FRANKFORT — The state Senate was minutes away from adjourning Tuesday night when Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer announced that a special visitor wanted to address the chamber — Gov. Matt Bevin.
In a move old-timers said was unprecedented and surprising, the Republican governor in his first year of office entered the Senate and was invited by President Robert Stivers to speak to the lawmakers.
Governors traditionally address legislative sessions only when formally presenting a budget or State of the Commonwealth Address.
Bevin, like a businessman who likes to give “attaboys” to staffers, first joked that “nothing says good times like watching KET on Tuesday night.” It was a friendly, subtle reminder to the legislators that he is watching their activities on the statewide television network.
In a casual talk that lasted about two minutes, Bevin said he is grateful to Democrats and Republicans alike for their legislative work.
He said the Senate had produced “a lot of good legislation” throughout the day. He didn’t mention any particular bill, but he later told reporters he thinks the measure to allow certain Class D felons to vacate and expunge their convictions after a five-year waiting period is good legislation that he would quickly sign into law when it reaches his desk.
Bevin also told reporters that he also wanted to convey gratitude to House members, but he was busy when they adjourned earlier in the day.
Upon adjournment of the Senate Tuesday night, Bevin stuck around for photos and selfies with lawmakers of both parties and Senate staff.