FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s lawmakers voted Thursday to replace Kentucky State University’s Board of Regents. Under the new legislation, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear would be required to appoint eight new board members by April 4.
The bill, which received bipartisan support in both chambers, now heads to the governor.
KSU, the state’s only public historically Black university, has remained under state oversight since last summer when concerns about the school’s finances and lawsuits alleging misconduct by campus officials came to a head.
A state report, ordered by Beshear, later found evidence of poor financial management by university leadership resulting in financial losses starting in 2018-19.
Senate President Pro Tem David Givens said last week that a new board must “be in place and confirmed by the Senate” before the university receives the $23 million officials said are vital for the school’s survival.
A Kentucky Senate panel also advanced a bill that would ban the use of the death penalty for some defendants diagnosed with severe mental illnesses.
People are also reading…
The measure sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee with no resistance. If the full Senate passes the bill without changes, the measure would go to Beshear. It won House passage by a wide margin last month. Republicans have overwhelming majorities in both chambers.
Last year, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Since then, the bill’s leading supporters consulted key senators as the new version was crafted.
Under this year’s bill, the death penalty ban would apply to defendants with a documented history — including a diagnosis from a mental health professional — of certain mental disorders and who had active symptoms at the time of the offense. The disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and delusional disorder.
“It doesn’t mean they’re going free,” said Republican Rep. Chad McCoy, the bill’s lead sponsor. “It doesn’t mean they’re not getting punished. It just means it’s going to be life in prison without parole.”
Republican Sen. Danny Carroll thanked the bill’s sponsors for the revisions.
“In the past years when we’ve had this bill, my concern has always been the state of mind (of the defendant) at the time the crime occurs,” he said. “I think you all have addressed that.”
The last execution in Kentucky was in 2008.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.