2021 General Assembly

Beshear Signs Law Limiting No-Knock Warrants

Apr 9, 2021
Governor's Communications Office

Bills limiting no-knock warrants, increasing support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and investing in west Louisville became law in Kentucky on Friday.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed the three bills at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville, in front of an audience that included Tamika Palmer. Her daughter, Breonna Taylor, was shot and killed last year by Louisville police who were authorized to raid her apartment by a no-knock warrant.

Palmer wiped tears from her eyes and stood behind Beshear as he signed Senate Bill 4. The measure puts limitations on no-knock warrants, but falls short of the all-out ban on such warrants that protesters and some lawmakers preferred. No-knock warrants were already banned in Louisville last summer as protesters demanded accountability for Taylor’s killing.

Stephanie Wolf

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear praised the Republican-led legislature for funding broadband, water and school construction projects with Kentucky’s share of the federal coronavirus relief package, saying it would create jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Lawmakers set aside $1.3 billion of stimulus money during this year’s legislative session—nearly half the total amount Kentucky state government will get from the federal package.

Beshear estimated the effort would create about 14,500 jobs and that legislators were off to a “good start.”

“It’s one of the first times we’ve been able to work together that closely, and I think it’s going to be good for everybody,” Beshear said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky lawmakers reshaped state government during this year’s legislative session, limiting Gov. Andy Beshear’s powers while shifting authority to the legislature and state offices currently controlled by Republicans.

Republicans began the session by curbing Beshear’s powers during the pandemic—laws the governor is challenging in court. This effort continued throughout the session, with new measures chipping away at the governor’s authority outside the state of emergency.

Lawmakers voted to give Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron power to enforce abortion regulations, oversight normally reserved for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

They gave Republican state Treasurer Allison Ball authority to cancel state contracts, instead of the finance secretary.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky lawmakers revived a bill limiting no-knock warrants on the last day of the legislative session.

Senate Bill 4 falls short of what people protesting the death of Breonna Taylor have been calling for — a total ban on no-knocks. Taylor was shot and killed last March during a middle-of-the-night raid authorized by a no-knock warrant. Police officers were attempting to conduct a search related to a broader narcotics raid.

Rep. John Blanton, a Republican from Salyersville who helped write the final version of the bill, said it’s a compromise that will make people safer.

“Nobody got everything they wanted, but everybody got a little something. But I don’t feel like we changed the purpose for what we’re trying to do here,” said Blanton, a former state trooper.

J. Tyler Franklin

Lawmakers advanced a last-minute bill funding a year of full-day kindergarten, money to repay Kentucky’s unemployment insurance loan and more funds to boost broadband internet in the state on Tuesday.

The language was added to House Bill 382, an unrelated bill that dealt with the state’s regional development assistance fund. The new version was unveiled early on the last day of this year’s legislative session, which is required to end at midnight.

The $140 million for local school districts for kindergarten funding was initially part of the controversial school choice bill passed by the legislature, but it was removed shortly before Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto period.

With significant opposition among Republicans and Democrats, the legislature narrowly overrode Beshear’s veto of the school choice bill on Monday.

Liz Schlemmer

Kentucky 120 United, the public education advocacy group that led mass teacher sickouts in 2018 and 2019, is unionizing.

“We seek better. We seek more. We seek our voices to be heard in the halls of Frankfort and our local communities,” KY 120 United co-founder Nema Brewer said Monday from the steps of the state capitol.

It was inside that building that KY 120 United gathered thousands of teachers, school employees, parents and other supporters in 2018 and 2019 to oppose attempts to slash teacher retirement benefits, create charter schools and send would-be tax dollars to private schools. According to Brewer, the group now has 38,000 members.

Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky lawmakers voted to override most of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes on the second-to-last day in this year’s legislative session, securing the passage of several conservative laws and shifting power from the governor to Republican officeholders.

Beshear vetoed all or part of 27 bills during the 10-day veto period that ended last weekend.

But Republican legislators easily overrode Beshear’s actions, doubling down on bills weakening open records laws, limiting worker safety rules and barring Beshear from spending federal coronavirus aid.

They also overrode Beshear’s vetoes of the state budget bill: zeroing out funding for the Commission on Women, freezing new mine safety inspector positions and giving Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, not the governor, final say on lawsuits over the budget.

Creative Commons

Future public school teachers will have less generous retirement benefits, and families in some counties will soon be able to apply for private-school scholarships funded through tax credits after Kentucky state lawmakers overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes of two controversial education bills Monday.

Both overrides represent long-sought victories for supporters of pension reform and private schools. Others see them as major blows to public education.

Teachers hired after Jan. 1, 2022, will have a new, less-costly pension plan under House Bill 258. Bill co-sponsor Boone County Republican Rep. Ed Massey said it will save the state $3.57 billion over the next 30 years.

LRC Media Relations

A bill requiring constables to receive training before they can wield police powers narrowly advanced on the second-to-last day of this year’s legislative session.

Constables are elected officials that have full police powers in Kentucky, like the ability to arrest people or make traffic stops, but under current law they don’t have to have police training.

House Bill 267 would only apply to constables taking office in 2023 and later.

Rep. Adam Koenig, a Republican from Covington and sponsor of the bill, said constables should have proper training.

Thinkstock

Kentucky lawmakers will return for the final two days of this year’s legislative session on Monday and Tuesday to consider overriding Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes and passing more bills.

Over the last week, Beshear vetoed 27 bills, including a sweeping school choice measure, a bill stripping his power to fill U.S. Senate vacancies and several items in the one-year state budget.

But with Republicans controlling more than 75% of seats in the legislature, overriding Beshear’s vetoes will be easy, for the most part. It only takes a constitutional majority—half the seats, plus one, in each chamber—to override a Kentucky governor’s veto.

Lawmakers will also take up several bills that didn’t make it across the finish line before Beshear’s veto period, like measures limiting no-knock warrants, making changes to Kentucky elections and providing Louisville’s new civilian review board with subpoena power.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear issued several line-item vetoes to the budget and revenue bills on Friday, rejecting language that blocks him from spending funds from Kentucky’s share of the recent coronavirus-relief package.

Beshear also vetoed parts of the budget zeroing out funding for the Commission on Women, freezing new mine safety inspector positions and requiring the state treasurer to approve travel on the state aircraft.

The Republican-led legislature will likely override Beshear’s vetoes when lawmakers return for the final two days of this year’s session on Monday and Tuesday.

In his veto message about the executive branch budget bill, Beshear wrote that by requiring legislative approval to spend relief money, lawmakers were hindering the state’s ability to recover from the pandemic.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear signed 29 more bills into law on Thursday, including a measure doing away with Kentucky’s automatic transfer law, which requires minors to be tried in adult court if they are charged with gun-related crimes.

Beshear also vetoed six bills, including a resolution ratifying some of his coronavirus-related executive orders in case laws stripping the Democratic governor’s emergency powers are upheld in court.

There are two more days for Beshear to approve or reject bills before the end of his 10-day veto period. Earlier this week he vetoed bills dealing with private school scholarship tax credits, weakening the state’s open records laws and stripping his power to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed two controversial education bills: One would create a $25 million tax-credit program to fund private school tuition; another would add a less-costly tier to the state’s teacher pension program for new hires. 

During a Wednesday press conference, Beshear said the measures “represent a direct attack on public education.”

The most divisive bill is House Bill 536, the tax-credit scholarship measure, which Beshear called “unconstitutional,” saying it diverts tax dollars to private schools.

“This measure would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable, private organizations with little oversight,” Beshear said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear signed eight bills on Tuesday, including measures that create tougher penalties for child predators, ban the solitary confinement of pregnant inmates, and ease pension payments for quasi-state agencies like rape crisis centers and health departments.

Beshear also vetoed five bills, including one that would restrict out-of-state open records requests and another taking food assistance away from noncustodial parents who are behind on child support.

Beshear said the bills he rejected aren’t in the “public’s interest or would violate the Constitution.”

Legislators are currently on a 10-day break during the legislative session while Beshear considers vetoing or signing bills that have passed so far this year.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed five bills Monday aimed at stripping away several powers his office has historically held. Beshear, a Democrat, called the Republican bills “purely partisan.”

“These bills were more politically-related, violate our state constitution, [and] chip away at our strong separation of powers simply because of who is sitting in this chair, and who is not,” Beshear said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Republicans in the General Assembly, who have a veto-proof majority in both chambers, will likely override Beshear’s vetoes.

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