Stivers says there was no influence from governor to file amendment stripping AG's office of some powers

03/08/2017 09:50 PM

FRANKFORT – Senate President Robert Stivers says that his amendment to House Bill 281 which would strip the Attorney General’s office of some powers was his idea alone and not Gov. Matt Bevin’s.

Stivers’ amendment would only allow the attorney general to sue in five types of cases, including Medicaid fraud and consumer protection, and give the rest of his civil power to the governor.

HB 281 was heard on Wednesday morning by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but no vote was taken.

Beshear has sued the governor and won in cases involving the cutting of university budgets as well as a reorganization of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees.

Stivers claims that Bevin did not push him to file the amendment.

“No, plain, clear, simple, that’s why I wanted to establish it through my career, and you can go back and see how many times I have complained on this Senate floor about an overreach,” Stivers said.

Stivers believes that Beshear has chosen a number of his legal fights as AG based on the political agenda of his party, such as when he filed a brief saying that the Kentucky counties could not by local ordinance adopt right-to-work.

“There is this belief that the attorney general is the voice within the courts in the commonwealth and that’s not true,” Stivers said. “In no way did we try to strip him of the authority related to consumer protection actions, criminal cases, investigations for Medicaid fraud. We didn’t do that.”

Stivers was noncommittal about the future of the legislation, but said that Beshear needs to be more constructive in his response.

“We’re looking at it, but instead of complaining about how this takes his power away in certain areas, what I would say is don’t throw rocks, you know, come with constructive criticism and tell us how can we make sure you do have those powers and we don’t impede or infringe on consumer protection, on Medicaid fraud cases, or anything of that nature,” Stivers said.

The next Senate Committee on Judiciary is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14.


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