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Governor of Kentucky
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$8,789,000|
|Term limits:||2 consecutive terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Kentucky Constitution, Article 6, the Executive Department|
|Assumed office:||December 11, 2007|
|Next election:||November 2015|
|Last election:||November 8, 2011|
|Other Kentucky Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Commissioner of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Cabinet Secretary • Public Service Commission|
- 1 Current officer
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 Divisions
- 8 State budget
- 9 Compensation
- 10 History
- 11 Historical officeholders
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
As of March 2015, Kentucky is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
Under Article IV, Section 69:
The supreme executive power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled the "Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
|2015 • 2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2015 • 2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
A candidate for governor is required to be:
- at least thirty years old
- have resided in the state for at least six years preceding the general election
Kentucky belongs to the handful of states that hold off-year elections, that is, elections in off-numbered years that are neither presidential nor midterm years. In Kentucky's case, elections are held in the year after a midterm and before a presidential; thus, 2015, 2019, 2023 and 2027 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the inauguration is always held the fifth Tuesday after an election.
In the event of a tie, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots, as set out in § 90.
There is a regularly scheduled election for governor in 2015. Steve Beshear (D) is not eligible for re-election due to term limits. The primary election is scheduled for May 19, 2015, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2015.
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Kentucky governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait four years before being eligible to run again.
|The Governor shall be ineligible for the succeeding four years after the expiration of any second consecutive term for which he shall have been elected.|
- See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
Details of vacancies are addressed under Article 6, Section 84.
Whatever the circumstances, if the elected governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, the duties pass to the lieutenant governor. If the governor is on trial for any reason, the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court must be the presiding officer.
Regarding physical or mental unfitness for office, the Attorney General of Kentucky may petition the Supreme Court for a judgment that the governor must be removed either temporarily or permanently.
Substantial power is granted to the Governor of Kentucky. Historically, the office has been regarded as one of the most powerful executive positions in the United States.
With regards to the legislature
The governor exercises traditional veto power, which can be overridden by a majority of both houses of the General Assembly. He or she is also granted the privilege of a line-item veto. As with the U.S. President, the governor has the option of a pocket veto. Unlike the federal pocket veto, however, in the event that the legislature dismisses, preventing the return of the bill by the governor, the bill becomes law after 10 days unless the governor explicitly vetoes it. With the federal pocket veto, the bill is considered vetoed after 10 days if the legislature dismisses.
The governor may, in exceptional circumstances, call the General Assembly into special session. This is done by issuing a proclamation that includes the issue or issues to be addressed in the special session. Consideration of any other issues during the session is forbidden. Special sessions are to take place in the state capital except in cases of danger from enemies or disease; in such cases, the governor specifies the location of the session.
The governor is required to give a "State of the Commonwealth" address periodically to the General Assembly. Traditionally, this is an annual address. The governor is also charged with presenting a budget to the General Assembly every other year.
With regards to the judiciary
He or she is granted the traditional executive power of pardon except in cases of impeachment or treason.
With regards to appointments
The governor is given broad appointment power, and names many state commissioners and department heads without the need for legislative approval. The governor is also empowered to reorganize the state government or reduce it in size.
Other duties and privileges of the office include:
- Serving as commander-in-chief of Kentucky's military forces, unless those forces have already been federalized (§ 75)
- Filling all vacancies when the manner is not otherwise prescribed (§ 76)
- Remitting fines and forfeitures, commuting sentences, and granting reprieves, in addition to the judicial pardon (§ 77)
- Requiring written reports from any other member of the Executive on any aspect of that individual's job (§ 78)
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Governor of Kentucky has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.
Role in state budget
- See also: Kentucky state budget and finances
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the biennium.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in October.
- Agency hearings are held in November and December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the legislature on the 15th legislative day (this deadline is moved up to the 10th legislative day for governors serving a second term).
- The state legislature adopts a budget in April. The biennium begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is required to adopt a balanced budget.
Governor's office budget
The Office of the Governor's budget for fiscal year 2013 was $8,789,000.
The salary of the governor and lieutenant governor, is determined by the Kentucky State Legislature. Section 74 of the Kentucky Constitution maintains that the governor's pay is fixed by law.  Section 96 of the Kentucky Constitution stipulates compensation for duties must be paid as a salary and in no other way.
|Compensation of Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall at stated times receive for the performance of the duties of their respective offices compensation to be fixed by law.|
|Compensation of Constitutional State officers. All officers mentioned in Section 95 shall be paid for their services by salary, and not otherwise.|
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, in Kentucky there were Democratic governors in office for 18 years, including the last six, while there were Republican governors in office for four years. Kentucky is one of seven states that were run by a Democratic governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.
Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) from 1992-2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Kentucky state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Kentucky has been in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking regardless of its Democratic trifecta or years under divided government. The state’s highest ranking came in 1998 and 1999 (43rd) under a Democratic trifecta, while the state’s lowest ranking came in between the years 2003 and 2011 (48th) under divided government. The state has never had a Republican trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 45.00
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 47.31
There have been 61 Governors of Kentucky since 1792. Of the 61 officeholders, 8 were Republican, 33 were Democrat, 8 were Jeffersonian Republican, 9 were Whig, 1 was Jacksonian Democrat 1 was American, and 1 was Democratic Republican.
|List of Former Officeholders from 1792-Present|
|1||Isaac Shelby||1792 - 1796||Jeffersonian Republican|
|2||James Garrard||1796 - 1804||Jeffersonian Republican|
|3||Christopher Greenup||1804 - 1808||Jeffersonian Republican|
|4||Charles Scott||1808 - 1812||Jeffersonian Republican|
|5||Isaac Shelby||1812 - 1816||Jeffersonian Republican|
|6||George Madison||1816 - 1816||Jeffersonian Republican|
|7||Gabriel Slaughter||1816 - 1820||Jeffersonian Republican|
|8||John Adair||1820 - 1824||Democratic-Republican|
|9||Joseph Desha||1824 - 1828||Jeffersonian Republican|
|10||Thomas Metcalfe||1828 - 1832||Whig|
|11||John Breathitt||1832 - 1834||Jacksonian Democrat|
|12||James Turner Morehead||1834 - 1836||Whig|
|13||James Clark||1836 - 1839||Whig|
|14||Charles Anderson Wickliffe||1839 - 1840||Whig|
|15||Robert Perkins Letcher||1840 - 1844||Whig|
|16||William Owsley||1844 - 1848||Whig|
|17||John Jordan Crittenden||1848 - 1850||Whig|
|18||John Larue Helm||1850 - 1851||Whig|
|19||Lazarus Whitehead Powell||1851 - 1855||Democratic|
|20||Charles Slaughter Morehead||1855 - 1859||American|
|21||Beriah Magoffin||1859 - 1862||Democratic|
|22||James Fisher Robinson||1862 - 1863||Democratic|
|23||Thomas Elliott Bramlette||1863 - 1867||Democratic|
|24||John Larue Helm||1867||Whig|
|25||John White Stevenson||1867 - 1871||Democratic|
|26||Preston Hopkins Leslie||1871 - 1875||Democratic|
|27||James Bennett McCreary||1875 - 1879||Democratic|
|28||Luke Pryor Blackburn||1879 - 1883||Democratic|
|29||James Proctor Knott||1883 - 1887||Democratic|
|30||Simon Bolivar Buckner||1887 - 1891||Democratic|
|31||John Young Brown||1891 - 1895||Democratic|
|32||William O. Bradley||1895 - 1899||Republican|
|33||William Sylvester Taylor||1899 - 1900||Republican|
|34||William Goebel||1900 - 1900||Democratic|
|35||John Crepps Wickliffe Beckham||1900 - 1907||Democratic|
|36||Augustus Everett Willson||1907 - 1911||Republican|
|37||James Bennett McCreary||1911 - 1915||Democratic|
|38||Augustus Owsley Stanley||1915 - 1919||Democratic|
|39||James Dixon Black||1919 - 1919||Democratic|
|40||Edwin Porch Morrow||1919 - 1923||Republican|
|41||William Jason Fields||1923 - 1927||Democratic|
|42||Flem Davis Sampson||1927 - 1931||Republican|
|43||Ruby Laffoon||1931 - 1935||Democratic|
|44||Albert Benjamin Chandler||1935 - 1939||Democratic|
|45||Keen Johnson||1939 - 1943||Democratic|
|46||Simeon Slavens Willis||1943 - 1947||Republican|
|47||Earle Chester Clements||1947 - 1950||Democratic|
|48||Lawrence Winchester Wetherby||1950 - 1955||Democratic|
|49||Albert Benjamin Chandler||1955 - 1959||Democratic|
|50||Bert Thomas Combs||1959 - 1963||Democratic|
|51||Edward Thompson Breathitt||1963 - 1967||Democratic|
|52||Louie Broady Nunn||1967 - 1971||Republican|
|53||Wendell Hampton Ford||1971 - 1974||Democratic|
|54||Julian Morton Carroll||1974 - 1979||Democratic|
|55||John Y. Brown||1979 - 1983||Democratic|
|56||Martha Layne Collins||1983 - 1987||Democratic|
|57||Wallace G. Wilkinson||1987 - 1991||Democratic|
|58||Brereton C. Jones||1991 - 1995||Democratic|
|59||Paul E. Patton||1995 - 2003||Democratic|
|60||Ernie Fletcher||2003 - 2007||Republican|
|61||Steve Beshear||2007 -||Democratic|
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700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
- Kentucky Constitution, "Kentucky Constitution: Executive power vested in Governor." accessed February 18, 2015
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- 2012-2014 Budget of the Commonwealth, "Operating Budget Volume I (Full Version)," 7," accessed June27, 2013
- Kentucky Constitution, “Section 74: Compensation of Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” accessed February 18, 2015
- Kentucky Constitution, "Article 96: Compensation of Constitutional State officers," accessed February 18, 2015
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed November 24, 2014
- Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
- National Governors Association, "Kentucky: Past Governors Bios," accessed August 4, 2013
State of Kentucky
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | Auditor of Public Accounts | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor Cabinet | Chairman of Public Services |