FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A Republican-controlled Senate committee on Wednesday approved GOP leaders' top priority for the session, a bill to limit the powers of Kentucky's governor, although the measure faces scrutiny in the House.
The legislation would allow lawmakers to strike down Gov. Steve Beshear's administrative regulations, like those that have implemented the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky. It passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee despite opposition from Democrats.
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said Beshear has too much power to make decisions during the nine months lawmakers are out of session every year.
"I believe the legislature should be strong," he said. "It's the body that's closest to the people."
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, said he is willing to work with Stivers on the legislation. But Stumbo said the measure will faces changes if it clears the Senate and comes to the Democrat-controlled House.
Under the legislation, Kentucky's governor would still be allowed to issue administrative regulations. During the following legislative session, lawmakers could undo the regulations they found objectionable.
Senate Democrats said the governor should have the ability to make decisions instead of worrying about partisan backlash.
"I think it's important that we give the executive some flexibility, on the ground, on a day-to-day basis, to make some judgments," said Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville.
The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration.