Politics

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is mounting a campaign against a bill in the state legislature that he argues would strip control of some city functions from local elected officials.

Senate Bill 222 is one of several moving through the General Assembly that could change the way Louisville Metro government operates and give more authority to Frankfort.

If approved, the Senate bill would bring a handful of changes, including reducing the number of required monthly meetings of the Metro Council and providing more oversight for local contracts, among other things.

The bill passed a Senate committee early Thursday. Shortly after, Fischer stopped by WFPL News studios to discuss it.

Below is an edited excerpt from his interview. Hear more in the player above.

Do you see this as a “war on Louisville”? Do you see this as state lawmakers attacking Louisville?

“It’s certainty an insult to Louisville voters. When you do not trust the people that pay for the government to have a say in whether or not there should be a change to their government statutes, I just think that’s really absurd. I mean, the people should be involved, it’s our government, so they should have a say. And there’s no need for this to be rushed. There’s nobody running around Louisville saying, ‘boy, we really need to change our Metro merged government.'”

What is your ideal agreement for local control in Louisville?

“Let’s just focus on the results. The momentum that we have in this city right now is fantastic. I think it’s in no small part to merged Metro government. Our government is working fine right now. There is $9 billion in capital investment going on in the city.

“That being said, I am a business guy, so I’m always one to improve. And I think there are good things in this bill. To me, the issue is process, what’s the rush? Involve citizens so their voices can be heard.”

What do you like about this bill?

“What I appreciated today was some of the senators said, clearly this bill can be improved. So they encouraged all folks to come together and say, let’s see if you can get on the same page here.

“One of the things is, I think, is really bad about this bill is that it’s an unfunded mandate from Frankfort that results in political caucuses within the Metro Council having to hire folks to run their political caucuses. I don’t understand why that is a good thing, for political caucuses funding to be mandated by Frankfort.”

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.