Republican Senator Matt Castlen on Thursday prefiled legislation that would limit the time frame executive orders or directives issued by Kentucky’s governor could be in effect during a state of emergency to 30 days, unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly.
“I filed this bill today because I’m a firm believer in government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Castlen said. “We are the closest branch to the community. We live here and work here. What’s good for Metro Louisville isn’t necessarily good for Calhoun.”
Upon expiration of the executive order declaring an emergency, the new bill would also keep the governor from declaring a new emergency or continuing to implement any of the powers without approval from the General Assembly.
“This spreads the power out so that what we’ve seen in this pandemic doesn’t happen again,” Castlen said. “I believe the governor has abused his executive powers and I believe a bill like this will ensure that this doesn’t happen again. This ensures fair representation for all Kentuckians.”
Castlen said while he doesn’t agree with all the decisions and orders by Gov. Andy Beshear, the new bill is not targeted specifically to counter his actions.
“It’s easy to look in hindsight and know what should have been done,” Castlen said. “I’m not saying Beshear did a terrible job, because this is the first time decisions like that ever had to be made and you don’t know what is right or wrong at the time. But, we learn from all that. This bill will help make sure the right decisions are made in the future.”
Castlen said the bill would only really come into effect under abnormal circumstances — such as a pandemic — because most states of emergency are for short-term disasters such as tornadoes.
The bill would be introduced to the General Assembly in January 2021 and would go through the normal legislative process before it could be voted on and enacted.
Castlen said the legislation should draw support from both political parties, as it is designed to help all Kentuckians.
“This should be a bipartisan bill,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter whether the governor is a Republican or Democrat. It’s about helping balance the power and protecting people across the state.”
The following amendments were made with Castlen’s Bill Request 41 for an act relating to emergencies (full details here):
- Amend KRS 39A.090 to limit the effective dates of executive orders issued by the Governor to 30 days unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly, and prohibit the Governor from issuing a new executive order relating to the same emergency without the approval of the General Assembly
- Amend KRS 39A.100 to allow an executive order relating to elections to remain in effect regardless of the time limitations in KRS 39A.090
- Amend KRS 39A.180 to limit administrative regulations promulgated under KRS 39A.180 to 30 days unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly
- Amend KRS 214.020 to limit administrative regulations promulgated under KRS 214.020 to 30 days unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly
- Amend KRS 241.090 to limit the emergency jurisdiction and peace officer status of administrators and investigators under the alcohol beverage control board to the limitations in KRS 39A.090
- Amend KRS 315.500 to prevent the time limitations of KRS 39A.090 from affecting the emergency distribution of pharmaceuticals
- Amend KRS 39A.374 to prevent the time limitations of KRS 39A.090 from affecting the limitations on increased prices during an emergency.