Kentucky's AG files lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin over executive order reorganizing education boards
The attorney general called the governor's move "unconstitutional" and "illegal."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit over a recent executive order by Governor Matt Bevin to reorganize several state education boards, according to a news release from Beshear's office.
On June 7, Beshear gave Bevin one week to rescind his order. The attorney general called the governor's move "unconstitutional" and "illegal."
"But I gave him time," Beshear said. "I wanted him to think through what he'd done."
As the deadline approached, the governor's office responded. On Wednesday, Bevin's attorney, Steve Pitt, sent a letter to Beshear which said the governor’s office planned "certain modifications" to Bevin's order -- and Beshear said then that he would hold off on filing the lawsuit until he reviewed the changes.
"It appears that, at least, some action will be taken," Beshear said. "I don't know that it will be sufficient, but I do want to see what it is."
But on Tuesday afternoon, Beshear announced his view that the changes didn't go far enough.
"The governor’s refusal to rescind or materially alter his unconstitutional executive orders dissolving and reorganizing independent education boards has caused my office to file a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court. The governor could have avoided this lawsuit simply by following the law. A governor does not have 'absolute authority' over state boards and cannot ignore, suspend and rewrite laws passed by the general assembly that create independent boards, outline their structure and set mandatory terms for their members. My job as attorney general is to enforce the Constitution, to maintain the separation of powers and to ensure no branch of government exceeds its powers granted to it by the people. Everyone must follow the law, regardless of position and regardless of party."
But Gov. Bevin's office was quick to respond, calling Bevin's executive order "legal, proper and in the best interest of our students." It also accuses Beshear of selectively applying the law, taking the same action to re-organize his own office.
The following statement is from Woody Maglinger, Gov. Bevin's press secretary:
Gov. Bevin’s use of KRS 12.028 to reorganize the Board of Education and other education-related boards is legal, proper and in the best interest of our students. Attorney General Andy Beshear's latest lawsuit is just another example of him placing politics above the law. Last year AG Beshear used the same statute to re-organize his office, and the General Assembly refused to accept his proposed changes. Why didn't he look in the mirror and sue himself? Why isn't he being honest with the people of Kentucky?
Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.