Lawmakers override slew of vetoes from Governor Beshear

It was a marathon of overriding Governor Beshear’s vetoes Wednesday in Frankfort.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 9:46 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a marathon of overriding Governor Beshear’s vetoes Wednesday in Frankfort.

That included several controversial bills, including the ban on transgender girls from playing girls’ sports and legislation that creates multiple restrictions on abortions. Protesters against the abortion bill were at the capitol.

Senators inside the chamber could hear the pro-choice group chanting from outside the door throughout the day. Their chants got louder when House Bill 3 came up for debate.

It’s controversial legislation the activists rallied against all day.

“As we anticipated, the legislature is overturning the veto on House Bill 3. With the override on the vetoes I am sure abortion will all be in accessible in Kentucky,” said Tamarra Wieder, the Kentucky director of Planned Parenthood.

House Bill 3 is an omnibus abortion bill that sets new restrictions on abortions in Kentucky and it will now become law, despite protest from activists and even some lawmakers.

“Female children and women will die if you take away access to safe, legal, medical abortions,” Sen. Karen Berg said.

The legislation bans abortions after 15 weeks, and restricts access to medicinal abortions. Governor Beshear said he has concerns for victims of rape or incest. He also argued whether the bill is constitutional.

Before the Senate voted on the bill, Republican Senator Michael Nemes met with the protesters as they urged him to vote against it.

“I thank the opportunity to talk with them in a civil tone,” Sen. Nemes said.

Nemes ultimately voted for the override, as did all Republicans. One had a stern statement as he voted.

“I remind you what Mother Teresa said, ’Abortion is the worst evil, and is the enemy of peace. Because if a mother can kill her own child, what will prevent us from killing ourselves or one another,’” Senator Stephen Meredith said.

Kentucky’s Planned Parenthood chapter and the ACLU both said they plan to each file a lawsuit over House Bill 3.

There were several other overridden vetoes on Wednesday:

  • Both chambers voted to override several of the line-item vetoes in the budget
  • House Bill 9, a bill that would fund charter schools in Kentucky
  • House Bill 8, which is the tax modernization bill that includes a reduction in the state income tax
  • And the line item veto in House Bill 243, which would have prevented lawmakers from getting an 8% raise

One high-profile bill still in limbo in the General Assembly is House Bill 606, the sports gambling bill. It has already passed the House, but has not had a Senate vote yet. It received two readings on the Senate floor, and has now been assigned to the economic development committee. That committee’s chair, Senator Will Schroder, told us he supports the bill, but said they are still working on getting enough votes to pass it.

Lawmakers will finish the current legislative session on Thursday. We’ll be following the developments.

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