Kentucky: Abuse of Power?

1325r[1]Au contraire! Kentucky’s 1891 law was enacted to allow legislators protection, to ensure they were able to vote. Drunkeness is another issue

Kentucky’s 1891 Constitution align the state laws with the US Constitution in regards to the slavery issues. It also allowed the General Assembly to pass amendments which would keep the Constitution current . Interestingly it also limited the salary of state officials to $5000/year. Currently they are paid $188.22 session per diem (which is 110% of the Federal per diem rate) and an additional $1.788.51/month base salary.

Why would Kentucky enact Section 43?

Stephen Voss, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, has been interviewed by numerous media and explains the idea of legislative immunity goes back to before the U.S. Constitution. He has been quoted as saying

“It grew out of abuses of the legal system by the kings of England among other sources, in those days, before our legal system had been firmly established, people who disagreed with a lawmakers position would do whatever they could to make sure they didn’t get a chance to vote. They’d have arrested members of legislatures who weren’t on their side on an issue of the day,” he said. “As states began writing their own constitutions they often copied the language found in others. Kings would refuse to call a parliament into session, or lock up parliament members, for fear of opposition. Just terrible abuses of democracy. The basic fear was that the legal system could be abused to keep the people’s representatives from doing their jobs.”

The possibility of abducting legislators is not far-fetched and maybe Johnson’s incident will bring attention to the fact such an event occurred in order to pass the 16th amendment, which opened the door to a graduated income-tax and the enforcement of mandatory health care via a court-authorized reporting agency.

In Conclusion

The protections afforded in the Kentucky 1891 Constitution are not an abuse of power, rather the behavior of the State Senator is a violation of vehicle code AND an affront to each person who voted for him, given his DUI transpired within 12 hours of swearing an oath to uphold the Kentucky and the United States Constitution.