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Judge strikes down law changing Kentucky ethics commission selections

J. Tyler Franklin

A Kentucky judge has struck down a measure that would weaken Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s appointment authority.

The measure aimed to shift power to Republican officials to select a majority of members to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Jefferson Circuit Judge McKay Chauvin ruled Monday. He said the measure “diminishes and diverts” the governor’s constitutional duty to ensure the executive branch ethics code is “faithfully executed.”

He said that by shifting appointment authority away from the governor, the law empowered other constitutional officers who aren’t “charged with that same constitutional duty.”

The GOP-dominated legislature passed the measure this year over Beshear’s veto.

In a statement, GOP Senate President Robert Stivers said Republicans would appeal the ruling.

“The Kentucky General Assembly established the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and maintains the constitutional authority to modify its enabling statute,” he said.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.