March 27, 2014
FRANKFORT – Legislation, sponsored by Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, that directs funds recovered by constitutional officers through legal action go directly to the state’s general fund passed out of the Senate today.
“This legislation is about transparency and clarification,” said Senator Webb. “These recovered funds should be turned over to the state as is the intent of current law and appropriated by the General Assembly through the general fund.”
Senate Bill 223 requires that any funds of any kind that are recovered through judgment or settlement in any legal action filed by the Attorney General or other statewide constitutional officer shall be deposited into the general fund surplus account. Those funds cannot be expended until appropriated by the General Assembly, unless directed by the court, subject to charitable rules and consumer restitution.
The measure also allows recovery of reasonable costs of litigation, as determined by the court and approved by the secretary of Finance and Administration Cabinet, and any direct consumer restitution ordered by the court. It requires any costs recovered to the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue and requires constitutional officers to notify in writing within seven days, the president of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and the State Treasurer, when the officer is contemplating settlement or is entering into settlement negotiations in any legal action that may result in the recovery of any funds or assets.
SB 223 prohibits any constitutional officer from executing any agreement that infringes on the appropriation power properly belonging to the General Assembly and requires the constitutional officer to submit any written agreement regarding disposition of funds or assets recovered from a settlement to the president and speaker seven days prior to execution. It requires all notices to be in writing, remain confidential and exempt from the open records laws.
“This measure clarifies what the law says now,” added Senator Webb. “Any money collected by the Attorney General or any constitutional officers through legal actions should go into the general fund where lawmakers determine how it is spent.”
SB 223 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Senator Webb, who has been in the senate since 2009, served in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, where she was the first vice chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee and a member of all House Budget Subcommittees.
She represents the 18th Senatorial District that consists of Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties,