Bevin still weighing options over Supreme Court ruling on university budget cuts

09/26/2016 06:32 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin is looking at his options after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 5-2 last week that Bevin overstepped his authority in making 4.5 percent unilateral cuts to most public universities.

Bevin says that, by law, he and his staff have some time before deciding whether to try to get the Supreme Court revisit the case one more time.

“We’re in the process of looking at our options, and that is the nature of these things
whenever there is a ruling,” Bevin said. “Each side has a period of days, in this case 20 days, to determine next steps and we’re in the process of doing exactly that.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit against Bevin over the cuts to public universities, arguing that the governor doesn’t have the authority to reduce spending levels unless there’s a budget shortfall.

Currently, there are four other cases involving Bevin.

Bevin abolished the University of Louisville board of trustees and appointed a new board, saying that the board had become dysfunctional.

Beshear filed suit saying that the governor doesn’t have the legal authority to abolish the entire board, and that case is pending with a circuit court ruling expected soon. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a temporary injunction blocking Bevin’s reorganization executive order until the case is resolved.

Bevin also issued an order replacing Thomas Elliott as chairman of the board of the Kentucky Retirement Systems, added four new members, established new policies and gave the governor the power to select the board chair and vice chair.

Elliott filed suit, with Beshear later joining the case in Franklin Circuit Court.

The third lawsuit against Bevin came from House Speaker Greg Stumbo, after Bevin vetoed some House bills and parts of the state budget passed by the General Assembly.

Stumbo’s suit claimed Bevin’s actions were illegal because of “procedural mistakes,” and a ruling is expected soon.

Finally, Bevin’s reorganization of the commission that nominates candidates for appointment as judges who preside over workers’ comp cases has been challenged as a previous member of the commission filed suit along with Teamsters Local 89, the Kentucky AFL-CIO, and three workers with workers’ comp claims.

The final hearing is expected on Thursday, and a ruling is expected in the next few weeks.

Bevin isn’t worried that the decision that the courts decision in the higher education cuts law suit is a bad sign for him as far as the other cases are concerned.

“Every case is separate and different and the law should matter,” Bevin said. “It concerns me that there was no actual reference to the law.”

Even though the challenges to the governors authority are somewhat unprecedented,
Bevin says don’t expect him to back down in the future.

“Here’s the reality: I don’t have all the answers,” he said. “There’s not one person who knows everything and does everything perfectly, but I am a believer in following the actual rule of law.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.