Stumbo challenges governor
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo filed suit Wednesday challenging the validity of Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of budget bill items and other House bills.
Stumbo contends Bevin and his staff did not follow the process outlined in the Kentucky Constitution for filing vetoes — delivering the vetoes improperly to the House clerk rather than the Secretary of State’s Office as well as other procedural mistakes that make the vetoes void.
If Kentucky courts ultimately rule for Stumbo, the ruling would restore state funding for the many vetoed items large and small including the House’s priority
While “hardline, far-right Republicans” may not believe that, he said, “If you’re an average Kentuckian you understand I took an oath to uphold the constitution.”
Jessica Ditto, spokeswoman for Bevin, said in a statement that the vetoes conform with the constitution and are
The suit was filed in Franklin
Stumbo said Bevin wrongly delivered these vetoes on April 27 to the clerk of the House. Because the House had adjourned April 15, Stumbo said Bevin was required by the constitution to deliver them to the Secretary of State.
Stumbo said that later that day Bevin’s office requested the vetoes be returned because of the incorrect delivery, but the House clerk had already left for the day with Stumbo’s permission.
“The clerk had somewhere she had to go that afternoon. I said, ‘Well, 4:30 is the time that we
But Ditto said Bevin’s office asked that the vetoes be returned “because the House clerk was refusing to deliver them to (the Secretary of State’s Office) after saying she would. They were literally locked up in the speaker’s office. She told us she would deliver them after she ran an errand.”
Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson declined to respond to Ditto.
Unable to get the original vetoes back, Bevin’s staff delivered copies to the Secretary of State’s Office. Stumbo said that wasn’t good enough because the Kentucky Constitution requires original vetoes to be filed along with the original bills being vetoed, which Stumbo said were also not filed.
One veto that Stumbo said he’s not challenging is Senate Bill 245 — the controversial bill that would have complied with a federal mandate that Kentucky issue driver’s licenses that meet federal security
Stumbo said other legal problems with the vetoes include: five of the more than 30 parts of the budget bill that Bevin vetoed do not include a required message explaining why he deleted them; the governor’s vetoes of items in the highway construction bill are invalid because it is not an appropriations bill and — as such — the governor cannot veto parts of it and must either veto either all or none of it.
The lawsuit also says the vetoes were “facially defective” because they were not signed by Bevin on April 27 when he “was not present in the Commonwealth or the country on that date.” Bevin was on a state trade mission in Europe when the vetoes were issued, but his General Counsel insists the vetoes were properly signed by autopen on Bevin’s authority.
And the lawsuit challenges one nonbudget issue: the validity of Senate Bill 296, creating a Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. Stumbo said that bill cannot be law because he never signed it. He said the bill was not delivered to him for his signature until after the General Assembly adjourned April 15.
By Tom Loftus