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GAARD Bill Put On Hold

Even after being revised, legislation creating an investigative arm of the Kentucky General Assembly is being put on hold.

Among those expressing concerns about creation of the General Assembly Accountability and Review Division, or GAARD, were Governor Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and State Auditor Crit Luallen.

Among their concerns…costs, duplication and secrecy. Responding to the criticism, House Speaker Greg Stumbo revised the bill, making GAARD reports and findings subject to Open Records laws. But Stumbo says he won’t seek passage of the measure this session.

 
“I thought the suggestions were good. I thought the debate was good. And I think that whenever we get around to acting upon this, assuming that we do, that it will be a good piece of legislation,” Stumbo said.

The bill got a thorough airing before the House State Government committee, but the committee took no action. Speaker Stumbo says he will ask lawmakers to fine-tune the bill during the upcoming interim, for consideration in a later session.

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GAARD Bill To Get First Hearing In Frankfort

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A bill that would create an investigative arm of the Kentucky General Assembly gets its first hearing in a House committee today.

House and Senate leaders have taken a lot of heat over legislation aimed at creating the General Assembly Accountability and Review Division, or GAARD.

Attorney General Jack Conway, State Auditor Crit Luallen and the Kentucky Press Association have all expressed concerns about the division, which could audit and investigate any public agency. Senate President David Williams says the fears are unfounded.

“I think this bill has been wrongly criticized as being an attempt to reach out into prosecutorial activity. The bottom line of it is, is that it is an attempt to allow the legislature to have information,” Williams said.

Identical bills creating GAARD have been introduced by Senator Williams and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Stumbo’s bill is scheduled to receive its first hearing in the House State Government committee this afternoon.

This is the 19th day of the 30-day session, which officially adjourns on March 27th.