Kentucky Lawmakers Override All of Beshear’s Vetoes

FRANKFORT, Ky. — All five of Governor Andy Beshear’s straight vetoes have been overturned but the line-item vetoes on several budget bills will have to wait until the final day of the session. 

The bill that has garnered the most attention is Senate Bill 2 which will now require voters to have a photo ID to vote in the November election. 

Beshear vetoed the measure out of concern this could create an obstacle for people to vote especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused county clerks offices throughout Kentucky to close their doors to in-person traffic. Bill sponsor Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, says since the bill does not go into effect until the November election this will no longer be a problem. 

“I am sure that we will have those clerk offices open and doing business later in the spring or summer,” he said. “There will be ample opportunities for folks that do not have a valid photo ID to obtain that free photo ID that is allowed in this legislation”

Opponents, however, say it’s unclear how long this pandemic will last. 

“All indications from science is that we will not even have a vaccine in place until sometime in 2021,” said Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington. “Without that vaccine, no one can be certain that this virus won’t continue to rear its ugly head and impose changes to our lifestyle that we have become accustomed to over the past month.” 

Lawmakers also overrode the veto on House Bill 336 which changes when gubernatorial candidates will pick their running mate until after the May primary. The veto was overridden 24-10 with some Republicans voting against it. 

“I like having the ability to know who I’m voting for when I vote for the current slate when it is the governor and lt. governor,” said Sen. Will Schroder, R-Wilder. “Therefore I’m going to vote no” 

Local governments in counties of more than 80,000 people will no longer need to post legal advertisements in newspapers instead of moving the required postings online. House Bill 195 was once again approved with some Republicans voting against it. 

Senate Bill 5 was also overridden, it will now require special government entities, like a school board, to obtain permission from their local government before increasing taxes. Bill sponsor Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, likened the current practice to taxation without representation. 

“I think this is important thing, we have had numerous auditor reports in the past that show the amount of billions of dollars being charged in this state by non-elected officials and this allows our government to once again have our elected officials be the ones to make the decision when it comes to tax increase,” he said. 

Finally, House Bill 150 is now law, this says Kentucky judges cannot base a ruling on Kentucky law based on a scholarly publication or some other type of analysis.

“There are restatements and summaries and repackaged assessments of what our law is, the courts are certainly welcome to use that and look at the like,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton. “But it’s not controlling authority over the courts and it is not the law of the land.”

Opponents say this law conflicts with the separation of powers. 

“For us as legislators to extend our reach to tell the courts how they can consider this as law goes too far in that separation of powers,” said Senate Floor Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville. 

Lawmakers will be back Wednesday for sine die.