KY Republican lawmakers focus on executive powers during 1st day of session

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Tuesday was the first day of the 2021 legislative session in Frankfort and republican lawmakers made it clear limiting the governor’s executive powers in a state emergency is a priority this session.

The senate and the house both convened Tuesday at noon. In the senate, the first two bills brought up involved the governor’s emergency powers.

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Republican lawmakers have been looking to limit Governor Andy Beshear’s emergency powers in wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

They criticize Beshear for not asking for their input before issuing dozens of executive orders to stop the spread of the virus.

The first bill filed in the senate Tuesday would limit any executive orders from the governor to 30 days. After that time, the General Assembly would have to meet in a special session to approve an extension. It would also ban the governor from issuing a new executive order relating to the same emergency without legislative approval.

Republicans say Senate Bill 2 deals with section 13A of the constitution, which allows the governor to issue executive orders during a state emergency.

“As a leader, when you go forward and when you’re selling a policy or selling a plan you try to gain a consensus with those that are in management level that are decision makers,” Republican Senator Danny Carroll, of Paducah, said in favor of the bills. “The governor made no effort to do that whatsoever.”

“We should have learned some lessons – that we are all in this together – to be able to see what other people are ensuring and what some people are enduring on a daily basis,” Democratic Senator Morgan McGarvey, of Louisville, said against the bills.

Lawmakers return to the capitol Wednesday and are expected to begin tackling another priority during this shortened session – pass a one-year budget.