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Senate Approves Bill Requiring Attorney General to Explain, Limit Outside Counsel


A controversial bill affecting the operation of the state attorney general's office won approval in the Kentucky House today and is expected to get a favorable reception as it moves to a vote in the Senate.

In addition to requiring the attorney general to explain why outside counsel is needed, the bill sets a cap at $20 million dollars that an attorney can recover in any given case. 

Providence Representative Jim Gooch said that can mean more dollars for taxpayers in large civil cases, “The more you have to pay one of these attorneys, the less money you’re going to get.”

Others argued the cap could restrict the AG’s office in pursuing multi-million dollar awards against major corporations.  Louisville Representative Jeff Donohue voted no.

“Why in the world would we put a cap on our attorney general’s office, regardless of what the party affiliation is, to go after folks and try to recover monies,” he said.

Bill sponsor Jason Nemes said the current Attorney General Andy Beshear already does much of the reporting called for in the bill, but will codifies it into law and sends money to taxpayers instead of attorneys.

Opponents such as Louisville Representative Jim Wayne argued the cap makes it harder for the Attorney General to sue big businesses when they cause harm to the state’s citizens.

“It’s another example of how corporations have infiltrated this body and are demanding that their rights be preserved,” said Wayne.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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