Politics

The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether Republican Gov. Matt Bevin can cut the budgets of state colleges and universities.

The court has agreed to hear the case, bypassing the state Court of Appeals, and set a hearing date for Aug. 18.

Bevin reduced allotments to state colleges and universities by nearly $18 million without the approval of the state legislature. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued him, saying Bevin overstepped his authority. A state judge sided with Bevin last month.

Beshear appealed that decision. Normally the case would first go to the state Court of Appeals. But Beshear asked the Supreme Court to hear the case and skip the appeals court process. Bevin opposed Beshear’s request, saying the case was not of “great and immediate public importance.”

Monday, the court granted Beshear’s request.

Three Louisville lawmakers who are suing Bevin to block cuts to higher education expressed relief on Monday that the high court would take up the case.

“Our Constitution assigns us the duty to use tax dollars where they are most needed,” Rep. Jim Wayne said in a news release. “The stroke of one man’s pen can’t change this.”

Rep. Darryl Owens said Bevin “owes respect to the budget process.”

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian said state representatives are closer to Kentuckians than any other state officials.

“The people’s voice is heard in the budget, and I am proud to defend it,” she said. “We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court.”