FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A legislative panel took no action on impeachment petitions against Kentucky’s governor and attorney general after meeting behind closed doors for more than 3 1/2 hours Wednesday.
Once the lawmakers reconvened in public, the House Impeachment Committee chairman said that motions filed in conjunction with the petition seeking the ouster of GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron would be denied. The chairman, Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, then adjourned the meeting.
A follow-up committee meeting was not immediately announced, and Nemes declined to take questions from reporters afterward. The panel consists of four Republicans and three Democrats.
At the outset of the meeting, Nemes announced that separate citizen’s petitions seeking the impeachment of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear had been received. He said those efforts would be referred to as the “Beshear 2” and “Beshear 3” impeachment petitions.
It continues the flurry of impeachment petitions to be offered this year in Kentucky.
The initial petition against Beshear, signed by just four Kentuckians, claims the governor violated the state and U.S. constitutions with a series of restrictions he ordered to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. One of the four petitioners has since indicated he wants to withdraw from the proceeding.
The governor has said there are “zero grounds” for his removal from office. The state Supreme Court ruled last year that he had the authority to put restrictions on businesses and individuals to try to contain the coronavirus. Beshear says his actions have saved lives.
The petition calling for Cameron’s impeachment involves a handful of people, including three grand jurors who criticized his handling of the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s shooting death by Louisville police last year.
Cameron has said his team followed the law and presented a thorough case to the grand jury. He also called for the impeachment effort to be dismissed, saying it is “so lacking in legal and factual support.”
Another pending impeachment petition has been filed against GOP state Rep. Robert Goforth, a former gubernatorial candidate who was indicted for allegedly trying to strangle a woman. Goforth has pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.
Under Kentucky’s constitution, the state House possesses the sole power of impeachment - a card that’s rarely been played in any serious way in the Bluegrass State. The constitution stipulates any impeachment trial must be held in the Senate, where the votes of two-thirds of senators present are required for conviction.
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