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Ky. Legislature easily overrides all Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes

A large crowd sits on the lawn of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort. They have flags with pink, blue and white for transgender rights.
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville Public Media
Transgender rights demonstrators gather at the Kentucky Capitol as lawmakers vote to override Beshear's veto of an anti-trans bill.

It’s easy to override a governor’s veto in Kentucky – it only takes a majority vote in each legislative chamber. And Republican lawmakers once again flexed their control of the statehouse, where they hold 80% of seats in both the House and the Senate, overriding vetoes with little trouble as Democrats voiced opposition.

On Wednesday, Kentucky lawmakers quickly overrode all 15 bills Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed during this year’s legislative session.

That means despite the Democratic governor’s wishes, Kentucky now has laws that ban gender affirming medical care for minors, punish police officers for complying with federal gun restrictions and require the state’s top education official to be confirmed by the state Senate.

Opponents to one of the most strident anti-trans bills in the nation rallied against the policy in the Capitol as conservative legislators easily overrode Beshear’s veto of the bill.

A group of demonstrators chanted “trans rights are human rights” in the House gallery as lawmakers debated the issue Wednesday. Several activists locked arms, but ultimatelyKentucky State Troopers zip tied the hands of several activists and marched them out of the gallery. According to Kentucky State Police spokesperson Captain Paul Blanton, 19 people were arrested and taken to Franklin County Jail and charged with criminal trespassing following the demonstration.

“The Sergeant of Arms requested that KSP assist in restoring order today in the House gallery chambers. KSP gave each individual the option to leave without any enforcement action or be placed under arrest,” he wrote in a statement.

Lawmakers have one more opportunity to pass bills on the last day of this year’s legislative session: Thursday, March 30. But any legislation that’s taken up on the final day is likely to be in line with the governor’s priorities because lawmakers won’t have a chance to override any more of the governor’s vetoes.

Advocates hope the House will pass a medical cannabis bill, which Beshear has signaled support of. The measure already passed out of the state Senate. Similar versions have received support in the House in previous years.

Sports betting enthusiasts hope the Senate will approve a bill expanding legal gambling in Kentucky. The measure would allow horse racetracks to get sports gambling licenses and partner with companies like FanDuel and DraftKings, prominent online betting hubs.

Lawmakers are constitutionally required to finish business before the end of the day on March 30.


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