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Beshear vetoes 5 bills, including 3 that limit emergency powers

January 20, 2021 | 12:09 am

Updated January 19, 2021 | 9:39 pm

Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed five high-priority GOP bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly this month, including three aimed at narrowing a governor’s emergency powers.

The Governor said moving forward he would be working with lawmakers on a resolution to the legislation.

Each of the bills easily passed through both Republican supermajority chambers. A majority vote in each chamber is all that is needed to override the vetoes when the General Assembly returns to session on Feb. 2.

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If those vetoes are overridden, the bills would immediately go into effect, unless halted by litigation.

Senate Bill 1 — introduced by Sen. Matt Castlen, R-Owensboro — would dictate that executive orders that place restrictions on the function of schools, businesses or nonprofits expire after 30 days, unless extended by the General Assembly. The same would go for executive orders that regulate political, religious and social gatherings or impose mandatory quarantines or isolation requirements. 

Senate Bill 2 would require some administrative regulations to last no longer than 30 days if, for example, they imposed restrictions on gatherings or mandatory quarantines. 

House Bill 1 would allow businesses, schools, nonprofits to remain open if they follow a comprehensive operating plan that details how they will safely adhere to the CDC or state guidelines, whichever is least restrictive.

House Bill 2 would give the Attorney General the authority to seek an injunction and civil or criminal penalties for violations of statutes and administrative regulations guiding the practice of abortion.

House Bill 5 would prohibit a governor from temporarily reorganizing state boards and commissions. All executive branch and board reorganizations would require a vote of the General Assembly.

January 20, 2021 | 12:09 am

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