Beshear vetoes bill subjecting Kentucky’s top education official to Senate confirmation Skip to content

Beshear vetoes bill subjecting Kentucky’s top education official to Senate confirmation

Governor says legislation ‘politicizes’ the hiring of education commissioner

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Education Commissioner Jason Glass addressed the House Education Committee earlier in the session. (Photo for Kentucky Lantern by McKenna Horsley)

Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed a bill subjecting Kentucky’s top education official to Senate confirmation.

Senate Bill 107 would require Senate confirmation of the Kentucky Board of Education’s pick for education commissioner.

In his veto statement, the Democratic governor wrote the proposed process “politicizes” the hiring of the commissioner and “adds an unnecessary bureaucratic obstacle to hiring and keeping the Commissioner.”

“The Commissioner of Education must by law have the professional qualifications the Kentucky Board of Education decides are appropriate for the office, and the Board selects the Commissioner after going through a national search for candidates for the office,” Beshear wrote.

The bill, which received overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House, would limit the education commissioner’s contracts to four years but could be renewed.

Primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, has said the process in the bill is similar to that of the hiring process for the commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, but Beshear refuted that in his veto message.

Lu Young, chair of the Kentucky Board of Education, previously told media outlets she worried the bill “would reverse the progress we have made during the past three decades and return the state to a time when the leadership of Kentucky’s public schools was determined by political capital and connections, not professional experience.”

Appointments to the Board of Education are made by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Here’s the governor’s full veto message:

“Senate Bill 107 politicizes the process for hiring the Commissioner of Education, and adds an unnecessary bureaucratic obstacle to hiring and keeping the Commissioner. The Commissioner of Education must by law have the professional qualifications the Kentucky Board of Education decides are appropriate for the office, and the Board selects the Commissioner after going through a national search for candidates for the office. Requiring Senate confirmation — which, contrary to committee testimony, is not required for the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources — will undermine the Board of Education’s decision that is based on a thorough process, and will keep good candidates from wanting to seek the office because politics could stop them from carrying out the office after the Board has hired them.

“For these reasons, I am vetoing Senate Bill 107.”

Lawmakers return to Frankfort next week, where they may override Beshear’s vetoes.

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Written by McKenna Horsley. Cross-posted from the Kentucky Lantern.



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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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