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What's on Gov. Bevin's Desk As The 'Veto Period' Begins

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

As the dust settles on the main part of the legislative session, the Republican-led General Assembly has passed most of its priorities.

A handful of bills approved in early January have already been signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin. Those include a “right-to-work” law, a repeal of the prevailing wage on public works projects, and anti-abortion legislation.

But a flood of bills — including the authorization of charter schools in Kentucky and REAL ID legislation — passed at the end of session still await the governor’s signature.

Bevin now has a 10-day period to review legislation and either veto bills, sign them into law or ignore them — another way to make them law. The legislature will return on March 29 and 30 for two final working days, during which they will likely give approval to even more bills that haven’t passed yet.

Here’s the major legislation that has passed the General Assembly so far this year and what remains.

Charter Schools

Awaits governor’s signature

Charter school organizations will be able to apply to open their doors during the 2017-18 school year under House Bill 520, which has been advanced to Bevin’s desk.

There is no limit on how many charter schools can open up or where they can locate. Local school districts and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington will be in charge of approving charter applications, but denials can be appealed to the state board of education.

Charters will be funded much like traditional public schools, through a mix of state and federal dollars endowed based on student attendance.

Supporters say charters will be able to provide innovative education because they are exempt from most state regulations governing public education.

University Powers

Awaits governor’s signature

The legislature voted to give the governor broad powers to remove entire university boards or individual board members if he determines they have engaged in “malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence, or gross neglect of duty.”

Senate Bill 107 comes after a court blocked Bevin’s attempt to overhaul the University of Louisville Board of Trustees last year. The Republican-led legislature already circumvented the ruling earlier this year by voting to give Bevin the power to reshape the U of L board.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put U of L’s accreditation on probation in December, in response to Bevin’s reshaping of the school’s board.


Awaits governor’s signature

Kentuckians would be required to get an enhanced driver’s license or provide additional ID with their conventional licenses to board commercial planes under House Bill 410, which awaits Bevin’s signature.

The policy is a response to a federal mandate for states to strengthen security of their driver’s licensing systems.

The enhanced license will cost $48 and be good for eight years. Licenses currently cost $20 and are good for four years.

Bevin vetoed similar legislation last year, but he has indicated he will approve it this year to avoid federal sanctions.

‘De-funding’ Planned Parenthood

Awaits governor’s signature

Planned Parenthood would be at the end of the line for federal family planning dollars under Senate Bill 8.

The legislation would create a three-tier system for the state to prioritize federal Title X dollars.


Credit Jacob Ryan
The new Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Louisville.

The top priority would go to local community health departments and federally qualified health centers, the second to other organizations that provide comprehensive health services. And if there were any remaining funds, they would go to the third tier: Planned Parenthood.

There are two Planned Parenthood organizations in Kentucky, but neither provide abortions.

Public Education Overhaul

Awaits final passage

Senate Bill 1 would overhaul the state’s education system and gradually remove Common Core standards from Kentucky classrooms.

The bill would change the way students are tested, use teachers to create new education standards and replace school self-evaluations called program reviews.

Criminal Justice

Awaits final passage

Senate Bill 120 includes several policies designed to help people with criminal records re-enter society.

The bill would allow people with non-violent criminal records to apply for state professional and occupational licenses without being denied automatically.

It would also allow private companies to employ state prisoners, create a work release program for those housed in county jails and create a drug court-type pilot program to supervise people with addictions who have been released from jail.

Criminal defendants also couldn’t be jailed for being unable to pay court costs under the legislation.

Attorney General Powers

Has not passed out of committee

House Bill 281 would strip the attorney general’s power to file most civil lawsuits and give those powers to the governor.

The legislation, proposed by the Republican president of the state Senate, comes in the wake of several legal challenges filed by Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear against the Republican Bevin.

Beshear has also indicated he would not defend the state’s new ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, angering Republican leaders in the legislature. Beshear has said the law is unconstitutional.  

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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