Measure aimed at strengthening checks and balances passes House
Measure could set up conflict between Democratic governor and Republican Legislature
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)– The Kentucky House approved legislation aimed at providing another step of accountability in the regulatory process on Monday. The measure, HB 337, was filed by Representative David Hale, House Chair of the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee.
“The Kentucky Constitution speaks clearly about the separation of powers. The legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch implements them, and the judicial branch enforces them. HB 337 provides a check and a balance to the administrative regulation process to prevent the executive branch from using the regulatory process to make law,” Hale said.
Currently, the regulatory process is used by executive branch agencies and programs to set policies when the legislature is not in session. The regulations created by the executive branch are reviewed by legislative committees, which have the ability to approve them, rule them deficient, or pass and let them take effect without action. However, even a deficient ruling does not prevent the regulation from ultimately taking effect as the executive branch entity can still move forward. While deficiencies are rare—only seven were handed down over the last two years—the precedent is incredibly dangerous.
If passed, HB 337 would require the executive branch to appeal to the Attorney General in the event a regulation is found deficient. According to Hale, the additional oversight acts as a prevention tool.
“This is about creating a more comprehensive approach to the administrative regulation review process. When a regulation is considered deficient, there need to be several sets of eyes on it to determine how it can be resolved.” said Representative Hale. “Policies like this must stand the test of time and benefit the commonwealth for administrations to come. The executive branch will still have the authority to use the regulatory process. In fact, more accountability will only strengthen the process.”
The measure likely will be another confrontation between the Democratic administration of Gov. Andy Beshear and the Republican-dominated Legislature.
HB 337 now heads to the Senate after passing the House Monday. For more information, visit legislature.ky.gov.