Kentucky legislature meets in rare Saturday session; Voting on abortion laws, right to work

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The latest on the Kentucky legislature meeting to pass bills on Saturday:

6:45 p.m.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says all of the bills approved by the state legislature will be in effect on Monday.

The state legislature passed seven bills during a rare Saturday session. The bills ban mandatory labor union dues, repeal the state's prevailing wage law, ban union dues from being used for political donations, require ultrasounds before abortions, ban abortions after 20 weeks and replace the board of trustees at the University of Louisville.

Bevin has 10 days to sign the bills. He called them "generationally changing bills," and pledged to hold ceremonial signing ceremonies in the coming days.

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5:50 p.m.

Kentucky's Republican governor would appoint a new board for the University of Louisville with the consent of the state Senate under a bill that has cleared the state legislature.

The Kentucky House of Representatives gave final passage to the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

The university's accrediting agency has placed the school on probation for one year over concerns of possible undue political influence after Bevin issued an executive order abolishing and replacing the school's governing board. The president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says the bill would likely resolve the probation issue.

Democrats warn Republicans are moving too fast and are placing students' degrees at risk.

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3:10 p.m.

Women would be barred from getting an abortion in Kentucky after 20 weeks of pregnancy under a bill that has cleared the state legislature.

The state House gave final passage to the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

The bill bans all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother's life is in danger. The "life of the mother" exception does not include mental illness. The bill contains no exceptions for rape or incest.

Supporters say the bill is necessary because at 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain. Opponents say that is not supported by medical evidence and say it places more barriers on women's reproductive rights.

The bill also creates a "litigation fund" to help pay for the state to defend the bill against legal challenges.

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11:55 a.m.

The Kentucky legislature has approved a bill banning mandatory labor union fees over the shouts of hundreds of protesters packed into the cavernous Capitol.

The state Senate approved the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

The bill will make Kentucky the 27th "right-to-work" state, joining every other southern state. The bill means employers cannot force workers to pay dues to a union that represents them in collective bargaining. Opponents say the bill is designed to weaken unions and enrich corporate bosses. Supporters say the bill is business friendly and will attract much-needed jobs to the state.

The bill does not impact current labor contracts, but would apply to all new agreements.

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11:20 a.m.

Workers on publicly financed construction projects will be paid less under a bill that has passed the Kentucky legislature.

The state Senate gave final passage to the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

The bill means state officials will no longer set the wages for construction workers on publicly financed projects based on a survey of the community. Opponents say the bill takes money out of the pockets of working families while downgrading the quality of construction on public buildings, including schools. Supporters say it will save taxpayer money and jumpstart stalled projects.

The bill does not affect federal projects.

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10:45 a.m.

Kentucky lawmakers have finished work on a bill to make public the details of their pension benefits.

The measure won final passage in the Republican-led House during a rare Saturday session. The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

The bill would apply to all current and former members of the General Assembly.

Under the measure, anyone could file a request under the Kentucky Open Records Act to learn the retirement benefits being paid or promised to legislators from the state's public pension systems. Friday, Republican state Rep. Jerry Miller of Louisville revealed he would earn $1,600 a month if he were to retire today.

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10:15 a.m.

Women seeking an abortion would have to first undergo an ultrasound under a bill that has cleared the Kentucky legislature.

The state Senate gave final passage to the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has said he will sign it. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it is effective immediately.

The bill requires women to have an ultrasound by a doctor or technician prior to having an abortion. The exam must also include a detailed description of the fetus and playing the fetal heartbeat. Women are not required to watch the ultrasound and can request to have the volume of the heartbeat turned down.

The bill does not include an exception for rape or incest.



 

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