Senate passes SB1 to give legislature ability to override regulations year-round

02/06/2014 05:43 PM

The Senate voted down party lines Thursday to approve a constitutional amendment that would give a legislative body the authority to strike down regulations even when the General Assembly wasn’t in session.

Senate Bill 1 — the Senate Republican majority’s top priority for 2014 — passed 24-14, with all 14 Democrats voting against it. Republican Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville was absent for the vote.

The bill now heads to the House, where it would need 60 votes to pass because it’s a constitutional amendment. Then if approved by voters in the November election, it would allow the General Assembly to give an eight-person legislative panel the authority to reject any executive regulation that the committee members believe does not meet legislative intent.

Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, sponsor of the bill, said that the bill is meant to equalize the balance of power.

“It is the legislature’s responsibility as the law-making body of government to determine what public policy should govern the people,” said Bowen.

Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, said she has been concerned about how the governor and the executive branch agencies have imposed regulations after the legislative session has concluded.

“I’ve seen time and time and time again across administrations, the manipulation of these regulations on timing to make sure that we’re not here to do anything about them,” Denton said.

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, expressed concern that a panel of eight would ultimately decide what regulations should be struck down. He said he would rather see lawmakers called back into session if a questionable regulation is implemented.

“If ever executive action were taken on an act which was deficient, that within 30 days thereof, this body, the General Assembly, would automatically reconvene,” said Thomas.

Speaker of the Hous Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Thursday that he agreed with the concept of Senate Bill 1, but said there’s a better way to do it other than a constitutional amendment.

“I agree with what he’s trying to do, to get more legislative oversight, to rate the regulatory process which sometimes — even though it’s not supposed to have an effect of law — it does. But, I don’t think the approach he used is the best approach.”


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