The 2011 regular session of the Kentucky State Legislature came to an abrupt end Wednesday, killing any hope of passing one of the several state sovereignty bills still pending.

Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) ended the session 12 days early, a political move related to the ongoing budget battle and deadlock over how to resolve Medicare shortfalls.

Gov. Steve Beshear immediately called for a special session to begin next week. But lawmakers can only take up legislation included in the governor’s call during special session, and it appears Beshear will limit the session to the passing the budget and raising the high school dropout age, one of his pet issues.

That leaves several state sovereignty bills dead in the water.

Three firearms freedom bills (SB33, HB38 and HB97) exempting guns and ammunition made in Kentucky from federal regulation never made it out of committee. A state sovereignty resolution (HJR6) also languished in committee.

Two bills did gain some traction during the aborted regular session, but died with the abrupt end of proceedings.

SB10, a bill proposing the addition of a 21st Century Bill of Rights to the state constitution passed the Senate 25-12. The legislation included a provision declaring “sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States”, and established that no law shall compel any Kentucky citizen to participate in a health care system or provide abortion services. The bill moved on to a House committee, but was never taken up by the full House.

SJR99, a resolution declaring Kentucky a sanctuary state from the regulatory overreach of the United States Environmental Protection Agency against coal operators and the coal industry in Kentucky also cleared one hurdle. The bill passed the Democratic controlled House 28-10 on Feb. 28. The Senate received the legislation March 1, but with the session ending, the bill died in committee.

Had the Republican controlled Senate taken up SJR99, it would have likely had an excellent chance of passage.

Mike Maharrey

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