A bill that pays lip service to public safety is advancing in the Kentucky Legislature, and we need your help to stop it.
The bill, HB 14, seeks to upend hate crimes law by adding first responders as a protected class, despite the fact that attacks on first responders already carry enhanced penalties and are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Under this Blue Lives Matter bill, Kentucky police officers would be considered a protected class alongside vulnerable minority groups who face discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. There is no evidence that the Blue Lives Matter bill is necessary or will make first responders safer in the commonwealth.
We all condemn violence against anyone, including first responders. If we want to support both communities and first responders, we should train officers on how to avoid unnecessarily dangerous encounters, de-escalate potentially violent situations, recognize the stress police officers and their families confront, and provide mental health resources for those who need assistance. This bill doesn’t address any of these worthy goals.