Faced with a weakening of his executive powers, Kentucky’s Democratic governor has offered an outline for potential compromises in a letter to top Republican legislative leaders.
Gov. Andy Beshear sent the letter to House Speaker David Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers last week, soon after the governor vetoed a series of GOP-backed bills that would limit his executive authority, including in times of emergency.
The governor doesn’t have much leverage unless he can mobilize public support for his proposals. Republican lawmakers have the numbers to override the governor’s vetoes when they resume their session in early February.
The governor has said the measures would hamper the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. Beshear’s letter stated his “strong preference” is to hold off on legislation altering executive powers until Kentucky has overcome the pandemic. But he told the House and Senate leaders that his letter was an attempt to “provide a potential framework for discussion and compromise.”
“If the General Assembly is determined — even in the midst of a deadly pandemic and in spite of our comparatively successful response — on passing legislation, then I recommend we discuss narrowly tailoring that legislation to address concerns that you raise,” the governor wrote.
The legislative leaders did not immediately respond when their offices were asked Tuesday about Beshear’s suggestions. The governor’s letter was obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request.
Stivers recently told The Courier Journal that top lawmakers would be open to negotiations if the governor showed a willingness to discuss other ways to address the emergency powers issues.