Attorney General, Kentucky Labor Cabinet at odds over school district subpoenas

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling for Gov. Matt Bevin's administration to rescind subpoenas delivered to several Kentucky school districts which closed because of teacher sickouts.

In March, teachers from several districts called out sick multiple times in order to rally in Frankfort while education-related legislation was being considered. Bevin said last week that taxpayers should be concerned about teachers using sick days to protest in Frankfort, and teachers should instead use personal days instead of breaking the law.

Beshear argues the Bevin administration is acting unlawfully if it uses the subpoenas to fine teachers for participating in the sickout because the teachers were exercising their First Amendment right to protest.

“The governor and his administration are directly threatening teachers in an attempt to keep them from exercising their constitutional rights,” Beshear said. “These ‘sickout’ subpoenas represent another abuse of power by the governor and they must be rescinded.”

When asked what would happen if the Bevin administration doesn't rescind the subpoenas during a Tuesday news conference, Beshear said, “I’ll take them to court.”

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has responded to Beshear's demands, saying his statements are inaccurate.

"Attorney General Beshear is wrong," a spokesperson said. "The Labor Cabinet has complied and will continue to comply with Kentucky law."

Among the school districts who have received subpoenas include Fayette, Madison and Jefferson counties.

The governor said last week he didn't believe teachers who participated in sickouts should be fired unless their superintendents found a reason that merits termination.

Gov. Matt Bevin was dismissive of Beshear's demands, saying to reporters in Louisville that "the attorney general says a lot of things."

Beshear Letter to Bevin Administration by WKYT on Scribd

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