Kentucky's Fletcher Wants Balky Lawmakers to 'Cool Off'

July 11, 2007 ( - Faced with a state House of Representatives balking at his call to consider a domestic partner bill during a special session, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has decided House lawmakers may benefit from some time out of the state's capital.

So Fletcher is ordering an adjournment in the legislation session until July 30, according to an Associated Press news report. The session began last week (See KY’s Fletcher Calls Special Legislative Session for Domestic Partner Benefits Ban ).

“What we’d like to do is to give a period to cool off – give a period for the House and the Senate and us to work together and see if we can reach an agreement,” Fletcher explained, according to the news service.

Democratic House lawmakers were decidedly unhappy with Fletcher’s move and immediately blasted it as unnecessary and too costly to be justified. They adjourned barely an hour into the session last Thursday without taking any action.

“We’re through with this session,” House Speaker Jody Richards said, according to the Associated Press. “There’s just too many inconsistencies. It’s an unconstitutional call in our judgment and we’re not coming back.”

Richards contended Fletcher called the special session to improve his chances of being re-elected in November. “There was no foundation laid for this session and it was bound to fail from the get-go,” Richards said.

For his part, Fletcher compared the House leaders to labor union employees out on strike. Gubernatorial election-year politics, not differences over policy, were to blame for the impasse, Fletcher said. “They simply have gone on strike and won’t do their job,” Fletcher charged, the news report said.

Meanwhile, state Senate lawmakers continued meeting and passed several bills, including one that would bar state universities from providing health insurance coverage to anyone other than employees and their families, prohibiting unmarried live-in partners from benefits plans.

The domestic partner initiative is aimed primarily at the University of Kentucky (See University of KY Puts Domestic Partner Benefits Plan in Place ) and the University of Louisville. Both universities have already opted to provide health insurance to domestic partners.