Bill seeks to send big legal cases to statewide judges

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill to allow state officials to bypass having their legal cases heard by a circuit judge criticized by Gov. Matt Bevin.

The measure sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers won 26-9 approval Thursday. It now goes to the House.

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The bill reflects long-held concerns from some lawmakers that judges in Franklin County Circuit Court wield too much power in deciding cases of statewide consequence. One of those judges, Phillip Shepherd, struck down a public pension law last year. The state Supreme Court upheld his ruling. Even before that ruling, Bevin called Shepherd an “incompetent hack.”

The measure would set up a process to avoid having cases heard in Franklin County.

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. spoke out against the bill during a committee hearing.



The legislation is Senate Bill 2.