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GAARD Bill To Get First Hearing In Frankfort

From Kentucky Public Radio's Tony McVeighA 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.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.