FRANKFORT, Ky. — Under a new bill that passed a House committee Wednesday, Louisville mayors would be elected in nonpartisan races.
Rep. Jerry Miller (R - Eastwood) presented House Bill 309.
“As we all know, sometimes partisan elections drive candidates to appeal to the extreme wings of their party and it makes it harder for a chief executive to govern effectively,” he said.
Co-sponsor Rep. Jason Nemes (R - Louisville) said Louisville is the only city out of 26 he represents with a partisan mayor.
“I assume that the primary will produce two Democrats, not a Republican and a Democrat, two Democrats," Nemes said. "I have no beef with that, but I want that Democrat who's going to represent Louisville, going to be our mayor, I want them to hunt votes all around the county.”
Timothy Findley, pastor of Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center, called the bill “deeply flawed” and said it was odd to have a partisan Metro Council and a non-partisan mayor.
“When you look at what’s happening in Jefferson County, if you’re putting things in place just to make it easier for your party to get a candidate in, well then that’s disingenuous and suspicious,” he said.
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D - Louisville) called the bill "non-democratic."
"It’s a power grab from Frankfort," she said. "It’s what people hate about government.”
The bill would also give citizen review and accountability boards, like one created in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death, the ability to issue subpoenas through a request of the Government Oversight and Audit Committee.
HB 309 moves next to the full House.