Senate Republicans Look To Scale Back Governor's Powers

Jan 3, 2014

Senate Republicans are pressing for a constitutional amendment that would limit the governor’s ability to issue administrative regulations.

The move comes a year after Gov. Steve Beshear opted to expand Medicaid and create a state-run health insurance exchange under the new health law.

The GOP-backed amendment would prevent a regulation issued by the governor or the executive branch from taking effect if lawmakers decide it is “deficient.”

The governor and executive agencies institute roughly 700 regulations a year to implement laws approved by the legislature. Republican Senate leader Robert Stivers told the Herald-Leader the amendment his caucus plans to put forward early in the 2014 session is not aimed personally at Gov. Beshear but instead reflects a broader concern that the government’s estimated 4,000 regulations are excessive.

Still, Republicans have been highly critical of Beshear’s decision to implement the federal health care law without legislative approval. The governor, a Democrat, had no immediate comment on the amendment.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo wrote in an email that he agrees with the principle of the legislature having oversight with regard to government agencies, but did not indicate whether he would support the measure.