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Kentucky lawmakers revise bill that alters how courts handle legal challenges

Kentucky Speaker of The House David Osborne addresses the members of the House during the...
Kentucky Speaker of The House David Osborne addresses the members of the House during the opening day session of the Kentucky State Legislature in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)(Timothy D. Easley | AP)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:18 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky lawmakers have scaled back a bill that would alter how courts handle legal challenges to state government.

According to the Lexington Herald Leader, House Bill 3 would have set up randomly selected panels of three judges.

That panel would hear cases involving state government or the Kentucky constitution.

Instead, the revised version requires those legal challenges must be filed in the home county of the plaintiff not the defendant. If the plaintiff is not a resident of Kentucky then the case would be filed in Franklin Circuit Court.

The revised bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“At the end of the day, it’s to prevent one circuit, I don’t care if it’s Franklin or Christian or somewhere else,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, “But one circuit shouldn’t have the power to make decisions of statewide import that way.”

The changes come after Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Minton expressed he was strongly against the original version of the bill last week. He nicknamed the bill the “Rube Goldberg bill” and said it “needs to die.”

“The reason I really wanted to crawl out of bed and come here today is to tell you that this is an egregious, an egregious invasion of separation of powers,” Minton said last Friday. “This Rube Goldberg bill is an unconstitutional invasion.”

Minton did not comment on the new version of the bill Tuesday. Westerfield says this is because Minton believes the new bill respects the separation of powers.

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