Here are the five vetoed bills (so far) Skip to content

Here are the five vetoed bills (so far)

The vetoes have begun! Here are the first five, including Governor Beshear’s veto message.

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We’re now in the “veto days” portion of the legislative session, where the legislators stop working and the governor starts working, by either signing or vetoing the bills that have passed both chambers and been sent to him.

As of today, Governor Beshear has vetoed five bills. Here they are, along with the vote margins when they passed, and Beshear’s message on why he vetoed the bill.

HB 18 – Landlords can discriminate against Section 8 renters

(House 74-20; Senate 25-11; veto overridden 76-19 and 31-7)
This bill allows landlords to refuse to rent to anyone getting government assistance with their rent. The bill throws out housing discrimination laws in Louisville and Lexington, with some housing advocates saying it will exacerbate the problem of affordable housing in those cities.

Beshear’s veto message

I am vetoing House Bill 18 because it removes local government control and autonomy, with the General Assembly dictating how local governments act to prevent discrimination in housing. Both Louisville and Lexington adopted ordinances to prohibit landlords from refusing to rent housing based on a person’s lawful source of income. House Bill 18 erases a local government’s ability to adopt such ordinances, and mandates that local governments cannot adopt or enforce such ordinances when the person’s lawful source of income to pay rent includes funding from a federal assistance program. Federal assistance is an important tool to help veterans, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and families of low income obtain housing. House Bill 18 allows landlords to refuse to provide them that housing.

HB 581 – the “filling station” bill

(House 78-14; Senate 31-7)
HB 581 supposedly puts regular filling stations and EV charging stations on an equal footing when it comes to local zoning ordinances.

Beshear’s veto message

House Bill 581 is another instance of the General Assembly interfering with local government decisions on local matters. The bill preempts local governments from using a zoning process, or from adopting or enforcing their own ordinances or decisions concerning the location of retail filling stations within their jurisdiction. In House Bill 581, the General Assembly also imposes big state government control over local governments ’ planning decisions regarding the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations. These local decisions about matters within local governments’ jurisdiction should be left to the local officials elected to make them.

HB 804 – the “venue shopping” bill

(House 75-20; Senate 29-7)
This bill is an obvious attempt to move constitutional challenges out of the Frankfort courts, which the Lege tried last year.

Beshear’s veto message

I am vetoing House Bill 804 because it is an unconstitutional power grab. Like Senate Bill 126 passed over my veto a year ago and unanimously struck down by the Supreme Court ofKentucky last October, House Bill 804 violates the separation of powers in the Kentucky Constitution, creates an arbitrary process for selecting the venue of civil actions, and blocks Kentuckians’ access to courts. The bill is also unconstitutional special legislation.

By allowing automatic transfer of venue merely on application - without any hearing or argument, and without applying any legal standard - House Bill 804 unconstitutionally infringes on the judicial branch of the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Supreme Court recently ruled that a bill that automatically granted a change in venue in these types of cases violated the Constitution’s separation of powers (1) by granting unchecked power to a litigating party to remove a judge from a case under the guise of “transfer”; (2) by divesting the circuit court of its inherent jurisdiction and authority when and if a case should be transferred to another venue; and (3) by invading the Supreme Court’s rule-making authority.

House Bill 804 again encroaches on the Kentucky Supreme Court’s rulemaking authority and completely removes the decision of the appropriate venue from the Kentucky circuit courts. The automatic transfer of venue would also cause delay, and would raise costs for those challenging and defending the constitutionality of these governmental acts, forcing them to travel to a circuit court they did not choose.

SB 65 – Nullifies three administrative regulations relating to Medicaid

(Senate 37-0; House 83-12)
This bill throws out three admin regs related to Medicaid services. The funny thing is, those three regs were “emergency” regulations and are no longer in effect. So why even file the bill? It appears that the Lege doesn’t like the expansion of Medicaid.

Beshear’s veto message

Senate Bill 65 is unnecessary “stunt legislation” and is unconstitutional.

Senate Bill 65 attempts to void emergency administrative regulations that are no longer in effect, as the bill sponsor acknowledged during its passage. Instead, ordinary administrative regulations are in effect to continue to make Kentuckians healthier and allow them to return to work. Vision, hearing, and dental problems have removed thousands of Kentuckians from the workforce. The ordinary regulations, like the emergency regulations before them, provide basic and inexpensive care to get Kentuckians back to work.

From January through November 2023, more than 460,000 Kentuckians used and benefited from these expanded health care services. Yet, for the second straight year through Senate Bill 65 the General Assembly shows its objection to these expanded services that are helping our fellow neighbors be part of our workforce - this time by trying to void emergency regulations that were not in effect when the sponsor filed the bill.

Senate Bill 65 also attempts to void an administrative regulation of the Board of Social Work, an executive branch board, that state law and the Kentucky Constitution mandate that the Governor make the final decision on.

Senate Bill 65 violates the separation of powers in the Kentucky Constitution. As the Supreme Court of Kentucky made clear, the adoption of regulations is within the constitutional purview of the executive branch, and a law giving the General Assembly the power to, by a bill or joint resolution, void a regulation already in effect is an unconstitutional encroachment into the power of the executive branch.

SB 198 – the Nuclear Energy Development Authority

(Senate 34-0; House 92-0)
This bill establishes a new organization called the Nuclear Energy Development Authority, and states that the mission of this new org is to “serve as the nonregulatory, trusted state government agency on nuclear energy issues and to support and facilitate the development of the nuclear energy ecosystem across the Commonwealth.” From this bill and others, it is apparent that the Lege is setting up for an expansion of nuclear energy within the state.

Beshear’s veto message

Senate Bill 198 attempts to establish the Kentucky Nuclear Energy Development Authority. I support an all-of-the-above energy policy that includes nuclear energy. However, the Authority created by Senate Bill 198, which is designated as a state agency within the executive branch, is governed by a board primarily “appointed" by the private sector or industry, and not the Governor or any constitutional officer. Specifically, there are 22 voting members and 8 nonvoting members. None ofthe 15 at-large voting members are appointed by the Governor; instead, they are representatives of the private sector designated by the private sector. Likewise, the eight nonvoting members are not appointed by the Governor, with two being members of the Kentucky Senate as designated by the Senate President and two being members of the House of Representatives as designated by the Speaker of the House. Despite no executive branch appointments, the Authority is then granted executive branch governing authority.

Sections 69 and 81 of the Kentucky Constitution require that the Governor play a significant role in the appointment and, if needed, removal of board members that carry out the duties assigned to the executive branch. Senate Bill 198 deprives the citizens of the Commonwealth of any meaningful oversight within the executive branch. As noted above, while this Administration believes in an all-of-the-above energy approach, the General Assembly must pass legislation that complies with the Kentucky Constitution. The governance and structure of the Authority is not only bad policy, but it is also unconstitutional by giving the Governor or other constitutional officers no authority to appoint or remove voting members, and by giving the legislature the power to appoint members to an executive branch agency. The Kentucky Supreme Court held such legislation unconstitutional in Legislative Research Comm’n By and Through Prather v. Brown, 664 S.W.2d 907 (Ky. 1984), as recently upheld in the Jefferson Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court ofAppeals.

Further, Senate Bill 198 does not include an appropriation for its mandate that the Cabinet and Economic Development create and implement a financial assistance program for the development and location of nuclear energy-related projects to support the entire nuclear energy ecosystem in the Commonwealth. An agency is under no obligation to carry out an unfunded mandate. In the absence of an appropriation, these unfunded statutes may not be implemented.

Again, I support developing the nuclear energy industry in Kentucky. But it must be done legally.

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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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