Kentucky General Assembly: Wikis


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Kentucky General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
President of the Senate David L. Williams, (R)
since 2000
Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, (D)
since January 7, 2009
Members 138
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
KY State Capitol.jpg
Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort

The Kentucky General Assembly, also called the Kentucky Legislature, is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kentucky.

The General Assembly meets annually in the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky, convening on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. In even-numbered years, sessions may not last more than 60 legislative days, and cannot extend beyond April 15. In odd-numbered years, sessions may not last more than 30 legislative days, and cannot extend beyond March 30. Special sessions may be called by the Governor of Kentucky at any time for any duration.



The first meeting of the General Assembly occurred in 1792, shortly after Kentucky was granted statehood. Legislators convened in Lexington, the state's temporary capital. Among the first orders of business was choosing a permanent state capital. In the end, the small town of Frankfort, with their offer to provide a temporary structure to house the legislature and a cache of materials for constructing a permanent edifice, was chosen, and the state's capital has remained there ever since.[1]

Operation Boptrot lead to the conviction of more than a dozen legislators between 1992 and 1995. The investigation also led to reform legislation being passed in 1993.[2]


The Civil War

Officially, Kentucky remained neutral during the Civil War. However, the majority of the General Assembly had strong Union sympathies. A group of Confederate sympathizers met in Russellville to establish a Confederate government for the state. The group decided to establish the Confederate state capital in Bowling Green, but never successfully displaced the elected General Assembly in Frankfort.

Assassination of Governor Goebel

The General Assembly played a decisive role in the disputed gubernatorial election of 1900. Initial vote tallies had Republican William S. Taylor leading Democrat William Goebel by a scant 2,383 votes.[3] The General Assembly, however, wielded the final authority in election disputes. With a majority in both houses, the Democrats attempted to invalidate enough votes to give the election to Goebel. During the contentious days that followed, an unidentified assassin shot Goebel as he approached the state capitol.[4]

As Goebel hovered on the brink of death, chaos ensued in Frankfort, and further violence threatened. Taylor, serving as governor pending a final decision on the election, called out the militia and ordered the General Assembly into a special session, not in Frankfort, but in London, Kentucky, a Republican area of the state.[3] The Republican minority naturally heeded the call and headed to London. Democrats predictably resisted the call, many retiring to Louisville instead. Both factions claimed authority, but the Republicans were too few in number to muster a quorum.[4]

Goebel died four days after receiving the fatal shot, and the election was eventually contested to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled the General Assembly's actions legal and made Goebel's lieutenant governor, J. C. W. Beckham, governor of the state.[5]


The General Assembly is bicameral, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives.[6] The House and Senate chambers are on opposite ends of the third floor of the capitol building, and legislators have offices in the nearby Capitol Annex building.

Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution requires that the General Assembly divide the state into 38 Senate and 100 House districts. Districts are required to be as nearly equal in population as possible. Districts can be formed by joining more than one county, but the counties forming a district must be contiguous. Districts must be reviewed every 10 years and be re-divided if necessary.


Current composition of the Kentucky Senate[7]
Affiliation Members
  Republican Party 20
  Democratic Party 17
  Independent 1
 Total 38

The Senate is the upper house of the General Assembly.

Terms and qualifications

According to Section 32 of the Kentucky Constitution, a state senator must:

  • be at least 30 years old;
  • be a citizen of Kentucky;
  • have resided in the state at least 6 years and the district at least 1 year prior to election.

Per section 30 of the Kentucky Constitution, senators are elected to four year staggered terms, with half the Senate elected every two years.


Prior to a 1992 constitutional amendment, the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky presided over the Senate; the 1992 amendment created a new office of President of the Senate to be held by one of the 38 senators.

  • President (elected by full body): David L. Williams (R-16)
  • President Pro-Tempore (elected by full body): Katie Kratz Stine (R-24)

Additionally, each party elects a floor leader, whip, and caucus chair.

Current party leadership of the Kentucky Senate[8]
Republican Party Democratic Party
Floor Leader Dan Kelly (R-14) Ed Worley (D-34)
Whip Caroll Gibson (R-5) Jerry Rhoads (D-6)
Caucus chair Dan Seum (R-38) Johnny Ray Turner (D-29)

House of Representatives

Current composition of the Kentucky House of Representatives[9]
Affiliation Members
  Democratic Party 65
  Republican Party 35
 Total 100

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the General Assembly. Section 47 of the Kentucky Constitution stipulates that all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives.

Terms and qualifications

According to Section 32 of the Kentucky Constitution, a state representative must:

  • be at least 24 years old;
  • be a citizen of Kentucky
  • have resided in the state at least 2 years and the district at least 1 year prior to election.

Per section 30 of the Kentucky Constitution, representatives are elected every two years in the November following a regular session of the General Assembly.


  • Speaker (elected by full body): Greg Stumbo (D-95)
  • Speaker Pro Tempore (elected by full body): Larry Clark (D-46)

Additionally, each party elects a floor leader, whip, and caucus chair.

Current party leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives[8]
Republican Party Democratic Party
Leader Jeffrey Hoover (R-83) Rocky Adkins (D-99)
Whip David Floyd (R-50) John Will Stacy (D-71)
Caucus chair Bob DeWeese (R-48) Robert Damron (D-39)

Standing committees

Committee Senate House of Representatives
Committee on Committees David L. Williams Greg Stumbo
Rules David L. Williams Greg Stumbo
Agriculture and National Resources Tom Jensen Tom McKee
Appropiations and Revenue Charlie Borders Rick Rand
Budget Review Subcommittee on Education Brett Guthrie Tommy Thompson k-12
Arnold Simpson Post Sec.
Budget and Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance, & Public Protection Jack Westwood Royce Adams
Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources Tom Buford Jimmie Lee
Budget and Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary Robert Stivers Jesse Crenshaw
Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation Bob Leeper Sanie Overly
Banking and Insurance Tom Buford Jeff Greer
Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor Alice Kerr Ruth Ann Palumbo
Education Ken Winters Carl Rollins
Health and Welfare Julie Denton Tom Burch
Judiciary Robert Stivers John Tilley
Labor and Industry Rick Nelson
Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations Gary Tapp Dennis Keene
Local Government -- Steve Riggs
State and Local Government Damon Thayer
Natural Resources and Environment -- James Gooch
State Government -- Mike Cherry
Seniors, Military Affairs, and Public Safety -- Tanya Pullin
Transportation Brett Guthrie Hubert Collins
Tourism Development and Energy -- Eddie Ballard

Legislative Research Commission

The Kentucky General Assembly is served by a 16-member nonpartisan agency called the Legislative Research Commission (LRC). Created in 1948, the LRC provides the General Assembly with staff and research support including committee staffing, bill drafting, oversight of the state budget and educational reform, production of educational materials, maintenance of a reference library and Internet site, and the preparation and printing of research reports, informational bulletins and a legislative newspaper. It is led by the elected leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties in both the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky Senate, while the agency is run on a day-to-day basis by an executive director.[10]


  1. ^ Klotter, James. "The General Assembly: Its History, Its Homes, Its Functions". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Retrieved 2007-01-09.  
  2. ^ Lowell Hayes Harrison, James C. Klotter (1997). A New History of Kentucky. p. 422.  
  3. ^ a b McQueen, Keven (2001). "William Goebel: Assassinated Governor". Offbeat Kentuckians: Legends to Lunatics. Ill. by Kyle McQueen. Kuttawa, Kentucky: McClanahan Publishing House. ISBN 0913383805.  
  4. ^ a b Woodson, Urey (1939). The First New Dealer. Louisville, Kentucky: The Standard Press.  
  5. ^ Klotter, James C. (1977). William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813102405.  
  6. ^ "The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Informational Bulletin No. 59" (PDF). Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. October 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-09.  
  7. ^ "Senate Members". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-01-09.  
  8. ^ a b "2007 Regular Session Leadership and Standing Committees". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-01-10.  
  9. ^ "House Members". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2007-01-09.  
  10. ^ "About the Legislative Research Commission". Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Retrieved 2007-01-09.  

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