"This stinker of an idea doesn't deserve passage," Keeling wrote.
"When did Dick Cheney's mind invade Greg Stumbo's body and transform him into David Williams' Mini-Me?" Keeling asked. He also dubbed the bill, introduced last week in both House and Senate, the "KGB" bill, as in "Kentucky (Power) Grab Bill," and likened the proposed new agency to the "Court of the Star Chamber."
The bill would set up a body called the General Assembly Accountability and Review Division, which would investigate other state agencies. Its proceedings would be exempt from open records laws even after investigations had been concluded.
"And just as the Court of the Star Chamber (under England's Henry VIII and other kings) provided a means by which those monarchs consolidated power, GAARD is all about a consolidation of power that would allow the legislative branch of state government to micromanage the executive branch and thumb its nose at the judicial branch ... -- all in the name of 'accountability,' 'transparency,' and that evergreen standard 'eliminating waste, fraud and abuse'," Keeling wrote.
The bill, sponsored by Senate President Williams and House Speaker Stumbo, has drawn sharp criticism from open government advocates and expressions of concern from Gov. Steve Beshear and others.
For the full text of Keeling's column, go to http://www.kentucky.com/974/story/706134.html.
For a full text of the Senate bill, which is identical to the House version, go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/SB188.htm.