Beshear vetoes six of seven bills sent to his desk so far by General Assembly

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:24 AM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers passed seven bills in eight days during the first part of the 2021 session of the General Assembly.

The governor has vetoed six of those, but the House and Senate both have enough of a Republican majority to override those.

The General Assembly won’t return until February 2, but, when they return, one of the first things they could do is consider overrides to six, or possibly seven bills.

Lawmakers worked quickly to pass five COVID-19 related bills and two dealing with medical procedures and, more specifically, abortion or pro-life issues.

On Tuesday, the governor announced he had vetoed House Bill 1, which provided guidelines for businesses and schools to stay open during pandemics or states of emergencies as long as they followed the governor’s or the CDC’s guidelines. He also vetoed Senate Bill 1, which would limit the effective date of emergency orders to 30 days unless lawmakers approve.

Beshear also vetoed two other bills dealing with the pandemic response and one dealing with allowing the attorney general more power to regulate abortion providers.

Wednesday, Governor Beshear also vetoed House Bill 3, which allows for constitutional challenges to orders or statutes in other districts instead of just in the Franklin Circuit Court.

The only bill the governor hasn’t signed or vetoed is Senate Bill 9, which is another abortion-related bill. It’s called the Born Alive Protection Act and requires doctors to save the life of a baby born alive even in the case of a botched abortion.

If the governor does not sign Senate Bill 9, it becomes law since it has been on his desk for 10 days.

Lawmakers on both sides say it’s not a surprise to them that Beshear vetoed the bills. Republicans say many of the bills want to keep the governor’s power in check and return it to the people’s legislators.

“We saw Election Day as a cry for help from people who want restraint put on the executive branch by the legislative branch,” said Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown. “Restoring people’s choice through the legislative process.”

“Regardless of what you’re thinking of this governor or this legislature, this is the legislative branch taking power from the executive branch,” said Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville. “And the courts need to step in and see if the taking of power is constitutional.”

Once lawmakers return to work in February, their agenda could be bills dealing with possible police reform, unemployment revisions.

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