Kentucky State Senate
|Kentucky State Senate|
|Partisan control:||Republican Party|
|2015 session start:||January 6, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Robert Stivers (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Damon Thayer (R)|
|Minority Leader:||Ray Jones (D)|
Democratic Party (11)
Republican Party (27)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Legislative, Sec 29, Kentucky Constitution|
|Salary:||$186.73/day + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (19 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (19 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Kentucky Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
As of May 2015, Kentucky is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
Section 36 of The Legislative Department of the Kentucky Constitution establishes when the Kentucky General Assembly, which the Senate is a part of, is required to meet. Regular Sessions convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. Sessions in odd numbered years can last no more than 30 legislative days and must be concluded by March 30. Sessions in even numbered years can last no more than 60 legislative days and must be concluded by April 15. The governor may call additional special sessions.
Bills may be filed at anytime the House and Senate Clerks' offices are open.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature was in session from January 6 through March 23.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session included heroin abuse, telecom deregulation and the solvency of the state teacher pension system.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 7 to April 15.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the biennial state budget, casino gambling, tax reform based on the recommendations of 2012 commission and raising the minimum wage.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through March 26.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through April 9.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 4 through March 9, and reconvened for a special session on March 14. The session was called to an early end by Senate President David Williams on March 9, 12 days sooner than the originally scheduled end date of March 22. On March 9, Governor Steve Beshear called the legislature to re-convene on March 14 for a special session focusing on balancing the state's Medicaid budget. The House adjourned the special session on March 25, and the Senate met on April 6.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 5 to April 15.
Role in state budget
- See also: Kentucky state budget and finances
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the biennium.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in October.
- Agency hearings are held in November and December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the legislature on the 15th legislative day (this deadline is moved up to the 10th legislative day for governors serving a second term).
- The state legislature adopts a budget in April. The biennium begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is required to adopt a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Kentucky was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Kentucky received a grade of B and a numerical score of 83, indicating that Kentucky was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Kentucky was given a grade of F in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on May 20, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was January 28, 2014.
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2012
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate were held in Kentucky on November 6, 2012. A total of 19 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was January 31, 2012 and the primary date was May 22, 2012.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Kentucky State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 3||Whitney Westerfield||0.8%||36,617||Joey Pendleton|
|District 21||Albert Robinson||7.6%||38,073||Amie Hacker|
|District 37||Perry Clark||17.2%||42,342||Chris Thieneman|
|District 7||Julian Carroll||18%||56,617||Frank Haynes|
|District 1||Stan Humphries||18.6%||47,783||Carroll Hubbard|
|District 23||Chris McDaniel||20%||40,003||James Noll|
|District 27||Walter Blevins||27%||39,327||Tony Downey|
|District 23||Robert Stivers||27.9%||33,147||Ralph Hoskins|
|District 17||Damon Thayer||32.7%||53,269||David Holcomb|
|District 33||Gerald Neal||87.4%||36,277||Norris Shelton|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2010
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate were held in Kentucky on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was January 26, 2010 and the primary Election Day was on May 18, 2010.
There are 38 seats in the Kentucky State Senate, and 19 of them were up for re-election on November 2.
In 2010, candidates running for state senate raised a total of $5,379,997 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:
|2010 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$416,959|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$217,250|
|Kentucky Senate Republican Caucus Campaign Cmte||$175,310|
|Rhoads, Jerry P||$93,000|
|Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus Campaign Cmte||$63,000|
|Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus||$48,400|
|Spainhour, John E||$37,060|
|Parrett, Dennis L||$30,000|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 20, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $6,125,118. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$606,672|
|Kentucky Senate Republican Caucus||$470,915|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$434,185|
|Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus||$64,266|
|Kentucky Optometric Association||$29,800|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 16, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $3,171,644. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$259,879|
|Senate Democratic Caucus||$128,100|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$91,000|
|Archer, Neil F||$79,837|
|Rhoads, Jerry P||$44,320|
|Kentucky Optometric Association||$31,500|
|Kentucky Hospital Association||$29,000|
|Kentucky Equine Education Alliance||$24,000|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 18, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,143,180. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$456,272|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$85,507|
|Smrt, Christopher M||$27,929|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 28, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,547,216. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$542,453|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$433,140|
|Turner, Johnnie L||$43,108|
|Palmer II, R J||$38,856|
|Miller, Edwin E||$30,511|
|Kentucky Optometric Association||$29,800|
|Belcher, Larry L||$29,536|
- See also: Kentucky State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Kentucky State Senate consisted of a primary election on May 2, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $5,415,603. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Kentucky State Senate|
|Kentucky Democratic Party||$813,455|
|Kentucky Republican Party||$619,720|
|Turner, Johnny Ray||$73,400|
|Freeman, Glenn R||$69,000|
|Jones II, Ray S||$33,119|
|Kentucky Association Of Realtors||$27,000|
|Kentucky Optometric Association||$23,500|
To be eligible to serve in the Kentucky State Senate, a candidate must be:
- At least 30 years of age at the time of the election
- A citizen of Kentucky
- Resided in the state 6 years preceding the election
- Resided in the district for the last year
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. The Governor must call for an election if the General Assembly is not in session. The Senate President must call for an election if lawmakers are in session. All nominating deadlines for special elections are 28 days before the election.
- See also: Redistricting in Kentucky
Redistricting is handled by the General Assembly. By tradition rather than law, each chamber devises its own map, which is submitted as a bill and subject to a vote like other legislation. The Governor wields veto power.
Kentucky received local census data on March 17, 2011. The state's population grew 7.4 percent to 4,339,367, with the central region's population gaining at the expense of the remainder.
At the time of redistricting, the Assembly was split, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans controlling the Senate. Without a costly special session called, the Assembly began the redistricting process for legislative boundaries in January 2011. On January 20, Governor Steve Beshear (D) signed the state's legislative redistricting maps into law. Each chamber drew its own maps; the Governor criticized Senate Republicans for drawing partisan maps, but did not chasten the House's plan. House Republicans filed suit on the 26th on the grounds that the Democrats' map divided counties needlessly. The circuit court overturned the new legislative districts on February 7, citing excessive population disparities and division of counties. Expediting the Republicans' appeal, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments on February 24, 2012, upholding the lower court's decision the same day.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Kentucky legislature are paid $188.22/day. Additionally, legislators receive $135.30/day per diem tied to 110% of the federal rate.
Legislative pensions in Kentucky are equal to 2.75% to 5% of the salary multiplied by the number of years served, while regular state pensions equal 1.1% to 2.5% of salary multiplied by years served. Starting in 2005, retiring legislators holding full-time jobs with the state could base their legislative pension on this higher salary, rather than their actual legislative salary.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2015|
The President and President Pro Tempore are elected by the full Senate. The majority and minority parties select a floor leader, whip and caucus leader.
Note: The following list reflects leadership in the previous session and will be updated after elections for the positions are held on January 6.
When sworn in
Kentucky legislators assume office the first day of January after their election.
The Kentucky Senate has 15 standing committees:
- Appropriations and Revenue
- Banking and Insurance
- Committee on Committees
- Economic Development, Tourism and Labor
- Health and Welfare
- Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations
- Natural Resources and Energy
- State and Local Government
- Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Kentucky State Senate for the first nine years while the Republicans were the majority for the last 13 years.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state Senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Kentucky state government and the state's State Quality of Life Ranking (SQLI) ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Kentucky has been in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking regardless of its Democratic trifecta or years under divided government. The state’s highest ranking came in 1998 and 1999 (43rd) under a Democratic trifecta, while the state’s lowest ranking came in between the years 2003 and 2011 (48th) under divided government. The state has never had a Republican trifecta. The state's ranking fluctuated little over the duration of the years studied.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 45.00
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 47.31
- Kentucky House of Representatives
- Governor of Kentucky
- Kentucky State Legislature
- Kentucky Constitution
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Kentucky Legislature, "Kentucky Constitution - Section 36," November 7, 2000
- Kentucky Legislature, homepage," accessed June13, 2014
- Kentucky Legislature, "Rules of Procedure for the 2014 Regular Session of the Senate," January 7, 2014 and Kentucky Legislature, "Rules of Procedure for the 2014 Regular Session of the House or (sic) Representatives," January 7, 2014
- The Enquirer, "Ky. heroin bills raise hope, face skepticism," January 5, 2015
- wfpl.org, "What to Expect from the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly," January 7, 2014
- The Associated Press, "Lawmakers start Ky. session aiming for cooperation," January 8, 2013
- WHAS11.com, "Legislative session set to end on Wednesday," March 8, 2011
- Lexington Herald-Leader, "Ky. legislature adjourns, but Beshear orders them back on Monday," March 10, 2011
- WHAS11.com, "House lawmakers end special legislative session," March 24, 2011
- CNHI, "Special session finally over," April 6, 2011
- Kentucky Legislature, "2010 Regular Session Calendar," accessed June 13, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2010 - Candidates," accessed June 13, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2008 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2006 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2004 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2002 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Kentucky 2000 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Kentucky Secretary of State, "Candidate Qualification Information," accessed December 16, 2013
- Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, "Kentucky Election Code," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Statute 118.730)
- Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, "Kentucky Election Code," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Statute 118.730)
- Kentucky State Data Center, accessed July 11, 2012
- Kentucky.com, "Supreme Court to hear redistricting oral arguments Friday," February 24, 2012
- The Ledger Independent, "State battle could complicate county precinct mapping," accessed February 23, 2012
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "How state lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," April 16, 2012
- Kentucky Legislature, "Senate Leadership - 2014," accessed June 13, 2014
State of Kentucky
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | Auditor of Public Accounts | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor Cabinet | Chairman of Public Services |