Among the eight vetoes cast Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear took aim at two of the most controversial issues in education this year: transgender student-athletes and “critical race theory.”
Senate Omnibus Bill 1, Beshear wrote in your veto message“represents a step backwards for public education in the Commonwealth.”
His shift of principal and curriculum selection from school-level parent-teacher councils to superintendents “diminishes, if not eliminates,” the voice of parents, Beshear wrote.
It “unfairly singles out” the Jefferson County school board, he continued, limiting the board to one meeting per month and transferring additional authority from the board to the superintendent. Such conditions would not apply anywhere else in Kentucky.
Invoice tracking:Where are the major education bills in the Kentucky legislature?
And language targeting the CRT fervor added to the bill would control necessary classroom conversations about race and dictate how history is taught, Beshear wrote.
In a separate veto message, Beshear said that Senate Bill 83 would ban transgender girls and women from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams, beginning in sixth grade and continuing through college, without giving any reason why such would be the case. measure would be necessary.
“If the General Assembly really intended to prevent an unfair advantage in women’s sports, it need look no further than the policies of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association,” Beshear wrote in his veto of SB 83.
Beshear said lawmakers did not point to a single case of a Kentucky boy who gained an unfair advantage because he was transgender, nor did they share any examples of current KHSAA policy that failed to maintain a level playing field.
Background: What to know about Kentucky’s transgender sports ban bill
Campaign for Justice executive director Chris Hartman said SB 83 has always been “more about fear than justice.”
“In the entire Kentucky school system, we only know of one openly transgender girl who plays on a school sports team,” Hartman said in a statement. “But instead of addressing any of the real problems in the state, lawmakers decided to use her time and power to bully this student and others like her.”
The Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature will have a chance to override the vetoes when it reconvenes next week. SB 83 passed easily with veto-proof margins in both chambers.
Lawmakers are likely to have a tougher vote on Senate Bill 1, which was initially aimed at school boards before expanding to cover other topics. After the House expanded the bill, it narrowly received final passage in the Senate with 21 votes in favor, one more than the 20 needed to override Beshear’s veto.
Beshear also takes aim at the Jefferson County new cities bill
Among the eight bills Beshear vetoed Wednesday was House Bill 314, which would dramatically ease the process of creating new cities within Jefferson County by no longer requiring approval from the Louisville Metropolitan Council.
Under the bill, a new city or annexation application would be approved if at least 66% of residents in the area signed a petition to do so, while the maximum number of terms a Louisville mayor could serve would be reduced. from three to two.
Background: This is where all the Beshear vetoes for 2022 are located
Echoing Democratic elected officials’ arguments against the bill, Beshear wrote in his veto statement that it “overrides the votes of the citizens of Louisville and Jefferson County for a consolidated government” in his ballot initiative. 2002.
The governor added that HB 314 “threatens the success of that merger by putting millions of dollars in revenue at risk” and may cause the city to lose millions more in federal pandemic aid.
Beshear wrote that the bill “imposes changes on Louisville government, without the consent of the people of Louisville,” adding that out-of-town lawmakers who supported it “should think twice, because it sets a terrible precedent under which the General Assembly could turn around”. and target similar disruptive actions at other local governments.”
Republican members of the Louisville House who pushed for the bill said this would give South End residents more of a say over their local services, arguing that the city and its police department provide insufficient services.
Here are the other bills Beshear vetoed on Wednesday:
- House Bill 248, which establishes that the Kentucky Attorney General is the only constitutional official in the entire state allowed to spend taxpayer funds on litigation challenging a bill’s constitutionality, a direct response to several lawsuits filed by Beshear to block the Republican-sponsored legislation from going into effect. effect. In his veto statement, Beshear wrote that HB 248 violated several sections of the constitution and was “a blatant attempt by the General Assembly to shield unconstitutional laws it passes from judicial review.”
- House Bill 334, which eliminates the governor’s ability to make all appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and instead gives most appointments to other state constitutional officials, who currently They are all Republicans. In his three-page veto statement, Beshear wrote that HB 334 violated the constitution and “is yet another attempt to seize power” by the legislature.
- House Bill 773, which eliminates the governor’s authority to appoint any member of the District Attorneys Advisory Council. Beshear’s veto statement added that it would also remove any mechanism for the removal of any council member.
- House Bill 271, which moves the Agrotourism Advisory Council under the control of the Department of Agriculture and eliminates the function of the Tourism Cabinet. Beshear’s veto statement called it another power grab.
- Senate Bill 217, which Beshear said he vetoed because it gives “exclusive power over acquisitions and all personnel appointments in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to one person, the commissioner,” later cited audits criticism of the department under his current leadership.
This story can be updated.