FRANKFORT (AP) — Two Kentucky General Assembly leaders are considering a rule change requiring witnesses who testify during legislative committee meetings to be sworn in under oath to stop a potential spread of false information.
House Speaker David Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers said Friday that sometimes witnesses give false statements during meetings and that information often ends up in news reports, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The two are considering a rule change that would requite witnesses to be sworn in under oath, possibly subjecting them to a perjury charge if they lie.
“There have been several times, I won’t state specific instances, where some blatant misstatements of fact have been given in committee hearings,” Osborne, R-Prospect, said. “This is just a reminder that when you come to the table, you are expected to deliver truth and facts."
Osborne said he talked Wednesday to the 16 House committee chairs and told them they have the option now to swear in committee witnesses. Some started the practice but Osborne didn't know how many would use it.
Stivers, R-Manchester, didn't immediately tell the 12 Senate committee chairs about the potential change. He said he wants to create protocols and decide on penalties first. He mentioned possible perjury charges, a ban from testifying and a referral to the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Stivers said he doesn't want to intimidate people from testifying before committees but he wants to hold people accountable.
Neither Stivers nor Osborne would specify any examples of false testimonies given to legislative committees.