A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

On last day for new bills, Stivers introduces three on employees of governor’s office, executive orders

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Wednesday was the last day for new bills to be filed in the Kentucky Senate and three of them introduced by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, affect employees of the governor’s office as well as a governor’s powers under executive orders.

Senate Bill 269, regarding pay of employees of the governor, states, “Any person who has not retired from any of the state-administered retirement systems shall not be compensated as an employee under this section in an amount greater than 25 percent above any prior state service compensation.”

When asked if this was directed at anyone, Stivers replied, “No. It’s something institutionally that we’ve always been about, on how you ‘spike’ your pension. We can’t change the pension system, but we can set a pay scale.” 

Sen. Robert Stivers (Photo by Tom Latek/Kentucky Today)

This would appear to affect Rocky Adkins, a long-time legislator who now serves as Senior Adviser to Gov. Andy Beshear; Dennis Keene, who served 14 years in the House before becoming commissioner of the Department for Local Government; and Dorsey Ridley a former three-term state senator who is Beshear’s director of Legislative Services.

SB 270, which deals with executive branch ethics, says, “An executive agency lobbyist, employer or real party in interest shall not make a campaign contribution to an elected executive official, a candidate, or his or her campaign committee.”

SB 271 gives lawmakers oversight of any executive order issued by a governor if it deals with the reorganization of state agencies or “other matters pertaining to the operation or official policy of the government of Kentucky.”

According to the bill, executive orders in those two areas would not take effect until 35 days after they are filed with the Secretary of State.

Each would be referred to a House or Senate committee, which would have 30 days to review them to report findings including if the majority of the committee finds objections.

Executive orders dealing with an operation or official policy that the committee objects to would require the Legislative Research Commission to draft bills for the next regular session of the General Assembly, which if passed would declare the executive order “null, void and unenforceable,” upon final passage.

The governor would be banned from issuing an executive order that is identical or substantially the same as the one voided by the General Assembly.

Every September, the governor would have to provide the LRC a list of all executive orders issued, identifying which should remain in effect and which should be repealed. Any one not specified would automatically end on October 1.

Another provision of the bill states that any administrative agency created by a governor shall automatically cease to exist 90 days after his or her term ends unless lawmakers establish it by law.

A spokesman for the governor’s office issued the following statement: “Gov. Beshear is attempting to change the tone in Frankfort and bring people together. The people of Kentucky want results, not partisan games.”

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