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Kentucky Capitol Access Still Limited As Legislative Session Begins

J. Tyler Franklin

Access to the Kentucky Capitol will still be limited as lawmakers return to Frankfort today for this year’s legislative session during the coronavirus pandemic.

Only lawmakers, essential staff, reporters and “specifically approved individuals” have been allowed into the Capitol and Capitol Annex since the beginning of the pandemic.

Those who make it in are required to have their temperature taken at the door.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshearrestricted access to the Capitol in March as an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Legislative proceedings and most committee hearings and will be streamed live on KET’s website. The Legislative Research Commission also streams some legislative meetingson its YouTube page.

Members of the 100-member House of Representatives will still be allowed to vote on bills from their Capitol Annex offices, instead of the House Floor.

Last year, the 38 members of the Senate still cast votes in person.

Lawmakers will have to pass a new one-year budget, figure out how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and consider other legislation during the 30 working-day session.

Leaders of the Republican-led legislature have made it clear that they want to strip Beshear of some of his powers because they don’t like how he has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beshear will provide his take on what the legislative session and budget should look like during a virtual State of the Commonwealth address, which will air Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET.

Protests and rallies are usually a day-to-day feature at the Capitol during the legislative session and will likely look a lot different this year.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Kentucky are hosting a reproductive rights rally from their cars at the Capitol at 6 p.m. on the first day of session.

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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