After Democratic Governor Wins In Kentucky, Republicans Seek To Limit His Powers

JakeThomas

Kentucky Republicans are looking to strip the governor's power as it relates to the Transportation Department.

Republican lawmakers in Kentucky are poised to begin stripping powers from Democratic Governor-elect Andy Beshear, whose recent win ousted GOP Governor Matt Bevin, according to local news outlet WDRB.

State Senate leaders are supporting a bill “that would limit the governor’s power to name a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary, essentially shifting that role to a citizen board nominated by influential business and government groups.”

The bill would also make the Transportation Secretary subject to Senate confirmation, the report states, which would make the post the sole cabinet position with such a requirement.

Senator Jimmy Higdon, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the bill has nothing to do with Beshear’s recent win, telling WDRB: “It’s not directed at (anyone). We had no idea who the governor would be when that was filed.”

The board established by the bill “would develop the first draft of the state’s two-year road budget and base it on an ‘objective scoring system,’” with the goal, Higdon said, of insulating the transportation spending process from political influence.

Three major lobbying groups — the Kentucky Association of Counties, the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce — would nominate one person from each of the state’s congressional districts to sit on the board, and another three at-large candidates. The governor would then appoint nine members to the board from this list of candidates, and the Senate would confirm the appointments.

Louisville transportation advocate Jackie Cobb told WDRB that the bill would hand an “exceptional amount of power” to the three lobbying organizations and questioned whether urban areas would be adequately represented.

She also pointed out that the criteria laid out for the board to rank transportation projects “glaringly omits environmental impact.”

“That -- on its own -- should make this legislation disqualifying,” Cobb said.

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