It's always interesting to see what the top priorities in each Kentucky legislative chamber will be. Those priorities are typically given Bill 1, Bill 2, etc., in their respective chamber.
In 2019, the State Senate's top bill was the School Safety and Resiliency Act, which quickly passed both chambers.
In 2018, Senate Bill 1 was a pension reform bill, and in 2017, SB1 was education reform that would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers.
As one can see, many of these bills were crafted from pressing needs.
Yet this year, we question if Senate Bill 1 -- banning so-called sanctuary cities -- and Senate Bill 2 -- requiring photo ID to vote -- are the most pressing issues in Kentucky.
The state is once again facing a budget shortfall, potentially $1 billion over the two-year budget that new Governor Andy Beshear will present later this month. The state also continues to have one of the worst pension systems in the nation -- although it was fully funded in recent years, which has helped -- that has caused quasi-government agencies, regional universities and others to take hits to their perspective budgets as their required contributions have risen sharply.
State Senate President Robert Stivers responded to criticism of the bills recently.
"I saw some statements that these were political statements," he said. "It has nothing to do with political statements. These are things we truly believe are policy issues that need to be dealt with."
However, Kentucky has no sanctuary cities at this time.
Senate Bill 2 has received support from new Secretary of State Michael Adams, who campaigned on the promise of requiring a photo ID to vote. However, University of Kentucky law professor Josh Douglas said, while Adams campaigned on the law, and to the victor go the spoils, there is no need for the law since there is "zero evidence" of in-person voter fraud in Kentucky.
Douglas, who was part of Adams' transition team, said Adams has been open minded to the concerns.
This week, Stivers said the bills have some bipartisan support, but overwhelming support from most Kentuckians.
"If you want to look at polling data, you'll see the overwhelming majority of Kentuckians believe in both Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2," he said.
We don't doubt there is support for these bills. We also don't doubt they'll pass and become law. We just question if these should be the Senate's top priorities.
From medical marijuana and expanded sports betting to the pension system and finding more revenue, we're sure there are bigger needs and issues than banning sanctuary cities and requiring photo ID to vote.