Transgender sports, critical race theory bills vetoed by Governor Beshear

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Among the eight vetoes issued Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear targeted two of the most controversial topics in education this year: transgender student-athletes and “critical race theory.”

Senate Omnibus Bill 1, Beshear wrote in his veto message, “represents a step backwards for public education in the Commonwealth.”

His shift from the selection of principals and programs from school-level teacher and parent councils to superintendents “dims, if not eliminates” parent voice, Beshear wrote.

It “unfairly isolates” the Jefferson County School Board, he continued, by limiting the board to one meeting per month and transferring additional powers from the board to the superintendent. Such conditions would not apply elsewhere in Kentucky.

Track Invoices: Where are the major education bills in the Kentucky legislature?

And the language aimed at CRT fervor embedded in the bill would allow police to have classroom conversations about race and dictate how history is taught, Beshear wrote.

In a separate veto message, Beshear said Senate Bill 83 would ban transgender girls and women from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams, beginning in sixth grade and continuing through college, without give no reason why such a decision would be necessary.

“If the General Assembly’s intent was truly to prevent an unfair advantage in women’s sports, it need look no further than the policies of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association,” Beshear wrote in his vetoed SB 83.

Beshear said lawmakers didn’t report a single case where a Kentucky kid got an unfair advantage because of being transgender, nor did they share examples of the state’s current policy. KHSAA not maintaining a level playing field.

Background: What to know about Kentucky’s transgender sports ban bill

Equity Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman said SB 83 has always “been more about fear than fairness.”

“In the entire Kentucky school system, we know of only one openly transgender girl who plays on a school sports team,” Hartman said in a statement. “But rather than tackle the real problems of the state, lawmakers decided to use their time and their power to bully this student and others like her.”

The Family Foundation released a statement expressing its disappointment with Beshear’s veto.

“Kentucky girls and women deserve a level playing field,” said Executive Director David Walls. “Kentuckians overwhelmingly support this common sense bill, but unfortunately Governor Beshear has chosen to side with his woke political base instead of Kentucky’s female athletes.”

Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature will have the opportunity to override the vetoes when it meets next week. SB 83 passed easily with anti-veto margins in both chambers.

Lawmakers are likely to have a closer vote on Senate Bill 1, which initially targeted school councils before swelling to cover other topics. After the House expanded the bill, it narrowly received final passage in the Senate with 21 “yes” votes — one more than the 20 needed to override Beshear’s veto.

Beshear also takes aim at Jefferson County’s new towns bill

Among the eight bills Beshear vetoed on Wednesday was House Bill 314, which would significantly ease the process of creating new towns in Jefferson County by no longer requiring Louisville Metro Council approval.

Under the bill, a new request for city or annexation would be approved if at least 66% of area residents signed a petition to do so, while the maximum number of terms a Louisville mayor could serve would be reduced from three to two.

Background: Here’s where all of Beshear’s vetoes stand in 2022

Echoing the arguments of elected Democrats against the bill, Beshear wrote in his veto statement that he “nullifies the votes of the citizens of Louisville and Jefferson County to have a consolidated government” in their 2002 ballot initiative. .

The governor added that HB 314 “threatens the success of this merger by putting millions of dollars in revenue at risk” and could cause the city to lose millions more in federal pandemic aid.

Beshear wrote that the bill “forces changes on the government of Louisville, without the consent of the people of Louisville,” adding that out-of-town lawmakers who supported it “should think twice, because it creates a terrible precedent under which the General Assembly could turn around and target similar disruptive actions at other local governments.”

Republican Louisville House members who lobbied for the bill said it would give South End residents more say over their local services, arguing that the city and its police department are providing insufficient services.

Here are the other bills Beshear vetoed on Wednesday:

  • House Bill 248, which states that the Kentucky Attorney General is the only constitutional officer in the entire state authorized to spend taxpayer funds to challenge the constitutionality of a bill – a direct response to several lawsuits Beshear has filed for prevent Republican-led legislation from taking effect. effect. In his veto statement, Beshear wrote that HB 248 violated several sections of the constitution and was “a blatant attempt by the General Assembly to shield unconstitutional laws it passes from judicial review.”
  • House Bill 334, which removes the governor’s ability to make all appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and instead gives the majority of appointments to other state constitutional officers — all of whom are currently Republicans . In his three-page veto statement, Beshear wrote that HB 334 violated the constitution and “is yet another power grab” by the legislature.
  • House Bill 773, which removes the governor’s power to appoint members to the Attorneys’ Advisory Council. Beshear’s veto statement added that it would also eliminate any mechanism for impeachment of any council member.
  • House Bill 271, which moves the Agritourism Advisory Council under the control of the Department of Agriculture and removes the role of the Tourism Cabinet. Beshear’s veto statement called it another power grab.
  • Senate Bill 217, which Beshear said he vetoed because it gave “exclusive authority over procurement and all appointments of Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources personnel to one person – the commissioner” – then cited critical audits of the ministry under its current leadership.

Contact Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth.

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