February 7, 2021 10:07am
KENTUCKY GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021 – Week 3 summary
On its return from the January recess on February 2, the legislature wasted no time in overriding gubernatorial vetoes of seven bills. Override votes were completed in each chamber within a matter of hours. Governor Beshear also wasted no time in challenging the constitutionality of HB 1, SB 1 and SB 2 with the filing of a lawsuit in the Franklin Circuit Court by the close of business on Tuesday. Following a hearing on Wednesday morning, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a restraining order preventing the implementation of reopening provisions included in HB 1 and scheduled further hearing on the constitutional challenge for later in February.
Status of Vetoed Bills
- SB 1 – Sponsored by Senator Castlen, legislation to limit a governor’s executive authority during times of emergency. Veto overridden, Subject of constitutional challenge in Beshear v. Osborne.
- SB 2 – Sponsored by Senator West, legislation related to administrative regulations and the process by which state agencies issue emergency regulation. Subject to constitutional challenge in Beshear v. Osborne.
- HB 1 – Sponsored by Rep. Rowland, legislation to allow entities to remain open if following CDC guidelines or Executive Branch guidelines, whichever is least restrictive. The bill also includes provisions to waive unemployment insurance late fees and penalties for employers. Subject of constitutional challenge in Beshear v. Osborne. Temporary restraining order issued preventing the implementation of HB 1.
- HB 2– Sponsored by Rep. Fischer, legislation to allow the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief and civil and criminal penalties against abortion facilities. Set additional parameters for abortion procedures during times of emergency. Veto overridden. Emergency clause and now effective.
- HB 3 – Sponsored by Rep. Massey, legislation to change the venue for challenges to a state statute from Franklin Circuit Court to the circuit court in the county of the plaintiff’s residence. Veto overridden. Emergency clause and now effective.
- HB 5– Sponsored by Rep. Meredith, legislation related to temporary reorganizations. Veto overridden. Emergency clause and now effective.
Legislative leaders continue to meet to discuss the FY 2022 proposed budget. While there has been no formal public meeting of the various budget conference committees, legislators are meeting behind closed doors to discuss how best to move forward. We believe that most of these discussions have centered on the timing of when passage should occur and whether to expand beyond a continuation budget from FY 2021.
Other Legislative Activity
Following Tuesdays activity on vetoed bills, the work of the General Assembly settled into a more normal pace, or at least as normal as possible during these times. Committee meetings were held on Wednesday and Thursday with a number of bills being heard and favorably reported. Among the more significant pieces of legislation moving this week was SB 8 (Sen. Wilson) vaccine opt out legislation and Sen. Schickel’s SB120 to reverse the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of historical horse racing. In the House, Rep. Masseys HB 258 to reform the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System was favorably reported by the State Government Committee and passed the House on Thursday after a long debate.
The House panel considering impeachment petitions met this week on petitions filed seeking the removal from office of Governor Andy Beshear, Rep. Robert Goforth and Attorney General Daniel Camron. According to press reports additional petitions have been filed for the Governors impeachment. The impeachment panel met behind closed doors and made no public statements concerning its deliberations.
When the General Assembly adjourned on Thursday, the 4th, it did so until Tuesday, February 9 when it will reconvene with 19 legislative days remaining in the 2021 session. Next week will be the beginning of what will essentially be a series of three and four legislative day workweeks extending until the end of the session under the current CALENDAR.