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“Interesting.” That was the way Sen. Dennis Parrett describe his first week in Kentucky’s General Assembly.
Parrett was expecting a more typical first week of a short session, including swearing-in ceremonies, bill filing and a few committee meetings. Instead, Parrett already has heard and voted on a dozen bills and even more resolutions.
“Things were rushed through pretty fast,” he said.
The rushed nature was a concern for him, which was a reason why he voted against Senate Bill 6, a controversial bill that would allow police officers, without a warrant, to arrest someone they had probable cause to believe was an illegal immigrant and committing a crime that would warrant deportation.
Parrett said no fiscal analysis had been done on the bill to show what cost it would carry to taxpayers. He felt it could be significant when considering the costs of incarceration, medical care and foster care needed for their families.
Parrett said he thought the bill was mostly passed to send a message to the federal government.
“It’s just a symbolic thing,” he said.
The week brought positive things for him as well, including a seat on four committees – Agriculture and Small Business, Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, Banking and Insurance, and Health and Welfare.
“I’m really excited about that,” he said.
He’s co-sponsored Senate Bills 52 and 53, which would post legislators’ reimbursement requests online, and would change rules about campaign contributions and gifts to legislators, respectively.
With Senate Democrats in the minority, he knows passage of their bills could be difficult, but he himself isn’t afraid to vote across party lines.
“If it’s a bill I feel good about, I don’t care what side it comes from,” he said.
Parrett said his enthusiasm for his new role hasn’t diminished, even with the fast-paced nature of the past week, as this is something he’s wanted to do for a long time.
“I don’t mind to work,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.