House bill would restrict power of Louisville's mayor, strengthe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

House bill would restrict power of Louisville's mayor, strengthen Metro Council

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill filed by six Republican lawmakers would lessen the power of Louisville’s mayor and give more authority to Metro Council and Kentucky’s governor.

House Bill 202 would dramatically change the way Metro Government operates. Among other things, it would limit any Louisville mayor after Greg Fischer to two terms instead of three.

It would also give Metro Council more authority to fill vacancies on the city's various boards and commissions. The council could also issue subpoenas, giving it more power to investigate city agencies.

The bill would also create the office of deputy mayor.

"What this basically does, it balances the power between both branches, the executive branch and the Metro Council," said former Metro Council member Ken Fleming, one of the bill's sponsors.

Fleming said Fischer has too much power, and that it "needs to be more balanced."

Fischer calls the bill an insult.

“The citizens of Louisville voted on the merger bill in 2001, so for this power grab by Frankfort to take place, it's a real insult to the citizens of Louisville,” he said.

Fischer especially bristles at the part of the bill which gives Gov. Matt Bevin power to appoint a mayor and council members if there's a vacancy.

“Let the citizens of Louisville determine what the local government should be,” Fischer said.

Metro Council President David Yates says some changes are needed to Metro Government, but he's unhappy that he was not consulted.

“While there can be some tinkering, things that we can do and ... I would hope that it's not any type of partisan play,” Yates said.

But backers say the bill does have support from council members on both sides of the aisle.

“This is a cleanup, in many ways," said Republican Council member Robin Engel. "This is a cleanup of the merger legislation for good government."

Fleming denied any partisan when WDRB asked if he would do this if the mayor of Louisville were Republican.

“Political affiliation really doesn't matter when it comes to good government,” Fleming said.

Supporters believe the bill can pass this session, even though there are just three week left, and some big issues are still on the table.

You can read House Bill 202 here.

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