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Two of three petitions calling for Gov. Andy Beshear to be removed from office have been dismissed

Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 19:17:11-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Two of the three petitions that call for Governor Andy Beshear to be removed from office have been dismissed.

The House Impeachment Committee has been considering five total petitions: three against the governor, one against Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and one against Representative Robert Goforth.

On Friday, the committee dismissed the impeachment petitions filed by the Kentucky Liberty PAC and Take Kentucky Back. Both were seeking to impeach Beshear.

"They were not sufficient on their face," said Rep. Jason Nemes, the committee's chairman. "They didn't meet the statutory requirements, so they were dismissed."

Nemes wouldn't go into further detail about how the committee came to this conclusion, and he wouldn't reveal which lawmakers voted to dismiss the petitions. He said the committee's deliberations would be kept private.

So far, the committee has held five different meetings. Over the course of those meetings, about an hour has been spent on the record, and about 10.5 hours have been spent behind closed doors in executive session.

"Deliberations are of a private nature," said Nemes.

He compared the process to how the Supreme Court operates. Documents, testimony, arguments, and decisions are made public, but deliberations are not.

Nemes stood by his claim that the current Impeachment Committee is the most transparent one Kentucky has ever had.

"This committee has been more public than any impeachment committee in the history of Kentucky. We will continue to do that," said Nemes. "The people of Kentucky are entitled to know the decisions that we make and the evidence we make the decision upon. So, we will continue to be transparent and get this job done the best we can."

The committee said the three other impeachment petitions were also discussed today. They did not provide an update on the Goforth petition, but they announced that they've requested more information from the governor's and the attorney general's legal teams.

According to the letter the committee sent the Attorney General's lawyer, it is requesting Cameron provides audio or transcripts of "instructions to the Special Grand Jury" in the Breonna Taylor case.

According to the committee's letter, the committee has also requested communications related to church and interstate travel orders from the governor. Beshear's team has already responded to this request before, but the committee said the response was "a repetitive denial of the allegations of impeachment and a defense based on interpretation of case law."

"In the prior submission, we did not receive any emails, letters, phone logs, fax logs, or recordings," the letter reads. "This is not acceptable."

The committee would not comment on how the remaining petitions were coming along. When questioned about why the process is taking as long as it is, the chairman said the committee is working as quickly as it can.

"We're doing our due diligence," said Nemes. "We feel the tension to get it done in a timely way, but we also feel a greater responsibility to get it done in a way that allows us to do our due diligence. If we have questions - if any member has questions - we ask those questions. That's what we've done. That's what we're doing."

The committee is made up of seven members - four republicans and three democrats - and two alternates.