Kentucky State Senate
|Kentucky State Senate|
|2015 session start:||January 8, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Robert Stivers, (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Damon Thayer, (R)|
|Minority Leader:||R.J. Palmer, (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 6, 2012 (19 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014 (19 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Kentucky Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Elections
- 3 Redistricting
- 4 Senators
- 5 Senate Committees
- 6 History
- 7 External links
- 8 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 Senate Clerks' offices are open. 
- 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 Senate 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 to re-convene on March 14 for a special legislative session, focused on balancing the state's Medicaid budget.  The House adjourned the special session on March 25, however, the Senate is set to return on April 6. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 5th to April 15th. 
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, 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 are 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|
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.
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, upholding the lower court's decision the same day.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2012, 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.
The $188.22/day that Kentucky legislators are paid as of 2011 is an increase over the $180.54 they were paid during legislative sessions in 2007. Per diem has increased from $108.90/day in 2007 to $135.30/day in 2011.
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.
When sworn in
Kentucky legislators assume office the first day of January after their election.
The Kentucky Senate has 15 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 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- The Legislative Department, Kentucky Constitution, Section 36 and Kentucky legislature home page
- Senate Rule 51 and House Rule 51
- Kentucky.com, "Lawmakers start Ky. session aiming for cooperation," January 8, 2013
- WHAS11.com, Legislative session set to end on Wednesday, 8 March 2011
- Courier-journal.com, Senate President David Williams says Governor Steve Beshear called senators 'fat guys', 10 March 2011
- "WHAS.com, House lawmakers end special legislative session, 24 March 2011
- 2010 session dates for Kentucky legislature
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money: "Kentucky Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Candidate Qualification Information
- Kentucky Legislative Research Commission "Kentucky Election Code"(Referenced Statute 118.730)
- Kentucky Legislative Research Commission "Kentucky Election Code"(Referenced Statute 118.730)
- Kentucky State Data Center, retrieved July 11, 2012.
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislator Compensation Data"
- Empire Center, "Legislative Salaries Per State as of 2007"
- USA Today, "How state lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't," April 16, 2012
- 2010 Kentucky State Senate Leadership
State of Kentucky
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