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1988-06-03 Interview with James Fleming, June 3, 1988 Leg001:1988OH100LEG01 01:24:33 Kentucky Legislature Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Term/District: Leadership Position: Party: Kentucky. General Assembly. Legislative Research Commission. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Reform. Kentucky. General Assembly -- Committees. Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Ford, Wendell legislative independence Maloney, Richard interim committees Carroll, Julian Counties in District: Malcolm Jewell; interviewee Malcolm Jewell; interviewer 1988OH100_LEG001_Fleming 1:|4(7)|13(4)|55(4)|90(4)|104(5)|118(1)|126(12)|141(3)|158(5)|167(2)|190(11)|198(5)|219(3)|233(8)|259(4)|283(17)|334(2)|371(14)|412(5)|451(5)|493(9)|522(3)|552(10)|591(1)|616(1)|640(15)|658(7)|694(2)|731(9)|744(12)|774(11)|802(12)|818(9)|827(15)|835(14)|862(6)|886(1)|915(10)|938(2)|964(3)|995(7)|1021(2)|1047(8)|1074(7)|1095(9)|1135(3)|1159(14)|1179(13)|1201(1)|1207(6)|1235(1)|1262(12)|1286(4)|1312(9)|1328(14)|1340(2)|1346(2)|1373(12)|1395(4)|1431(14)|1461(8)|1482(8)|1495(11)|1523(8)|1534(15)|1560(14)|1600(13)|1633(7)|1647(15)|1672(12)|1704(4)|1741(14)|1761(5)|1773(3)|1807(13)|1813(8)|1824(11)|1839(14)|1878(4)|1915(4)|1934(15)|1952(5)|1964(5)|1972(10) audiotrans Legit interview JEWELL: Okay, we're now talking on microphone one. And I've tried to turn the inside thing down and then the inside thing up, so it works best at about five. So microphone one is working and the inside knob controls it-now I'm talking on microphone three, and I'm not getting anything too much-but apparently I have to set it higher. I've got that set at about eight using the outside dial and that seems to work pretty well. I'm going to listen to it on the machine and see if I've really got it working right, but it does seem to work better with a new battery in it-just want to say something in that. FLEMING: I'm James Fleming. JEWELL: Yeah, that's fine. Okay. This is an interview with James Fleming on June third in Frankfort. Let me get straight, beginning with the years that you were director of the LRC. FLEMING: Well, it would've been initially the funny years when Waterfield was chairman- JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: and lieutenant governor. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Was actual director. I came to the commission in December of '49. $240 a month-glad to get it. JEWELL: You came in `49 as- FLEMING: Just as a legislative assistant. JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: And Arthur Lloyd had just gotten it off- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: was getting it off the ground then. JEWELL: So you were actually the director then- FLEMING: I was the director- JEWELL: during Waterfield's term as lieutenant governor? FLEMING: Yes, half, the latter part of the term. JEWELL: Uh-huh. Yeah. FLEMING: You remember he got in a good deal of difficulty by keeping title of director for himself- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: with compensation. JEWELL: Oh, okay. FLEMING: It was called an executive assistant then. It was ___________(??) and then I had it for two years. And then when- JEWELL: Basically, it was the last two years of the Breathitt administration? FLEMING: The Chandler. JEWELL: Oh, way back in Chandler? Okay. FLEMING: See, that was when-yeah, that was in Chandler. JEWELL: Okay, way back in the Chandler administration? FLEMING: That's right. And then I stayed on the staff till '61. And in December of '63, I was appointed director again. And I stayed director until I went down to- JEWELL: But that was during the Breathitt administration. FLEMING: That was during- JEWELL: Breathitt. FLEMING: Breathitt, Waterfield, Nunn- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: administrations and the first part, the first year of the Ford administration- JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: to May, it must have been. JEWELL: And then you moved to Ford's staff? FLEMING: Uh-huh. And to the-because I remember I wrote the call when I was downstairs for the special session in June of '71. So I would have been downstairs then. JEWELL: Okay. I'm particularly interested, then, in this whole development of the interim committee system, the committee reorganization, all of those things that occurred in the period from the summer of '67 to the beginning of the '68 session, because that's really the beginning of the history, or the beginning of the modern reform of the legislature. And most of this whole series of interviews we're going to do begins in that period with the development of the, of the reformed committee system. And I've got, as I've told you, I've got this memo from the files that you wrote in the summer, in July of '67 to the LRC outlining how you thought, in the absence of constitutional revision, in the absence of annual sessions, it was still realistic to expect the whole legislature could be significantly reformed. And- FLEMING: Some considerable improvement. JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. And that's of course what- FLEMING: I felt that from the very beginning, some considerable improvement under the constitutional restrictions even. My assignments as a junior legislative analyst under Arthur Lloyd gravitated toward the study of the legislative branch, really. The first assignment I had was the constitutional, a little book we put out on the constitution, and I wrote the foreword, which they've been updating since then. But in the course of that, I read the whole debates. I read all of the four volumes of the debates of the constitution. Then I wrote a pamphlet for the LRC director on legislative procedure, and then I wrote a legislative handbook. And he just gradually got more and more into it. I had some real practical guidance in it, just from time to time and on and off, and that's Dick Moloney. JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: He was the first one I ever talked to about it, because General Lloyd was director, but R.P. Moloney was on the commission some during this period. And, happily, I read the Griffenhagen Reports of 1926 or `27, which helped me out a lot later. JEWELL: Now what reports were these then? FLEMING: It was a report on the organization of Kentucky state government. JEWELL: I see. FLEMING: And it had a chapter on the, on the legislature in it. It was really on the executive part. And it's, it was a quite sound one. One thing I found out, just a very practical item, was that out of Griffenhagen, was that if you had a one hundred-man body, a one hundred-member body, and you wanted to keep the membership, the number of committees each member served on limited, you had to have fourteen committees, no more and no less. It just broke that way mathematically. And serve on two, no less than two and no more than three, and that's the way the mathematics broke. So that solved a lot of problems. I'd actually been developing and revising, and I was the one through those years as a junior and then a little more senior when there were rule changes. I staffed those- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: for the House and the Senate-I was really struck with the necessity, as much as anything in the nineteen hundred and sixty session, and he's a great man, sound man-near great, maybe-Wilson Wyatt, when he let the Senate, as really a act of appeasement, organize itself into thirty-eight committees. JEWELL: And everyone was chairman of one committee. FLEMING: Everybody could be chairman of one committee. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And I thought that of sort of made these things I'd been puttering around with for years (laughs) a pretty live subject. And one of those who thought it was just the worst thing ever done was R.P. Moloney. And if you'll remember, when Wyatt was in the race for governor, his biggest backer was R.P. Moloney. So we talked about that in his way, "Yeah. Uh-huh. Something has to be done about this." So I actually drafted up rules. I drafted up rules for committee changes. And as the years went by, I kept changing them, altering them due to circumstances. The Griffenhagen thing, I started with fourteen committees and getting as close to that in the thirty-eight member, but still ending up with fourteen committees in the Senate also, fourteen committees in each House. And I used as a committee assignment not only the-see, there was not a specific assignment in the rules- JEWELL: Of jurisdiction. FLEMING: of jurisdiction. JEWELL: Right. FLEMING: You had something called Kentucky Committee One, and Kentucky Committee Two, and Kentucky Committee Three, which was great for leadership because Kentucky Committee One- JEWELL: This is a Kentucky statute- FLEMING: Kentucky Statutes One- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Kentucky Statutes Two, and Kentucky Statutes Three. Kentucky Statutes One meant that the bill was going to be reported out. Kentucky Statutes Two meant that maybe it was going to be reported out. And Kentucky Statutes Three was the dead committee. Nothing was to be reported out of Kentucky Statutes Three. I remember late one Friday, and Kentucky Statutes One and Kentucky Statutes Two were reporting out all these bills, and Gene Ostertag from Campbell County-this was in the '50s, the late '50s maybe-early '50s, was chairman of Kentucky Statutes Three, which is a good, safe place to assign some legislators. He got carried away with the enthusiasm of Kentucky Statutes One and reported out all of the bills in Kentucky Statutes Three (both laugh), and the whole place just went absolutely silent because the committee hadn't met or anything. It wasn't supposed to meet. The general conclusion of talking to Waterfield, too-and Waterfield and I were close, and Dick Moloney and I were close. I helped him on that redistricting in '62- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: when I wasn't with the LRC. That this could only be done if, really practical, let's face the facts (unintelligible), if you had a Republican governor and the General Assembly that wanted to assert itself because- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: the Democratic General Assembly wanted to assert itself- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: because you did have a Republican governor. So I organized the committees in this redoing of drafts along the lines of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: It served more than one purpose, one helpful purpose later, because if you look at the original structure of what we did under Ford in organizing the executive branch, it was organized more parallel to the way the legislative branch was organized and- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: than any other single thing. Well, the chance looked like it was coming, it was near coming to try to break this up with the commission, and the memo that you speak of was what that was presented to the General Assembly (unintelligible)- JEWELL: And, of course, this is presented before anybody knew whether you were going to have a Republican governor? FLEMING: Yes, but I got together with several members in different ways. The Republicans broached the subject: What about a reorganization? To Ward, and Republicans to Nunn and the Democrats to Ward-to feel them out, and there wasn't any animosity. Well, you know, it was a good time because nobody has much animosity when they're in a race, which- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: everybody felt was going to be a close race. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: This was delivered to the commission in- JEWELL: In July. Yes. FLEMING: in July of '67. I think it was a little later than that. There was a meeting in Louisville, in which both of the candidates were there, Nunn and, and I went down to it. A lot of the legislators were there. I remember I went down with Sonny Hunt. He was interested in getting a commitment for retention of the Legislative Audit Committee. JEWELL: Yes, which he was chairman of. FLEMING: Which he was chairman of. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: And I was interested in the rules. I was interested in the Legislative Audit Committee, too, but, and together with some of the legislators, out of that meeting came a commitment, just a soft commitment- JEWELL: From the two candidates? FLEMING: from the two candidates. But it was enough to know, on both of them, on the Legislative Audit Committee- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: and the, which, the Audit Committee sort of gave Governor Nunn, later, fits (laughs). JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: But-besides that they were in a public posture- JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: where they couldn't do anything but continue to be agreeable. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: So then we worked on it. I worked on it more particularly, because we had a small staff then. And I needed to do some productive work myself. But we had the rules drafted. We had the rules drafted for the first meeting of the new LRC and- JEWELL: The-at the same time that when all this is going on, there was some kind of a-well, there was a national movement toward legislative reform, but there was some kind of a committee in Kentucky-I think the Chamber of Commerce was associated- FLEMING: Chamber of Commerce, I think. JEWELL: And I'm curious about whether they played any significant role in this- FLEMING: Only in reading. I read everything they put out. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: But I really read everything- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: over the years. JEWELL: Yeah. They were not-you were not consulting with them- FLEMING: No. JEWELL: about how the rules might be drafted? FLEMING: No. JEWELL: So, really, it was an internal- FLEMING: It was an in-House- JEWELL: in-House. FLEMING: I think in the beginning it had to be an in-House. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: It had to be a sort of a semi-greased approach to the thing- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: because otherwise you'd get it out and it would be contentious. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Everybody in the state would be offering how to amend it. JEWELL: But in terms of the Legislative Research Commission itself acting on this, this was a new commission that came in with the '67 elections rather than the old, even though your plan had been drafted in July, but the LRC acting on it did not occur until- FLEMING: That's correct. JEWELL: the new legislators- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: were elected and meeting in December or January or whenever; the middle of December, I suppose. FLEMING: It would've been that first-they met the same day that they're sworn in. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: The day after, pardon me. The day after the lieutenant governor was sworn in. JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. So the Republicans presumably had a long-term interest in legislative reform, because some of these reforms would loosen some of the control that Democratic governors had. FLEMING: That's correct. See, and on the controlled committees, it gave them a better representation. JEWELL: Yeah, it gave them- FLEMING: Because they had to have- JEWELL: Right. FLEMING: something that reasonably balanced, due to the proportions, reasonably balanced what the representation was. JEWELL: And they had not had seats on the legis---on the Kentucky Statutes Committee, usually. FLEMING: Why, you wouldn't (both laugh)-not only, it would kill you in the Republican Party- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: if they put you on Kentucky Statutes One- JEWELL: So the Republicans had a long-term interest in this, and the Democrats had a short-term interest, because of the Republican governor. FLEMING: The Republican governor. JEWELL: So in that sense, it was perfect timing? FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: There was no reason for the Republican leg---Democratic legislators to be in disagreement about this? FLEMING: No. No, with a Republican governor. JEWELL: Were there-do you recall that-was this package adopted by the LRC easily? Were there sharp disagreements? FLEMING: As I remember, no, there weren't that much because I'd touched base on-all along. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I mean, I'd touched base over the last six, seven years- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: with the members. And Ford was chairman. JEWELL: Yeah. Ford was the new chairman of the LRC then. FLEMING: Yeah, he'd made this campaign thing of resigning, not serving on the commission, and at the first meeting the others disabused him, the other members of the committee, of the commission. JEWELL: So it was not until sometime in the Carroll administration, I guess, that the lieutenant governor- FLEMING: That's correct. JEWELL: went off. Yeah. Yeah. So Ford had talked about getting off the commission, but was still on it. FLEMING: He talked during the campaign. JEWELL: Yeah. And Waterfield, of course, by then was no longer on the commission, was out of office, so he had no further influence over it. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: But Ford was sympathetic to this whole reform idea? FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: And you have to remember that Waterfield, though, had a lot of respect as a legislator- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: and as a former Speaker and- JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: a former presiding officer of the Senate, that, if there is one good political acceptance-almost without a doubt-that Waterfield had, was as a parliamentarian- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: among other things. JEWELL: But, of course, he had been, on the other hand, he had been trying to get a Senate composition during the Breathitt administration- FLEMING: Oh, yes. JEWELL: that would be favorable to him. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: And, in fact, Ford had run as an anti-Waterfield candidate in a sense- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: in Owensboro(??) to get elected to the Senate. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: So you can imagine some friction- FLEMING: Oh, yes, very much, very much, because Waterfield came very, very close in the-let's see, the election of `66- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: of controlling the Senate. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: Very, very close. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: And Ford did, he ran, because Cap Gardner had been the floor leader- JEWELL: Yes, right. FLEMING: in the Senate for the Chandler-Waterfield side of the party. JEWELL: Yeah. But I assume these legislators were fully aware of the implications of what they were doing, that is, by taking the, taking away from leadership absolute control over jurisdictions, not leaving them any influence. FLEMING: But you have to remember it was-you had to take a chance on it- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: because leadership and what they did on the leadership committee over the years in terms of power wasn't conceived as a legislative exercise- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: of power. It was a conduit through which the governor- JEWELL: Right. FLEMING: exercised power. JEWELL: Right. Right. FLEMING: It was a lot easier that way- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: until the, the frame of thinking now is completely different. JEWELL: So these people were consciously and deliberately taking a step to reduce the power of the governor over the legislature? FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: And a step that they realized would affect future Democratic governors as well as- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: in the short run a Republican governor. FLEMING: There are several conditions that led to that. The real old timers-of course, he'd gone by then, but R.P. Moloney-were of a mind that really something ought to be done. Waterfield was of a mind- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: that really something ought to be done. You'd had a substantial change over six or eight years in the membership- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: of the General Assembly. And it was easier because this newer flood- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: of members. I'm talking about- JEWELL: Well, you had people like Downing- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: coming in, in the Senate and chairing Appropriations and Revenue. FLEMING: He was all for it- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: by the way. JEWELL: People like that, who were a newer generation of people. FLEMING: That's correct. JEWELL: A little more serious interest in legislative affairs, maybe. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: Not content with the way it had been done. There was also, of course, a fundamental change in the Rules Committee, cutting back its power. It would no longer take over from the existing committees- FLEMING: In the last ten days. JEWELL: in the last, what, fifteen days, wasn't it? FLEMING: The last fifteen days, that's correct. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Which meant you got, you almost had to get a little earlier movement on- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: the legislation, because the whole game, up until the new rules were put in, was to do as little as you can till the fifteen days takes over, and then everybody else sits back and rests. JEWELL: I remember taking a political science class over to watch the legislature one day, and I didn't stop to think it was the day before the fifteen day, the final fifteen days, and they simply met and adjourned. There were several bills that they didn't want, the leadership didn't want to come out, that were going to be pending, that had been reported by other committees. They wanted to get them back in the Rules Committee, and so they met and adjourned and everybody went home. So my class didn't see very much except they learned a lesson about the Rules Committee. FLEMING: Yeah. (laughs) The-and up here, once you got this in, it's sort of like redistricting. JEWELL: Once you got it in, you think it would be-it could be hard to change then? FLEMING: Because of the vested interest that the new chairmen and- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: and everybody else had in it. And all you needed was once. It's like legislative redistricting. You've seen that. That everybody clamors at you when you're butchering up counties and everything, and all you have to do, though, is get through the next election, because the people who are in are those that are elected from what you've done- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: from the districts you've created, and they're not in the position to say anything- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: because everybody's now their people. JEWELL: Yeah. I know the, when the bi-- the law that was passed, the bill that was passed to actually set up the interim committee system was vetoed by the governor, and so you actually implemented interim committees through the rules of the House and the Senate- FLEMING: Right. JEWELL: rather than through legislation. FLEMING: Correct. JEWELL: And I'm not clear, I've got the vague impression that this was part of another bill, and I'm not sure whether the governor deliberately was opposed to interim committees or whether there were some other features in there that he was opposed to, but I guess the question I'm getting at is, were there constitutional issues involved? Were a number of people concerned about whether- FLEMING: Yes, I was, and I still was, and was proven correct. The basis of this was proven correct when the court threw out a lot of things under the Brown administration. JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: Because it was always my contention that the legal authority was in the Legislative Research Commission- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: not in the interim committees, because the Legislative Research Commission had been set up by statute, and it had the lieutenant governor as chairman. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: That was one of the arguments that I used with Ford when he first came in under this promise that he was going to resign. And I did it somewhat in that December '67 meeting. But I did it a lot more privately, with the help of a good, a goodly number of the members, including some Republican members- JEWELL: In other words it might not- FLEMING: of the LRC. JEWELL: there might not have- FLEMING: There's a danger, there is a danger we pointed out, that this whole thing may crumble unless you keep the lieutenant governor on, unless you have somebody from the executive on it. JEWELL: The-so the interim committees were technically subcommittees of the LRC. FLEMING: That's correct. JEWELL: And I believe-I have a vague impression that there had been some earlier court decision holding the LRC constitutional. FLEMING: Yes. JEWELL: Yeah. So all you had to do was (unintelligible)- FLEMING: We didn't dare, in my estimation, jiggle with that- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: what had been held as constitutional. JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: We had to keep that until everything else was in place. JEWELL: And as you say, the Brown decision a few years ago indicated that that's true, that the courts insisted that the legislature had no continuing authority, and the LRC could not be-was not a continuing legislature. It had- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: very limited functions. So the, but that, I guess there was never a court challenge to the interim committee system, you know, soon after it was established. FLEMING: No, not- JEWELL: The governor never tried to- FLEMING: not while I was there. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: All the way through the Nunn administration- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: and the first part- JEWELL: I don't believe anybody ever challenged it. The only thing that got challenged was in the Brown decision, trying to expand the powers of it. FLEMING: And then they didn't challenge- JEWELL: The LRC itself. FLEMING: the LRC itself- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: but even though at that-by that time, it had no executive member. JEWELL: Right. All they tried to challenge was giving the LRC powers that the legislature itself could have had, to override administrative regs and that kind of thing. FLEMING: And another practical reason presented to Ford was that-if you had the lieutenant governor as chairman, kept him, or somebody from the executive, kept them as chairman, you could always make him not have much authority, but it kept you getting in a chairmanship fight between the House and the Senate. JEWELL: Yes. Yeah. FLEMING: The chairmanship of the LRC fight between the House and the Senate. JEWELL: Now, your original proposal during July suggests a fairly cautious interim committee plan, and you suggest in this document that some of the most important, substantive, substantively important, committees might have interim activities. FLEMING: And during these first two years, not all the interim committees met. JEWELL: But was the-when they, when the system was set up in `68, did it authorize all of them to meet? FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: So in theory, all of them could meet? FLEMING: Yes, uh-huh. JEWELL: But whether they did meet, I guess, really depended upon the, how the LRC used its very limited budget. FLEMING: Well, in that first two years, the meetings were approved by the LRC. JEWELL: Yeah. So the LRC had to specify, "Your committee can hold meetings,"- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: because they were budgeting for them. And so this was a very cautious beginning. And I guess what I'm, one thing I'm curious about is how long it took before you really had a continuing functioning, all of the LRC, all of the interim committees meeting as a matter of course. It took several years, I guess. FLEMING: It was toward the end of the second biennium. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: It was toward the end of the second biennium. And then a lot of them were very cautious, because you had two things facing you then. In Kentucky, you always have elections facing you. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: But you had a very rough Democratic primary for one thing, the Combs-Ford. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And then you had what was going to be a very serious race with a good Republican candidate- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: in the fall- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: which led to some (laughs) degree of caution. JEWELL: Yes. These LRC committees, or these interim committees, my impression is there was not very quick acceptance of this idea from, oh, the executive branch, lobbyists. They didn't take them very seriously- FLEMING: No, they didn't. JEWELL: in terms of going there and testifying before them and making presentations- FLEMING: No. JEWELL: and all the rest. FLEMING: They were still more a study and discussion focus. JEWELL: Yes. Yeah. FLEMING: Well, for one thing, we knew we weren't going to get any more money, or no appreciable amount of money, because in nineteen hundred and sixty-eight, everybody else had left town and-I remember we had just set these up. I got a call from Governor Nunn's office to come down and talk to him, and I mean Ford is gone and Carroll is gone-it was right after the session-and that he had bad news for me, that he was going to line-item veto the legislative appropriation (both laugh), the whole damn thing (both laugh). And I said, "That's very bad news." Again, I said, "Governor, but you know these guys are coming back to town sometime." And I said, "A Republican governor is a little short on votes at best." And made that argument, that this is a real antagonistic sort of a gesture here. Then I called Lawrence Wetherby, the best thing I did (laughs) on that issue. And he came in, and I think it was really Lawrence Wetherby, who you remember was not too unfriendly with Governor Nunn. But really persuaded (laughs) him to look at the politics of the thing, that you want 138 fellows including myself screaming around up there. But he told me he was going to find out, because he had found like I did. And then he says, "Well, I'll just reduce it in half." Because he'd found that one veto that isn't at all familiar, that I'd had, that you can lower-you cannot only completely obliterate a money appropriation, but you can lower it under the authority. There was one back in the-was a Court of Appeals decision in the Willis administration like that. Half a deal, being all by myself, looked pretty good there for a while (both laugh). I thought about the 138 members, too. JEWELL: What about the role that Ford played on the LRC during that, that during his term as lieutenant governor? Was he active in promoting the LRC and the growth of the interim committees, or was he not particularly interested in it? FLEMING: That he was, but there's one thing that he said. See, Ford and I weren't all that close as I'd been with Waterfield essentially over the years and with R. P. Moloney- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: who weren't together either. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: But they were and Jim Ware up in northern Kentucky. He said, "There's one thing I'll promise you: I'll leave the staff alone," which he did. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: See, we were operating with forty-two people then, and you couldn't do a lot of interim committee work restricted to forty-two people. JEWELL: And they had a lot of other responsibilities like codifying the statutes. FLEMING: Oh, yes, that's correct. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: See, you really weren't turned free with a staff that size then, you really weren't turned free of the legislative and post-legislative work till about the first of July, when you could start- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: looking around at the legislative interim committees. JEWELL: But I wondered about Ford, because he was obviously a man who intended to run for governor. He must have intended to run for governor from the moment he became lieutenant governor, if not before, and there was conceivably some conflict between helping to strengthen the interim committee system as head of the LRC and thinking that down the road you were going to be a governor who wanted to run the legislature again, or maybe he didn't think in those terms. FLEMING: Well, I don't know whether he did or not. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Fortunately for everyone, I think, he didn't act it out. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: You have to remember there was one getting back, the Legislative Audit Committee what was then giving as much the governor fits- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: as much as anything else, the governor. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: The Republican governor. JEWELL: That was kind of the precursor to the various oversight committees- FLEMING: Yes. JEWELL: that we've had in more recent years. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: But that was the only thing that was kind of like an oversight committee. FLEMING: And it was a statutory committee, too. JEWELL: Yes. Yeah-what else do I want to ask you? FLEMING: I'd say Ford's influence in that was what studies passed the General Assembly for the commission and they had to do. JEWELL: Um-hm. In this early, in the early years of this committee system, with the Rules Committee operating in a different way, and with the interim committees operating and so forth, and with the party leadership obviously less powerful or less, had, it had somewhat fewer tools, the governor would have fewer tools. Was there any reaction against this kind of thing? Was there any move in those early years to go back to the old ways of doing things at all, like strengthening the Rules Committee or cutting Republicans off some of the committees or letting the leadership have more flexibility in committees? FLEMING: No, not as I remember. Because you remember the-we're making a mistake if you think in terms of the Rules Committee today as what it was up through, really, the '74- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: session. See, Rules Committee then did not have to report out or post a bill. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: It- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: and it let itself, in any legislative body all you need is one control point. If your idea is to stop things, all you need is one control point, and that was the Senate Rules Committee as far as Ford was concerned. And it was the Senate Rules Committee when Ford was governor also. JEWELL: Yes. What we're saying is that the Rules Committee still was a very powerful body, even though- FLEMING: It was still very powerful, but in terms of, it could really kill the legislation. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And everything had to go to the Rules Committee. JEWELL: It simply did not take over all the functions of all the other committees in the last fifteen days- FLEMING: No, that's right. JEWELL: the way it had in the past. And yes, I never fully understood why that old Rules Committee system continued to work that way. In some ways, it seemed to be a very awkward way to run things. FLEMING: See, it was a trade-off, really, sort of an unspoken trade-off as far as the Rules Committee starting in '68 when, because you took away that absolute- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: power for the last fifteen days- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: but in return, you gave them the authority that they did have for the complete session. JEWELL: Yes. Right. And you also cut the Rules Committee down in size so that it was basically a leadership committee. FLEMING: That's right. It was manageable for management purposes. JEWELL: Because the old Rules Committee had been huge and sometimes- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: included all the non-freshmen Democrats- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: and things like that. So in some sense it was less manageable, presumably, or potentially less manageable. FLEMING: It was almost like a caucus. JEWELL: Yes. Yes, it was almost like a caucus. And I guess, because it had so much power in the last fifteen days, all the Democrats felt they had to all the senior Democrats felt they had to be on it. What about your, what about your, I realize you've been in Washington most of the time, but I'm sure you've paid a lot of attention to what goes on in the Kentucky legislature. Am I right? FLEMING: As much as I- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: can I guess. JEWELL: I just wondered what you thought about some of these developments that have occurred in more recent years, like the change in the election schedule, which was designed, in part at least, to rationalize the interim committee system, so that the committees would have a full year to meet before the regular session. FLEMING: It is a grievous error. JEWELL: Why? FLEMING: Because you have that whole year. And you have the election. You have the General Assembly backed up on an election year. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: Back to back, which means that one of the motivating things is to do as little as possible. JEWELL: I'm curious. I've never understood why Bill Kenton and the other people doing this hadn't thought through those implications. FLEMING: I can't either, because as you remember, we didn't do that error when the ill-fated constitution review- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: didn't make that mistake. JEWELL: Yeah. But the idea in part was to avoid this period, this problem that you had a legislative session followed by interim committees and members who were going to go off the interim committees or who might go on to a different substantive committee, a different standing committee, when they came back, lost interest in the work of the interim committee. FLEMING: Yeah, but it, it, what it did was it improved the child to the very detriment of the parent there- JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: with the legislative itself, the General Assembly itself. JEWELL: But of course, it was also in part to deal with a problem that was disappearing. It was in part to deal with the problem of so many people leaving the legislature and therefore losing interest in interim committees, because (unintelligible)- FLEMING: Because the pay had gone up. JEWELL: Now we have a lot more continuity in the legislature, and so that problem had disappeared just about the time the remedy was put into effect. FLEMING: You have no turnover now like you had- JEWELL: Oh, no. FLEMING: even in the late '60s, in the mid '60s. JEWELL: You had as much as 40 percent of the people turning over, and I noticed in this last election, ninety-five of the one hundred members of the House ran again, and three of the remaining five ran for the Senate. So you only had two people dropping out. One of them was a widow of a legislator who'd replaced him and was not really a long- term legislator. FLEMING: I'm going to have to excuse myself- JEWELL: Okay, let's take a break. [End of Tape #1, Side #1] [Begin Tape #1, Side #2] JEWELL: Okay. Let me ask you a little bit about, you were saying there was a very limited staff for working on any interim committees. And I guess initially the staff did not get assigned on a long-term basis to committees. That is, it took a while for these interim committees- FLEMING: That's correct. JEWELL: to develop any continuity of staff. FLEMING: Because, remember, they met only as full committees. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And the LRC had me sort of set the schedule. And for the first four years, I attended every one of them. I attended. And the secretary took the minutes, and we wrote you know, wrote up the minutes, because we had minutes for each one. But I met with the LRC and then I met with-because you could do it with a manageable number of meetings- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: in the first four years. JEWELL: My impression is to some degree the level of activity of interim committees depended on having chairmen who kind of seized the opportunity- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: and decided this is something we can do. FLEMING: Yeah. That's it. JEWELL: And- FLEMING: And then some of them would just as soon not meet and didn't meet. JEWELL: and I suppose the Appropriation and Revenue committees were the obvious ones to, to- FLEMING: That's where you had to start. JEWELL: had to get underway and- FLEMING: Because, remember, they'd just come off with a pretty tight battle with the governor on the budget. JEWELL: Yes. Yes, that was one of the- FLEMING: On '68 and more particularly there in '70. JEWELL: Yes, those were almost the first two examples of Appropriation and Revenue committees not simply accepting budgets as they were. FLEMING: Um-hm. JEWELL: And yet, I know from having- FLEMING: Because you had two very able people. You had Gip Downing- JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: as chairman in the Senate, and you had Bill Curlin in the House. JEWELL: Yes. Speaking of Curlin, I wonder if he would be a good person for me to interview in terms of talking to. He was not in the House for very many years. FLEMING: Not, no. JEWELL: He was in it at a fairly crucial period, but he didn't stay in very long. FLEMING: No, because you remember he took that one foray to Washington- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: and found out he didn't like it. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: For John Watts, that special election. JEWELL: Yes, right. FLEMING: In `71. JEWELL: I remember Joe Clarke has told me about the problems that he had, I guess, really during the Carroll administration more than the Ford administration, that because he didn't have effective control of the staff, and at one point when he was pushing budget alternatives rather hard, the word came down from the LRC that there going to be changes in the staff and he simply could not maintain the control over the staff that he thought he needed. FLEMING: Well, there-we hadn't reached that mature point when I was there- JEWELL: Yeah. Yeah. FLEMING: because I assigned the staff then. And, but Joe will tell you, you know, that-I knew Joe since he quite literally being carried to church. His family had the pew right in front of my grandparents at St. Peter's and Paul's (Jewell laughs) in Danville. JEWELL: I see. FLEMING: So I could talk to Joe, and I approached Joe and says, "Joe, there's- I've got real good news. You're going to be a chairman." That's really when the governor was still designating chairmen- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: of the, in the General Assembly through the leadership. And he thought that was just fine. I said, "But it's either State Government or Appropriations and Revenue, and everybody sort of thinks it would be better for Appropriations and Revenue." One of the wiser choices ever made by- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: any leadership in the General Assembly. JEWELL: I have-I am surprised that the governor's ability to dictate leadership and, through them, to dictate chairmen lasted as long as it did. It really lasted until Governor Brown decided he didn't want to do it. FLEMING: That, among other things. JEWELL: And- FLEMING: Yeah. That's correct. JEWELL: it would've seemed to me that it lasted during a period of growing legislative independence in many ways, I mean a growing feeling among the legislators as far back as, what, the period we've been talking about in '68, when legislators were asserting independence in other ways, but they were still accepting the governor's choice of leaders. And, of course, he had no formal power there. FLEMING: Well, what you had, you had the-really strong governors, who were in the mode of-semi-dictation maybe. And Combs, though, was the last of the Democratic governors-there was-up to the point, you're talking about Brown, who was the only one who had not had legislative experience. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: And they knew where the- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: points were to control. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: But you had the whole series of Breathitt's, the Ford, the Julian- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: that had legislative experience. JEWELL: Ford and Carroll in particular had had extensive experience- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: leadership experience in the legislature. Carroll had- FLEMING: And Julian, Julian was maybe the finest parliamentarian I've seen in those years there. JEWELL: I was going to talk a little bit about your experience in the Ford administration. Did you deal and you joined the Ford administration about a year after it started. Am I right about that? FLEMING: No, it was sooner than that. It was after everything was cleared up from the session. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: Because as I said, I remember I was downstairs in time to write that call for the special session. JEWELL: Did you, what did you do under, in the Ford administration? Were you a legislation liaison primarily? FLEMING: Not that, no, that as much, no. No, not during the session. We sort of agreed, Ford and I, before I came downstairs, that I didn't want to do that. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I didn't want to mingle. As a matter of fact, it was three years before I went back up to the third floor. And it's funny. Close to three years, after all those twenty-plus years of doing nothing but the third floor work and the General Assembly outside of one period of vacation there in the early '60s. It seemed just as strange as anything to me (laughs). I thought I'd never, but I did the reorganization, and I- JEWELL: You did the executive reorganization for Ford, yes. FLEMING: Uh-huh. I did those things legislative-wise in both sessions, you know, advice to the governor and bills themselves. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I mean, what goes into bills, and that was mostly working with the departments than it was-but, of course, they'd come down-after all, I knew them all- from time to time there. I was right at the foot of the steps. But I stayed away and Ford said it was a very good thing to do, that going up there and trying to influence on anybody- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: like I'd been doing for years and years and years. Because the hidden point is, the LRC director, that position had some real influence there for a long, long time. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: It was even written through the reviser, you know, you had to okay every bill before it was posted for third reading. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: For form, but that could mean a lot of things. JEWELL: Who replaced you as LRC director? FLEMING: Jackson White. JEWELL: Hmm. FLEMING: Julian knows him-that was- JEWELL: Had White ever worked with Julian Carroll in his- FLEMING: I- JEWELL: on his staff? Yes. FLEMING: I think it was Jackson White. JEWELL: When was Peter Conn? Was that later when he was an LRC director? FLEMING: I think so, yeah. Yeah, because that was right about when we went to Washington. Yeah. Under Carroll. JEWELL: Ford-You had a good view, obviously, of Ford as governor, and he was in this interesting position of being the first Democratic governor to face a legislature that was now more interested in independence and had more had these resources and this streamlined committee system and the interim committee system. And obviously Ford was very successful as a governor, as Carroll was. Was his style, was his way of operating as a governor substantially different from what Combs and Breathitt had done? Or was it essentially the same kind of techniques using power? FLEMING: More of Combs. JEWELL: More like Combs? FLEMING: I would say, because after all, he'd been in the governor's office- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: in the Combs administration. But he changed and got his-the Wendell Ford that came downstairs and the one that left was a hell of a lot more mature Wendell Ford than, say, when he started out as a state senator or when he ran for lieutenant governor. Like I say, I've been around, you know, watching politics from `49. Wendell Ford matured more than anybody, anybody, and changed more positively than anybody I've seen on the statewide scene. Anybody. I mean, people started out, perhaps, at a higher plateau, but he did an awful lot of improvement. And you have to remember that with even his increasing ability and his background and having been in the governor's office and a stint up on the third floor as presiding officer and a state senator, he came awfully close to having the thing blown. It was by the mountain Democrats. Remember after we put in the severance tax? JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And then the distribution of the funds? One of the several things that R.P. Moloney always taught me was, always keep a revenue bill stuck someplace in a committee, because the time will come during a session where you need it (Jewell laughs). And the eastern Kentucky Democrats were in real rebellion, and the-we had the bill, the Ethics Committee bill, which was on the-but it also was-and making an appropriation there, so we put the distribution money on that, on the Ethics Committee bill, and changed the title later after the bill had passed. And when you change the title is at the end. And it saved that session. That shows you, only twice before had you really had a major thing like that. And Ford got out of it. JEWELL: You mean a major thing in the sense of a- FLEMING: A near-thing as far as influence- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: on a major issue. Well, I mean-you had Breathitt, I mean Chandler didn't get out of it in '58- JEWELL: Right. FLEMING: with his budget and everything, which was substantially revised. JEWELL: And he had to get Republican votes to get- FLEMING: He had to get Republican votes. JEWELL: That what (unintelligible)- FLEMING: Only by-and Ford wasn't going to have any Republican help on this thing. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: You know, they sort of chuckle-chuckle. But it just shows you that the General Assembly, the Democrats in the General Assembly were feeling their oats. But then once that was off, the very people-and one of them in particular-would come down and ask me if they had a list of must-bills for the day, (both laugh) which just shows you the swing back, the natural-you know, still groping. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And they were for the four years I was there with the-under the new rules and everything, still looking around for leadership. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: One thing is, they really hadn't yet developed their own leadership. JEWELL: Well, you had to have, among other things, you had to have twenty-eight skillful, hard working, intelligent, experienced chairmen to run those committees. FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: And it was hard to find that many good committee chairmen. FLEMING: Very difficult. Very difficult. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Very difficult. JEWELL: And I suppose sometimes the leadership, some of the capable people would not have been appointed to committee chairman, bec--, chairmanships, because the leadership couldn't quite trust them. FLEMING: No. JEWELL: They weren't quite loyal enough and so forth. FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: So you had that additional criteria that had to be met, which must have been harder to do. FLEMING: They only developed their own leadership, the General Assembly did, when you had essentially eight years of governors leaving them completely alone. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And they had to develop. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Because quite frankly, under John Y. Brown there wasn't any leadership. JEWELL: Right. Um-hm. FLEMING: There wasn't any leadership. Ronald Reagan doesn't look like Calvin Coolidge. John Y. Brown looks like Calvin Coolidge (both laugh). JEWELL: The-as I said a while ago, it seemed to me the selecting of leaders was a point at which there could have been a revolt by the legislators, and I wonder if a governor had picked a Speaker, let's say, or a majority leader who was a particularly poor choice, particularly unpopular, that might have led to a revolt. But I don't think, I don't think- FLEMING: We almost had it '72. JEWELL: That was with whom? I forget. FLEMING: Norbert Blume. JEWELL: Oh, right. FLEMING: There was great opposition to Norbert, you know. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: Very active Teamster member- JEWELL: That's right. Yes. FLEMING: and everything. But what saved Norbert Blume as much as anything else (both laugh) was he had an accident. Remember, he was chopping wood and it hit him in the eye. JEWELL: I'd forgotten that. FLEMING: And he couldn't make the pre-legislative session, and they elect---and the Democratic caucus nominated him for chairman. They said, "We can't do that to Norbert," (both laugh) you know, and, but he had this accident chopping wood over. JEWELL: Were there differences between Ford and Carroll in their style? Carroll attracted more-people are more conscious, I think, when I talk to them about previous governors, about Carroll's having a hand in every piece of legislation. That is, making a decision, sending down the word with regard to virtually every piece of legislation that came up, either I'm for it or I am against it or this one I'll leave alone. But was there- FLEMING: Ford still kept the book- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: as governors had, historically. JEWELL: So- FLEMING: But there wasn't that-it was about halfway, Ford came about halfway, I'd say- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: on leaving things alone. Come here-here, buddy [to cat]. Come, go on, go on. _________(??), get this damn cat, please [to woman]. Go on. He's a pretty good little-go on. [woman speaks to cat in background; unintelligible]. That reminds me that Norbert Blume, in the pre-legislative conference. This and the actual draft of the rules in '67 were taken to the pre-legislative conference- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: and distributed- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: and everything. And there wasn't a rumble. Wasn't a rumble. The pre- legislative conference, that's another Dick Moloney, that was when Chandler was-it looked like he was going to be governor in the '54 session. Dick stuck that in there, mandatory that the Legislative Research Commission hold a pre-legislative conference. JEWELL: Now, that was the beginning of that in '54? FLEMING: Well, in the '54 legislature. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: Because he felt, you know, and he- JEWELL: '54, '55, yeah FLEMING: and "Happy," a grave dislike there. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: "Son of a bitch is going to be governor. (Grumbles) Got to make a _________(??) over these things, we can at least come to Frankfort," you know. We'd had-we'd been holding them for years. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And we'd planned on it, and "Happy" didn't have one, if you remember, but they came to Frankfort for a pre-legislative meeting in '56. JEWELL: I guess one of the things that's impressed me about trying to study the legislature is the, in a sense, the gradualness with which reforms occurred. That's just an example of a very small step toward giving the legislature a little bit more responsibility. And then you had the, the all of the steps associated in '68. FLEMING: It smoothed out the cyclical thing- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: because, as it relates to the legislative body. And it sort of gets to where you can see it almost in every legislative body. I mean, if things are due-done too abruptly or get too far out of line, as far as the public perception goes, the legislature is going to get its neck wrung. Now, the Kentucky General Assembly got its neck wrung in the Constitution of 1891. Then you had this gradual change. Then the Court of Appeals wrung the legislature's neck in the early '30s, late '20s and '30s. Remember they had had commissions- JEWELL: This is before my time. FLEMING: which the court threw out. You had a tax commission, which was dominated by the legislature. JEWELL: Oh. FLEMING: It had the auditor and on and on, but- JEWELL: I see. FLEMING: And then you had a highway comm--, they were dominated by the legislature. Well, the, because you'd had a fair number of Republican governors. You had, in the '20s- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: you had eight years of them. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: You had eight years, and you'd had eight years in the preceding- JEWELL: Yes. So the- FLEMING: first part of the preceding decade. JEWELL: Right. So the legislature had adopted commissions as a way of getting some influence- FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: with the Republican governors? FLEMING: Um-hm. Right. JEWELL: And this was thrown out by the Court of Appeals and was voted- FLEMING: That's right. It wasn't done to _________(??). And then Laffoon, to a degree, and then "Happy," much more, stepped into that void and really did something to the executive branch. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: Because the first steps were actually made in the Laffoon administration, where you had the finance department, the finance and administration department set up and things like that. And then going full-blown in, in the Chandler administration. JEWELL: This was when Jim Martin was involved in some- FLEMING: All, they're all, young Jim Martin then. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: Clyde Reeves- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: who was younger still. JEWELL: Yes. But when did the Court of Appeals throw out those commissions? FLEMING: I think it was in the late '20s- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: but I don't know precisely what year. JEWELL: I had missed that entirely as a-in a sense and a step toward legislative independence is that far back, but was really a step that was closely tied into the party differences. FLEMING: It was during that era, in which this Griffenhagen, which- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I think was a pretty sound thing at the time, really, (laughes) was really helpful to me in both the-more so than most of the local stuff done. Of course, that was done with- JEWELL: Now, Griffenhagen, is this one person or two people? FLEMING: No, it was an old associates, an accountant and a business manager. JEWELL: I see. FLEMING: And you know that was a big thing in the '20s and '30s, was business managing. JEWELL: Yeah, efficiency and management studies and so forth. FLEMING: We've tried that twice with governors here, you understand. JEWELL: Yes. Yes, I remember that. FLEMING: And the Chandler reorganization, that's where I really started on, you know, on the basis reorganizing. And the fact that the rules of the Kentucky General Assembly sort of set things up already- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: by departments, in terms of what the committees oversaw. JEWELL: What should we cover that we haven't covered already?-what should I have asked you about this period when you were most active in the LRC that we ought to have talked about? FLEMING: Well, it was a lot more political then as far as the director, I'll be honest with you on that. But I didn't mingle them, and it was only-I was always strong for Waterfield. And then Ford, I was strong for Ford. I think that's the first real winner I had since Alben Barkley. JEWELL: But when you say it was more political, you mean that the LRC director was-appointment was highly political, and in order to stay- FLEMING: No, I-yeah, yeah it was. JEWELL: In order to stay in office he had to be politically- FLEMING: Yeah. That's right. Uh-huh. More so than now. JEWELL: on his toes, and build political alliances, yes. FLEMING: And it was political alliances in terms of, not the legislature, but in terms of the governor then. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: Now you don't really have to worry that much- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: about the governor. It sure wasn't the case, because Arthur Lloyd, Arthur Lloyd didn't stay on as director just because of "Happy" Chandler. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I didn't stay on as director, and I think correctly so, because of Bert Combs. JEWELL: Yes. So the period of time you were- FLEMING: And Charlie Wheeler didn't stay on, because I wanted the job. JEWELL: Yeah. Yes. The period of time you were not director was during the Combs administration, because you had been associated- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: with Waterfield before? FLEMING: Yeah. Yeah. JEWELL: And then you came back during the Breathitt administration. FLEMING: See, I had known Breathitt in the General Assembly. JEWELL: Yes. Yes. FLEMING: Had worked with him. And he took a class under me when I doing graduate-I'd still like to know what grade I gave him (Jewell laughs) over at the university. JEWELL: I've never had a governor, one of my former students as governor. I guess Beshear came closest- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: to that. Maybe someday, someday I will. Bill Kenton would have been a possibility. FLEMING: "Boom-Boom." JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: I thought so. I was very fond of "Boom-Boom." JEWELL: Well, he was an interesting- FLEMING: He was a help with the young fellows- JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: on this. Because I liked "Boom-Boom." Actually, I fastened the name "Boom-boom" on him, and it caught with the others in the General Assembly. That's where "Boom-Boom" comes from- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: is the General Assembly. He had his first chance, he got his start under Chandler. JEWELL: Yes, I know. FLEMING: He was a sort of staff guy- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: raising hell and very good prose at the constitution revision during the Breathitt administration. JEWELL: Well, he was an interesting figure in the sense that he was initially, of course, a handpicked leader handpicked by the governor and succeeded as-in holding the job when the Brown administration- FLEMING: Due to his own ability. JEWELL: On his own ability, yes. And was very conscious of the need to strengthen the legislature, and KET coverage of it being one example, and the amendment changing the schedule being designed to be another step in that direction. I think he was as conscious of as any of the other Speakers have been about the importance of trying to establish the legislature's- FLEMING: What errors that were made in that revision are in terms of more attention given to the committee and the operation of the interim committees- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: than as to what this effect in the scheduling of it in relates to the election itself was going to have. JEWELL: And I think it also illustrated the problem we have sometimes had of adopting constitutional amendments without giving much thought to it. I was in the legislature in the gallery the day they approved it, and it was debated for about five minutes after he had explained it. And nobody talked about what the implications of it would be. While we're talking about the constitutional amendment, we might, one thing we might go back to is the, that I meant to talk about, is the efforts that were made at a constitutional amendment for annual sessions. And the first of these, I believe, came up the year after this interim plan, committee and reform was adopted. I think the first one was in '69 that was submitted to the voters and failed to have annual sessions. And I wonder, I've wondered if you had any thoughts about why that effort, those constitutional amendments failed? FLEMING: No, not really of any validity. I wasn't for it. JEWELL: Oh, you were not? FLEMING: No. JEWELL: Why not? FLEMING: I figured if you've got a sixty-day problem-you could meet sixty days anytime you wanted to during the session, during the biennium. JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: That the days you didn't meet, didn't count, that that's all you needed. JEWELL: Well, that's essentially in part what we got when the schedule was changed and they were able to meet at least up through the middle of April. FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: It gave them some flexibility. FLEMING: You had got the practical problem of laws going into effect- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: which could be just sort of like congressional- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: You'd have a rolling revision. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: You couldn't have a massive, complete revision of the statutes. And there's something to be said about the way most states approach where you have a date certain where laws, laws to become effective. And it goes back a little to a trip that some of the legislators and I took when I was director in the Breathitt administration. We had this semi-arrangement-it was more of an arrangement-deal, more an arrangement than deal, which Henry Ward blew by losing the election, that the General Assembly would get the second floor, the court would get the mansion. And the mansion would be on Berry Hill. That was something that, you know, not much over the years was said about that, but that was a pretty solid arrangement. It was going to happen, because there was commitment out of Ward, because the court wanted-I'd worked with the court, I felt the whole second floor would be plenty- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: you know, for us for twenty, thirty years, and then somebody else worry about it. So we started out. We went to North Carolina. It was about six members of the commission and myself. We went to North Carolina, and then we went to Virginia, and then we went to Maryland just for a day, and then we went to Pennsylvania, then we went to Michigan, then we went to Illinois, and back home. And you did that in a week, a little over a week. It was really striking. It moved from part-time legislators almost step by step, the pattern did, to a full-time legislature. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And everybody, all seven of us, God, it kept getting worse and worse (Jewell laughs), quite frankly the type of people you ran into. JEWELL: I see. Yes. Yeah. FLEMING: (Laughs) And that really colored me as far as a completely full-time legislature. We're getting close to that now. JEWELL: Yes. Now, you were on this trip to look at legislative facilities, but- FLEMING: Facilities, but this other thing- JEWELL: Sneaked up on you? FLEMING: kept dawning on us all, and they were, they were members of the leadership. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: They wouldn't have been on the commission, and I remember we were up there in Michigan, and Wendell Van Hoose saying, "My God, Fleming, we can't stand anything like this," (both laugh) you know. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: We were in Lansing the coldest day of the year, as cold as- JEWELL: Yeah. FLEMING: the coldest place in the United States that day. JEWELL: Well, that was at a time when North Carolina just had the new legislative building. FLEMING: Just that- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: Uh-huh. Yeah. JEWELL: Which now, I understand, is inadequate. FLEMING: Oh, yeah. JEWELL: They've decided they're going to have to expand it. And they didn't put in enough facilities for staff and secretaries and things like that. One thing I meant to mention when we were talking about the LRC, in, since Vic Hellard has been director, he seems to have succeeded in establishing a principle of the independence of that office from political- FLEMING: Yes. JEWELL: control. FLEMING: Uh-huh. JEWELL: Of course, it's partly because (unintelligible)- FLEMING: Well, you had a good eight years- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: for the politics of that. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: That's right. JEWELL: But the assumption now is that when, even when a new set of legislative leaders comes in, as we've had in the House, the-nobody thinks of changing the directorship of the LRC. FLEMING: Not just to be changing. JEWELL: Yeah, just to be changing it. It's, that's, I think, one of the major accomplishments. FLEMING: It certainly is. JEWELL: He's established that kind of principle. FLEMING: Yeah. And it's all the more surprising since Vic was an ex-legislator. JEWELL: Yes-on the other hand, having been an ex-legislator he knows something about how to be an effective political operator- FLEMING: Yeah. JEWELL: without being tied to political factions or something. Obviously that job is still a job that requires political finesse and skill and judgment and all the rest of it. It's not- FLEMING: After you get outside of the budget, principally the budget and taxes, there isn't all that much-you recognize as well as anybody else-party politics in the General Assembly. JEWELL: Yes. Yeah. FLEMING: It's personal. JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: And it's pressure-group politics. It's not really party politics. And after seeing politics in the schools and politics in the churches and politics in the universities, sometimes I think the cleanest type of politics is in the (both laugh), something like the General Assembly. JEWELL: Well, is there anything else we need to cover? I guess we've probably- FLEMING: No, you have your list there. JEWELL: Well, we've covered the things on my list, yes. So I think we've probably reached a good stopping point. FLEMING: I think what we did was, what I did, at least over the years, was just to be one of the most fortunate guys, as long as I was in this nature, in work of this nature, of the damn people that I finally ended up being closer to- JEWELL: Um-hm. FLEMING: Dick Moloney. Dick Moloney and I made a trip in '67 right after we did that-on that reorganization. It was a (unintelligible), but went to Detroit, and he was addressing, that's when we, reapportionment- JEWELL: Yes. FLEMING: reapportionment. It was a meeting, a national meeting on reapportionment. We did that. And I spent three days with Dick Moloney and learned more of legislative politics and procedures-this was `63-than I could have learned in fifteen years anyplace else because he didn't have anything else to do and he made sure I didn't have anything else to do. So we really just-and downtown Detroit at that time was no prize to be wandering around in for beginners. And there was Waterfield and Ford. Julian and I were pretty close for a while. I gave Julian one word of advice when he ran for lieutenant governor, "No matter what you do with your money, see that Henry Beach stays in the election" (both laugh). That's what did it. That was the margin, Henry Beach staying in the election. It really took away all, or a substantial amount of John Breckinridge's votes in Jefferson County. Julian, Julian was the best presiding officer, a parliamentarian. He was better than Waterfield. I thought Waterfield was the best till Julian came along. And it's almost a job of a presiding officer is almost by nature, your training doesn't necessarily mean, you had to have the nature too, because one of the better floor fellows ever was on the House floor was Morris Weintraub, until he got a winner and they made him Speaker. And then he had to, because he was all anti. JEWELL: Um-hm. Yeah. FLEMING: You can't be anti in the Kentucky General Assembly- JEWELL: No. FLEMING: and come out on top. JEWELL: Okay. Well, then, of course, Carroll had this, I guess, unique experience in modern times of presiding over both- FLEMING: Both chambers. JEWELL: the House and the Senate. I can't think of- FLEMING: Well, Waterfield had had that. JEWELL: Oh, that's right, Waterfield- FLEMING: But he'd had that really substantial space in time there. JEWELL: Yes. Yeah. FLEMING: Because his ended in '46. JEWELL: Yes. Well, I think we- [End of interview] 1 Former LRC director James Fleming discusses the changing power of the LRC as it became involved in legislative reform efforts in the mid 1960s through the 1970s. Kentucky Legislature