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July 3, 2007

Time for a special session, Fletcher says

Ignoring the staggering taxpayer cost of $60,000 per day, Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Monday called a special session of the General Assembly to address the “urgent need” to pass an energy bill, among a few other “important” things, he said in a statement. That bill, which would provide incentives for developing alternative energy in the state and focuses heavily on the oxymoronic “clean coal” concept, is one of several left on the table from the session that recently ended.Fletcher, who is campaigning for re-election amid the lingering effects of last year’s indictment for political patronage and new charges of alleged bid-rigging in state Transportation Cabinet contracts, also wants the legislature to address a possible ban on domestic partner benefits at state universities. The University of Kentucky recently amended language in its domestic partner benefits program that expanded it, much to the chagrin of Fletcher and many state Republicans who prefer to discriminate based on sexuality rather than other, less accepted forms of bigotry. With such a mountain to climb against Democratic opponent Steve Beshear, though, it’s likely the governor and his advisers are fixin’ to dredge up the base with the homophobic hysteria.Many Democrats are accusing Fletcher of abuse of power for calling the session, which could last up to two months, to advance his agenda in an election year. If the session runs that long, taxpayers will pay about $2.4 million. Seems such an egregious instance of waste would be sublime fodder for Beshear and the Democrats, and maybe not so much for Fletch. That is, unless he’s able to convince “the base” that voting for him will end, once and for all, homosexuality.The special session starts Thursday afternoon. Presumably with a bang.  Contact the writer at sgeorge@leoweekly.com