Whitney Westerfield

LRC Public Information

A bill that would require doctors to resuscitate infants born after failed abortion attempts has passed out of a committee in the Kentucky Senate.

The measure would make it a felony if doctors and other providers don’t “take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant.”

Incidents where abortions result in a live birth are extremely rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kentucky is one of several states that restricts abortion during or after the 20th week of pregnancy — around the point at which a fetus could be viable outside the womb.

 


A Kentucky lawmaker has reintroduced a bill that would give crime victims the same rights afforded to the accused, including a voice in the criminal justice system.

Marsy's Law would guarantee crime victims constitutional protections, including the right to be notified of all court proceedings, the right to be present for those hearings, and the right to be heard in any hearing involving an offender’s release, plea, or sentencing. 


Kentucky LRC

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield has dropped out of the race for Kentucky attorney general, citing time constraints from his role in the legislature.

Westerfield is the Republican chair of the Senate’s judiciary committee and narrowly lost a race for attorney general to Democrat Andy Beshear in 2015.

In a statement, Westerfield said running for the state’s top legal officer is “no longer feasible at this time.”

“I have been overwhelmed by the support I received during this campaign, but this decision will hopefully give another qualified candidate the opportunity to run their campaign as it should be run,” Westerfield said.

Kentucky Senator Appeals ‘Marsy’s Law’ Ruling

Oct 17, 2018
Marsy's Law for Kentucky Facebook

A Kentucky state senator has appealed a judge's ruling not to certify results of a constitutional referendum next month.

Kentucky is one of six states scheduled to vote on "Marsy's Law" next month. It would amend the state's constitution to include rights for crime victims, like the right to be notified of and present for most court proceedings.

Monday, Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled the question posted to voters on the ballot is misleading. It is too late to remove the question from the ballot. But he ordered election officials not to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election.

Kentucky GOP Senator to Run for Attorney General in 2019

Aug 22, 2017

A Republican state senator says he is running for attorney general in Kentucky.

Whitney Westerfield said Tuesday he will file a letter of intent with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. That means Westerfield can raise money for the election that won't happen until 2019.

It will be the second statewide campaign for Westerfield, who lost the 2015 attorney general's race to Democrat Andy Beshear by less than half of a percentage point.

Kentucky LRC

People convicted of crimes could no longer be automatically denied an occupational license issued by the state under sweeping reforms proposed by Republican leaders.

Senate Bill 120 says a hiring or licensing authority cannot disqualify a person solely because of a criminal conviction, unless the board makes a connection between the conviction and the license being sought. The bill would also give the person the right to a formal hearing and the ability to appeal the decision to the circuit court.

LRC Public Information

The state Senate has approved a bill requiring women who seek an abortion in Kentucky to view or hear a description of a sonogram image of their own fetus.

The legislation is one in a handful of anti-abortion measures being pushed through the General Assembly this year.

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor, clashed Thursday morning with opponents of the bill, who say it would violate women’s right to have an abortion.

“If you think this isn’t about making sure that mother has all the information that she needs and that this is no more than a political stunt, well, we’re just going to have to disagree,” Westerfield said

The bill would require a doctor to provide a “simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,” including the location of the fetus in the uterus and a medical description of the body.

The committee approved the bill 11-1. State Sen. Perry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, was the lone no vote.

Attorney General Candidates Square Off on KET

Oct 13, 2015

The two candidates competing to be Kentucky's next attorney general have differing views on the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act as it relates to the highly publicized actions of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. Davis went to jail after refusing to grant marriage licenses for same sex couples.

Some Davis supporters have called on the governor to issue an executive order rendering an option for clerks who have religious based objections. Democrat Andy Beshear says his father, Governor Steve Beshear, made the right call by not issuing an order. “It’s law school 101 that the governor cannot change an explicit section of a statute by executive order,” said Beshear.

Republican Whitney Westerfield believes some attempt should be made to accommodate clerks who have religious objections. “And the frustrating part, frankly, is less that nothing’s been done, it’s that nothing’s been tried,” said Westerfield.

A state Senator and Representative from Hopkinsville are among a small group of lawmakers working to craft new legislation aimed at curbing the state’s rising problem with heroin.

Senate Judiciary Chair Whitney Westerfield and House Judiciary Chair John Tilley are helping to create a bill they hope can pass the 2015 General Assembly. A bill introduced in this year’s session failed because of concerns over a part of the measure that would have allowed prosecutors to charge heroin traffickers with homicide if someone they sold to died from an overdose.

Speaking to CN2’s Pure Politics, Senator Westerfield said a bipartisan group from both the House and Senate believes something needs to be done to strengthen the state’s heroin laws. The Christian County Republican says he wants to see a bill that cracks down on dealers while also increasing treatment options for addicts.

A recent report from Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy showed deaths caused by heroin increased by more than 12 percent in 2013.

Kentucky LRC

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo a mandatory ultrasound.

The measure passed 33-5 Wednesday with wide Republican support. This is the tenth year the bill has cleared the Senate. All previous efforts have gone on to die in the Democratically-controlled House.

The bill does not provide an exemption for victims of rape. Bill sponsor Whitney Westerfield acknowledges that transvaginal ultrasounds could be traumatic for rape victims.

“I’m not compelling that particular use, and I think that probably would be traumatic and I don’t know, I don’t presume to know what a woman would be thinking in that position, but I think it probably would be," the Hopkinsville Republican said. "They oughta have the option of which ultrasound. That’s why I didn’t write it so it’d be compelled.”

Dissenters say the bill is degrading to women, and  similar laws in other states are costing taxpayers money as a result of legal challenges.

Westerfield said he had not had a chance to review those cases.

A Kentucky Senate committee has passed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo a mandatory ultrasound procedure.

Senate Bill 8 is the latest anti-abortion measure to clear the panel.

Lawmakers heard testimony from Derrick Selznick, who is director of the ACLU of Kentucky’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Selznick opposes the bill on the grounds that it’s demeaning to women.

“So for the majority of women that this will effect in Kentucky, there will have to have [sic] a vaginal ultrasound," Selznick said. "And the courts have ruled that the only way a woman can dissent, even though it is written into the law that they can avert their eyes, the only way she can can fulfill that is to wear blinders and noise cancelling headphones. And if that isn’t degrading, I don’t know what is.”

Bill sponsor Whitney Westerfield says the measure is designed to protect innocent life.

Another anti-abortion bill, Senate Bill 3, passed in that chamber last week.

Democratic State Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville has suspended his campaign after the death of his opponent's father. Pendleton said in a written statement that he is putting politics on hold out of respect for the family.