For the second time in as many months, Attorney General Andy Beshear is releasing information to the public on the work of his office after a request for information by Gov. Matt Bevin.
Beshear is releasing information on his Office of Civil and Environmental Law’s Administrative Hearings Branch after a March 10 letter by the governor.
Last month, Bevin requested information on the AG’s Office of Civil and Environmental Law’s Open Records/Open Meetings Branch and information on the office’s civil attorneys and caseload.
Beshear released that information to the public Feb. 10.
“As I have repeatedly said, each time the governor requests information it gives me the chance to honor the hard work of the employees in my office,” Beshear said. “While many Kentuckians are unfamiliar with this branch in the Attorney General’s office, it plays a vital role to ensure government is operating properly and within the guidelines of the law.”
Hearing officers serve as impartial adjudicators of administrative matters in government. Lawmakers established the branch in 1994 to conduct administrative hearings for government boards and agencies and provide training in administrative hearing procedures for hearing officers, who propose or render decisions on claims regarding government programs.
Currently, the branch provides hearing officer services to more than 60 government agencies and boards across Kentucky.
“Use of the branch is advantageous, as the hearing officers are independent, unlike those employed by the same agency or cabinet who often bring action in a matter or has made a decision that initiated the matter,” Beshear said. “Using an independent hearing officer can defeat claims of having ‘kangaroo courts’ in administrative matters involving an agency or cabinet.”
The branch recently conducted a training March 15 at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, providing three hours of continuing legal education and educational requirements as required by Kentucky law.
“Our team has spent more than 175 hours responding to the eight different requests from the governor for information on my office,” Beshear said. “This is valuable time that should have been spent furthering our missions of seeking justice for victims of sexual assault, protecting seniors from scams, addressing our drug problem and protecting children from sexual abuse.”