By law, the only piece of legislation that the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly had to pass was a two-year state budget.
All else, as Will Rogers put it, is applesauce.
And with a session that began with a bang and ended with a whimper, it's what happened in between that House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers should be "proud" of.
Specifically, that they passed a compromised version of Gov. Steve Beshear's $20.3 billion state budget. House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, however, took to the editorial page of The Courier-Journal to vent about what he dubbed a "lackluster" session.
But the truth probably lies somewhere between the extremes of "proud" and "lackluster."
Many political observers noted a reluctance among lawmakers to tackle controversial measures—chief among them tax reform—because of the impending November elections that will prove as a test for House Democrats to retain their slim eight-seat majority.
Here's a look at the winners, losers and downright lost causes of the 2014 General Assembly.
The coal industry—A slate of coal-friendly bills easily cleared the legislature, including one that allows coal-fired power plants in the state to regulate their own carbon emission standards at lower-than-federal-levels. Lawmakers also approved a bill that provides a new round of tax incentives for coal and coal-related industries to subsidize their purchase of new equipment.
A Kentucky Representative says if a special legislative session is called for later this year, ethics reform should be on the agenda.
During the session, Rep. Joni Jenkins filed an amendment to an unrelated bill that would reconfigure the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, which has come under fire after it found former lawmaker John Arnold not guilty of sexual harassment charges. But the Senate didn’t take up that bill.
Jenkins, a Louisville Democrat, is disappointed, but she plans to take up the issue as a bill next year, or, if Gov. Steve Beshear calls for a special session, she’ll advocate to have it included on the agenda.
“You know, you hate to spend all that money. I would hope that perhaps if he called a special session on some other issues that they’re talking about, perhaps he would think about including this,” said Jenkins.