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Senate Committee Moves On Bill To Give Legislature Final Say On Regulations

A measure designed to rein in the authority of the executive branch to issue regulations successfully emerged from a Senate committee Wednesday.

Only a day after Gov. Steve Beshear was recognized by President Obama for his efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act, the Senate Committee on State and Local Government debated the merits of Senate Bill 1, which would place a hurdle in front of administrative regulations like the one Beshear used to create Kentucky’s health exchanges.  

The latest version of SB1 calls for a constitutional amendment that would grant a yet-to-be-determined committee or group the power to effectively veto regulations.

"It should be our ability, not when we come into a session, but to set an administrative way to review these regulations to make sure that they don't go into effect because they are outside the realm of the legislative intent," Senate President Robert Stivers told the committee.

The bill passed 7 to 4, but not without a feisty exchange between lawmakers.

Several committee members raised concerns about the separation of powers and the wisdom of potentially placing ultimate authority over regulations in the hands of a small group.

"I think we've got to have flexibility in the executive to do what they have to do. We can micro-manage from the legislative standpoint, but the reality is that the executive branch was designed to and does carry out the function of implementation of policy," Sen. Gerald Neal says.

Stivers did not indicate that he's spoken to House leaders about the bill, but told reporters he hopes Speaker Stumbo would consider it. The measure would require a change to the state constitution to be put on the November ballot.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.