Lawmakers continue to debate Capitol access after Gov. Bevin's executive order

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Early this week Gov. Matt Bevin filed an executive order citing overflow crowds during the 2018 Legislature which spawned debate over the issue on Friday.

The order restricted visitor access to the state Capitol in Frankfort. The new emergency regulations prevent crowds from gathering outside of House or Senate chambers.

"Kentuckians can't be shut out, they cannot be silenced or sent away," said Charles Booker, D-Louisville

Many democratic lawmakers agreed with Booker saying the Capitol is the people's house and access should not be restricted.

However, republican members reiterated their stance from a few days ago that the situation is out of their control.

"I understand and appreciate the comments you are making, but I don't know what you want us to do," said Rep. Chad McCoy, R- Bardstown.

One of the main concerns of the democratic caucus is the restricted access to the underground tunnel between the Capitol and the Annex-- saying visitors need ot be able to access that especially during winter weather.

Minority Leader Rocky Adkins-D says that's something that needs to be looked at immediately.

"We don't care about the protests thats what democracy is all about, but we've got honest to god safety issues," McCoy said. "Let's take the worse case scenario guys. Let's put a shooter in that tunnel...what are we going to do? So, the fire marshal and state police have asked us to keep that tunnel clear."

House Speaker Rep. David Osborne- R says he has told those with concerns to speak directly with those who made the guidelines, state police and the fire marshall. Yet, he has not heard of any of those entities being contacted.

"They aren't looking to make solutions. They are looking to gripe," Osborne said.

Discussions will likely resume on the safety concerns when lawmakers return on February 5.

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