Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Governor has reservations about proposed investigative agency

Gov. Steve Beshear voiced concerns Tuesday morning about the secrecy that would be allowed a legislative investigative agency proposed by the top leaders of the House and Senate.

Beshear said on WHAS Radio that he will talk with House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams, who are sponsoring bills that would create the General Assembly Accountability and Review Division, which would have power to investigate other state agencies.

“One of the initial concerns I have is with the secrecy part of it,” Beshear told Francene Cucinello, the station’s late-morning talk show host. The bill would exempt the agency from the state's open records law. Its records and investigations would remain a secret even after probes were completed.

“This administration is committed to transparency," Beshear said later in the interview. Cucinello, who goes by her first name, opposes the bill and has spent a good deal of air time doing so.

Her next guest was Al Mayo, Frankfort correspondent for Clear Channel stations, who predicted, “I think there’ll be some changes in this bill.” He said Stumbo’s bill, House Bill 540, is identical to the one filed by Williams, Senate Bill 188.

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