Gov. Bevin declines to seek rehearing in Supreme Court case

10/13/2016 01:55 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration will not seek a second hearing before the Kentucky Supreme Court after the high court ruled 5-2 that the governor overstepped his authority by ordering current-year cuts to universities’ fourth-quarter allotments earlier this year.

Bevin’s office had until Wednesday to ask for a rehearing 20 days after the high court’s decision. Amanda Stamper, Bevin’s spokeswoman, said the $18 million that had been withheld from most state universities “will be released in due course upon order of the Franklin Circuit Court.”

“This was a bad decision for Kentucky and the ramifications from Attorney General’s political lawsuit could be significant,” Stamper said in a statement.

“Moody’s called the decision a ‘credit negative’ for Kentucky because it limits Governor Bevin’s ability to manage difficult budget scenarios in light of Kentucky’s $35 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Governor Bevin remains committed to fighting to protect the pensions of teachers and state workers and making Kentucky a more attractive place for jobs.”

Bevin’s decision to reduce the last round of allotments for universities by 2 percent sparked a lawsuit from Attorney General Andy Beshear.

While Franklin Circuit Court sided with Bevin, a majority of Supreme Court justices ruled that state law prohibits a governor from trimming universities’ budgets because the legislature deemed them “independent bodies politic with their own expenditures.”

Beshear, in a statement, called Thursday “a victory for the rule of law in the Commonwealth.”

“As the supreme court [sic] noted, everyone, even the governor, is bound by the law,” he said. “This money is needed to offset the damage to our students, faculty and their families caused by Gov. Bevin’s massive education cuts. The governor should immediately release these funds.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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