Governor Sues as Legislators Override Vetoes

Legislators resumed the 2021 session Tuesday afternoon and wasted no time overriding Governor Andy Beshear’s vetoes of six measures. The legislature passed all six in the first week of the session. Several of the measures deal with the governor’s emergency powers. The bills will now become law, but the governor quickly filed to fight the orders in court.

The House and Senate voted to override vetoes on House Bill 1, House Bill 2, House Bill 3, House Bill 5, Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. The bills take the following action:

  • House Bill 1 allows businesses, schools and local governments to remain open for in-person services during the pandemic.
  • House Bill 2 gives the attorney general authority to enforce Kentucky’s abortion laws, a responsibility that had resided with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
  • House Bill 3 allows a challenge to state laws and orders to be heard in the court where it was filed instead of requiring such lawsuits be heard in Franklin Circuit Court.
  • House Bill 5 requires the governor to receive legislative approval before reorganizing any state board.
  • Senate Bill 1 limits the governor’s emergency powers to 30 days without requiring legislative action.
  • Senate Bill 2 limits the ability of the governor and governmental agencies to issue emergency regulations and includes language that allows the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee to find a regulation deficient if the proposing agency failed to comply with notice provisions ‒ a top legislative priority for cities.

Governor Beshear filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court challenging the legality of House Bill 1, Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. The lawsuit says all three measures are unconstitutional and seeks a temporary restraining order, a temporary injunction and a permanent injunction. You can access the lawsuit here.

The Legislative Research Commission (LRC) made changes to the posting of committee materials in order to make information available to the public in a timelier manner. LRC will add committee substitutes and amendments to the “meeting materials” portion of each committee’s web page as soon as they are received. “This, along with expanded livestreaming of legislative action, makes more information than ever available online,” said LRC Director Jay D. Hartz.

Legislative leadership also adjusted the calendar for the remaining 21 days of the 2021 session. Legislators will not convene on Friday, February 12, but they will meet on Friday, March 5. You can access an updated session calendar here.