FRANKFORT — Don’t put too much faith in all the professions of bi-partisanship coming out of the state capitol these days.
With the passage of Tuesday’s filing deadline for this year’s legislative elections, there will be more frequent displays by members of both parties trying to gain a partisan advantage on issues going into the election season.
On Thursday. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, took to the floor to say, “It bothered me,” to see Gov. Steve Beshear as an invited guest of President Barack Obama during Tuesday evening’s State of the Union speech.
Stivers has made it a point publicly to work with Beshear in a more cooperative manner since becoming Senate President and has received credit for doing so from Beshear, Democrats, his own party and many in the media.
Stivers said the Obama administration is “strangling my region of the state” with what Stivers and many coal industry supporters contend is the administration’s anti-coal environmental policies, even reminding the other Senators and press that Beshear once announced in a State of the Commonwealth he wanted federal regulators “to get off our backs.”
But Stivers wasn’t finished. He then launched into a critique of the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, quoting numbers and anecdotes he said showed what a “disaster” the law is for the country and for the state.
When he finished, Minority Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, responded by saying there is nothing the Kentucky Senate can do to repeal the law, but it could take action to make it work better in Kentucky. Palmer was followed by Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, who commended Stivers’ defense of coal but then pointed out that Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee “came out against mountaintop removal.”