Kentucky GOP Leaders Talk 2020 Legislative Priorities

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A new Democratic governor will preside over the state capitol in 2020, but Republican majorities in both the House and Senate will remain.

Senate President Robert Stivers doesn’t think Governor Andy Beshear will be able to pursue some of his more liberal policies.

“I don’t think that a person who ran on a statewide race, that won for governor, misinterprets the numbers of what happened that night and the realities of (Speaker of the House) David Osborne being the leader in his chamber and I, being the leader of mine, as some type of mandate,” Stivers said.

Stivers and Osborne both spoke to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Monday as part of the Chamber’s 2020 legislative preview summit.

“I think that we’ve shown, both Robert and I in the Senate and House, that we will work with whoever we need to work with,” Osborne said.

Both men also offered thoughts on former Governor Matt Bevin’s controversial pardons, and whether or not the governor’s pardon power should be limited.

Osborne said he’s hesitant to pull that power away.

“There have certainly been a lot of very, very productive, good uses of pardon powers in the past, and I want to be very slow to start drawing that back in too much,” Osborne said. “I think it’s a very, very important power that the executives of our country have, and we need to be careful about messing with that too much.”

Stivers is more open to the idea.

“Anytime you start tinkering with the document of creation for this Commonwealth, you have to be very, very methodical and well thought out in what you do,” Stivers said. “But I think it is a good point to start the discussion, because the shock value of what happened has created quite a bipartisan atmosphere of questioning of the circumstances around 15 or 20 pardons.”

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said he plans to introduce legislation to curb the governor’s pardon powers.