimately save taxpayer dollars. This new setup is working as intended. The consideration of this new plan is in response to what many states have already implemented by moving all committee meetings into one week rather than have them throughout the month. The main reason for this type arrangement was to have all legislators in Frankfort the same week each month to create a “session like” atmosphere. Furthermore, we wanted to give constituents an opportunity to visit and participate in the legislative process.
With county fairs, horse shows, and other summer activities, the Interim is also a great opportunity for legislators to visit and be present within their districts and throughout the state. The General Assembly recently had a change of scenery and conducted committee business at the Kentucky State Fair. As one of the oldest state fairs in the country, the Kentucky State Fair offers a beautiful collaboration of counties and associations each representing a unique facet of Kentucky’s rich tradition and heritage. I am proud of Kentucky agriculture and the influence it has on the national market. Agriculture also offers many educational opportunities for our students. No matter where you live, I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful summer events within your district.
Lastly, I would like to note that all committees during the Interim are open, and both the public and the press are encouraged to attend. These committees are in place to widen the window of opportunity to forward policy recommendations to the General Assembly and to the LRC.
As we finish out these final weeks of summer, I wish all of our parents and students a happy and healthy school year. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort.
If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call the toll-free line at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at [email protected]. You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.legislature.ky.gov