Ky. lawmakers consider bill that would restrict pardoning power of the governor

Kentucky lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict the pardoning power of the...
Kentucky lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict the pardoning power of the governor.(WKYT)
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 4:36 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict the pardoning power of the governor.

This comes after former Governor Matt Bevin issued hundreds of pardons and commutations right before he left office. Some of those included murder cases.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were upset.

“They disgusted me then, they disgust me now,” Republican Senator Christian McDaniel said.

“I don’t know what his motivations were for issuing all those pardons and how he did it,” said Sen. Morgan McGarvey, minority floor leader.

Sen. McDaniel is sponsoring Senate Bill 149. It prevents the governor from granting pardons or commuting sentences 30 days before a gubernatorial election up to the fifth Tuesday after the election.

“It does not strip the ability to issue a pardon. It merely makes it impossible to not stand in front of the voters after you do it,” Sen. McDaniel said.

Yet some Democratic lawmakers feel the bill is unnecessary.

“You got to have a check on the judicial branch, which is what the executive branch is, but you also don’t want to completely handcuff the executive branch in what it’s trying to do,” Sen. McGarvey said.

Governor Andy Beshear talked about the pardons issued by his former opponent.

“The worst pardons we have seen in the history of the commonwealth of Kentucky to people who committed heinous crimes,” Gov. Beshear said.

He said he’s worried about making changes based on the actions of one governor.

“I think the solution is to elect reasonable people who would never ever do something like that,” Beshear said.

Senate Bill 149 calls for amending the state constitution, which means even if it passes through the legislature, it would still have to be approved by voters.

The bill passed out of committee and now it heads to the Senate floor.

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