Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Battle For Kentucky Constitution In Frankfort Today

Power-crazed politicians can sometimes be funny to watch when the curtain is pulled back and their naked desires are exposed.

But Budget Chairman Harry Moberly's illegal groping is no laughing matter.

Moberly's House Bill 184, which is set to come up for a vote this afternoon in A&R, turns the Constitution of Kentucky on its head. We already endure budgets these days crafted behind closed doors and rammed down the throats of legislators with no prior scrutiny. That's plenty bad enough. But Moberly's favorite trick is to sneak permanent laws into budget bills, a practice the Constitution prohibits. Nearly two dozen such provisions were placed in the last spending plan.

HB 184 makes it legal to continue stuffing the budget full of measures that could not pass on their own merits, like earmarks in Congress. Emboldening Moberly by legalizing his tactics can not be tolerated any longer. There is not much chance Moberly's own committee will stand up to him this afternoon, but the people of Kentucky should band together to shine the light on such corrupt practices.

If we don't stop this kind of abuse now, we deserve what we will get.

Afternoon update: The House Budget Committee passed HB 184 with Moberly saying it has the support of the Governor. (Attempts to reach Governor Fletcher's office for comment were unsuccessful.) Moberly was defiant in support of his overreaching bill, saying "The budget bill is no different than any other bill." The Constitution of Kentucky disagrees with him. The budget bill is for appropriations. He also said he thought the leaders of General Assembly could put all of their legislation in one bill if they wanted to. Since the budget bill is now negotiated in private by a handful of legislators, this runs completely against our form of government. Chairman Moberly has clearly gotten too big for his britches.