Best I can find out, there’s about 30,000 Kentuckians who are 85 years of age or older. So figure there might be a lot fewer than 10,000 who are 96 years or older.
And that’s pertinent because only those who are 96 or older can say they were alive the last time the Kentucky House of Representatives was ruled by the Republican Party.
That all changes on Tuesday, January 3, when the 2017 short session of the Kentucky General Assembly convenes in Frankfort. The GOPers went into the November election needing to turn just a few seats to claim a majority. When the voting count was over, the Republicans didn’t just gain a majority, it ended up with a super majority, the magic number being 60 for that. I think it’s now 64-36 in favor of the GOP.
But beyond the Grand Ol’ Party controlling the House for the first time since 1920, 2017 marks a major milestone for the legislature as a whole. No Kentuckian has ever lived in a day when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.
That’s worth repeating: No Kentuckian has ever lived in a day when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.
According to David Cross, an Albany attorney who is also a political historian, and just happens to be Al Cross’ brother, Republicans have never controlled both chambers at the same time. The 1896 General Assembly is apparently the closest to the Republicans having control of both chambers at the same time.
So history will be made Tuesday when the gavel bangs on the 2017 session. And, of course, the GOP has the Governor’s Office as well.
The 2017 30-day session convenes for four days (through Friday, January 6), then adjourns until Tuesday, February 7. The current calendar calls for the 30-day session to end March 30.
It will be interesting to watch how new Speaker Jeff Hoover operates the House. In the last several years, the House might be scheduled to go into session at 2 p.m. but it was more common for the call-to-order to take place 30 minutes or more late. The Democrats didn’t appear to be in a rush to get the day started.
And once a few formalities were out of the way, more time would be spent introducing guests in the gallery overlooking the chamber, or spent introducing resolutions honoring long time friends. Speaker Hoover has indicated an interest to get right to work when the daily session begins.
It will be interesting to see how this first-ever control of both chambers by Republicans pans out. Stay tuned. It’s a “short session” but could be a barn burner.