By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press
FRANKFORT - It could have gone down in history as the legislature that deregulated broadband.
Not all that romantic, perhaps, but more dignified than the legislature that failed - again - to pass a budget.
The 2004 General Assembly seems likely to be best remembered, if remembered at all, for not meeting the single task demanded of it by the 1891 Kentucky Constitution - enacting a spending plan for the next biennium.
"It's a real empty feeling that you work hard for 60 days and you can't even get a budget," Rep. Jon Draud, R-Crestview Hills, said Tuesday.
House and Senate leaders were unable to agree on a budget - mostly on whether it should include a "tax modernization" plan championed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher - and each side called the other obstructionist.
Rep. Tom Burch of Louisville, a legislator for 28 years, said the 2004 General Assembly "will have to go down as being one of the less productive sessions that I've ever been in."
Fletcher said he does not intend to call a special session to pass a budget. Without a budget, state government would operate under a spending plan by Fletcher when the next fiscal year begins July 1.
Lawmakers passed bills that run the gamut, assuming all become law: Bills against identity theft and prescription drug abuse. Better electrical safety standards in coal mines. High school diplomas for Korean War veterans - to name a few.
Broadband service was deregulated in hope of spreading high-speed Internet access across rural Kentucky. A three-year moratorium was put on mandated state health benefits to try to attract insurers.
Social conservatives claimed victories with the passage of a fetal-homicide bill and a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.
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Fernald's nuke waste refused
Lakota schools cutting teachers
Museum makes much of cicada invasion
IN THE TRISTATE
Crest Hills project voted down
Fund raising is ramped up
Homeowner continues fight vs. gun club
City Council cracks down on disruptions
Tax ruling stymies plans
Frustrated solicitor exits post
Greenhills buys Tasers
White Pillars tops list of projects
Developer cites blight study errors
Red tape stalls counties' plans
Public safety briefs
Kings campus lead cleanup on target
Trustee to fight harassment count
Historic site invites rights pioneer
Sealing records OK, says court
Lucky Pocket Piece? In 1929, it fell short
Is shelter quick to kill cats?
Plan seeks to transform barn
Crowley: Talkative Bunning stirs up the gators
Bronson: Council votes not to respect shouts of hate
Reaching Out For Kids plans 1st golf tourney
Harry Kroeger loved his work fighting fires
Parsons suspect from start
College student charged with DUI after hitting bus
Budget blame game begins
Start times won't change
NKU chief presses lawmakers for budget
Senate gives final passage to marriage amendment
Another session with no budget
Kentucky news briefs