The Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign is returning to the state capitol Tuesday to protest a new emergency regulation enacted by Governor Matt Bevin.
The new rules require those wanting to assemble at a state building to submit an application ten days in advance of the event. Last summer the group held a series of statehouse protests in Frankfort and 40 other state capitals.
Reverend Megan Huston, a pastor of First Christian Church in Bowling Green, participated in those protests last year and will be in Frankfort for the event Tuesday.
“Lobbyists have no trouble getting into the capitol building but then you gather clergy and people living in poverty, people who lack access to healthcare and they are the ones who are restricted,” she told WKU Public Radio.
Kentucky was the first state to restrict statehouse access to the Poor People’s Campaign. The Kentucky State Police Commissioner last year directed State Troopers to allow only two activists from the group to be inside the capitol at the same time. Attorney General Andy Beshear later issued an opinion saying the targeted enforcement of such rules was unlawful.
Huston said the Poor People’s campaign agrees with the idea that there's a state of emergency in Kentucky, but for different reasons.
“We do have an emergency. We call it an emergency when 46 percent of people in Kentucky are poor or low income. We call it an emergency that promised pensions for our teachers and state employees are being threatened and stolen, really,” she said. “We think it’s an emergency that voter suppression is happening through former felon disenfranchisement. It’s an emergency to us when our constitutional right to peaceably assemble is being threatened by our government.”
Huston said she believes the Poor People's Campaign has obtained the permits they need in order to be at the Capitol on Tuesday.