Bill would require budget process to be open to public
Democratic State Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro has a radical idea: He thinks members of the Kentucky General Assembly should hold themselves to the same high standards of open government as members of the governing bodies of cities, counties and school districts are held by laws enacted by legislators.
Nelson has promised to push a proposal in the 2011 General Assembly that would bar legislators from retreating into closed-door meetings to draft the state budget. But, despite the wisdom and fairness of his proposal, don’t expect Nelson’s fellow legislators to approve it.
There is a long history in Frankfort of meeting behind close[d] doors to debate the budget and then waiting until the last possible minute to present the document to the entire General Assembly for a vote. Thus, most legislators are forced to vote on a budget they have not even had a chance to read.Nelson’s proposal plus another one that would require a 48-hour posting of the two-year budget before lawmakers vote on it would go a long way to change a budget process that is so broken that legislators have four times been unable to adopt a budget before the end of the 60-day session...