Last week we said that Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh and Councilman Kelly Downard needed to raise hell over the corrupt push to limit debate.
And it seems both have fought for the people of Louisville since before news of the limit broke.
On the 15th, Downard exchanged emails with his colleagues attempting to find a compromise. Rather than limit debate to an hour, Downard proposed:
When a motion to limit debate is made and an objection is made, a vote by the majority of the Council members present shall be the deciding vote on whether the debate shall be limited. A motion to limit debate is not debatable. If a motion to limit debate successfully passes, then debate on a particular ordinance or resolution shall be limited to 2-3 hours in totality. After the allotted time for debate on an item has passed, the members of the Metro Council may, by majority vote, decide to continue debate for an additional period of time, send the item back to committee for additional discussion or hold the item on the agenda until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Metro Council. Items that are held until the next meeting will receive 2 hours of debate with a call of the question required unless a majority of the members of the Council elect to delay the vote for additional discussion. Rule 5.11(i) shall not be invoked during the passage of either the Capital or Operating Budgets for Metro Government.
Later that day, Councilwoman Ward-Pugh wrote to her colleagues to let everyone know she was not in support of the Majority Caucus in its decision to support the Ackerson amendment to limit debate. She made it clear she not only opposed limiting debate to a mere hour but also opposed a Downard-esque proposal to limit debate to two-three hours because, in her own words:
I expressed my great displeasure with this amendment, and even to what you are proposing, because our very democracy is built on debate. And by taking this measure, I am confident it will appear to our community that we are moving towards becoming Frankfort and Washington–partisan bickering, stalling and obstructionism–something I’m proud to say our Metro Council has worked hard at preventing.
She went on to say:
This amendment is a bad idea and no amount of amending will change that. From this time forward a simple majority of those present–likely to be Democrats for a long, long time–will have the option of calling the question at any time to shut down debate. I think this is a huge mistake and too low a threshold to squelch debate on the floor. Folks supporting this argue the work and debate should be done in committees. Though that is reasonable and appropriate, it excludes those who don’t serve on committees where legislation is present and who might not be able to attend to debate and hear others’ opinions. To my point, on the floor at a Metro Council meeting is the only time all 26 of us are expected to be present at once to hear directly from each other about why we support or oppose legislation. I think it only fair to have the debate in front of all council members and the viewing public, especially since most of the public tunes in to the full council meetings rather than individual committee meetings.
It’s safe to say Ward-Pugh is standing up for what’s right and deserves support.
So when you’re wondering if there’s any responsible leadership left in Kentucky? There she is. One of the only people standing up and speaking out against stifling not just government but the will of the people.
It is not just embarrassing but disgusting that this legislative body from the largest city in the Commonwealth is spiraling out of control in such a grand manner.