FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Calling it a “recipe for secrecy,” Kentucky’s governor vetoed a measure Tuesday intended to shield state lawmakers from court appeals when requests to review their records are denied.
Gov. Andy Beshear said the bill “defeats the entire purpose” of the state’s open records law.
The legislation generated a backlash from open-records advocates but passed the Republican-led legislature by comfortable margins – more than enough to override the Democratic governor’s veto. Lawmakers will reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session.
His criticism focused on a provision intended to give Kentucky lawmakers the ability to deny requests for legislative records without risk of a court appeal.
The bill is aimed at removing the opportunity to appeal a denial of legislative records to Franklin County Circuit Court. Instead, the intent is for appeals to be heard by a panel of legislative leadership from both parties.
“The bill would shield the legislative branch from providing public records and would make it the sole judge of what records it should produce, with no ability for a citizen to appeal that decision to a judge,” the governor said at a news conference. “That is a recipe for secrecy.”
The legislation is House Bill 312.
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