The ACLU team had a busy week in Frankfort during the eighth week of the 2020 legislative session. Our team is always working in a number of issue areas. Below are some specific highlights about key pieces of legislation we are following and what our team accomplished the week of March 1 to March 7.
Restoration of Voting Rights Database
Governor Beshear released a database so people with past felony convictions can see if their voting rights were restored under his executive order. Learn more and watch his press conference here. Use the database to check your voting rights status here.
SB2, Mandatory Voter ID Bill
This bill would require all voters to have a government- or university-issued ID with a photo, signature, and expiration date. This will make it harder for minorities, the disabled, the elderly, people in rural areas, and students to vote. Laws like this have proven to reduce turnout by 2-3%.
March 3, 2020: Bill passed out of House with some amendments that will soften the blow to voters.
March 4, 2020: Senate rejected amendments from House. Both chambers will come together to form a conference committee and reach a compromise.
Bloody Sunday March
We joined voting rights advocates, Governor Beshear, and members of the General Assembly to march from downtown Frankfort to the Capitol. The march ended with a gathering on the Capitol steps. Check out our live stream here and photos here.
Voting Rights Rally Day
We joined Kentuckians for the Commonwealth for the annual lobby and rally day for voting rights. ACLU-KY Smart Justice intern Alaina Combs spoke at the rally in the rotunda.
SB15, Marsy's Law
We wrote a joint letter of opposition to Marsy's Law with Senator John Schickel, the Kentucky Tea Party, and a Commonwealth Attorney. Read the letter here and look for it in your local paper.
SB182, Limit to free speech in public
This bill would limit free speech in public spaces by making it a crime to share photos and videos that have "personally identifying information." It would also hold people liable for the actions of others. Learn more about the bill here.
March 2, 2020: Bill passed out of full Senate and now heads to the House.
HB368, Ending ban on KEES money for people with past felony convictions
This bill would end the ban on Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money for people with past felony convictions. ACLU-KY Smart Justice Advocate Amanda Hall shared with committee how education helped her rebuild her life after incarceration and through recovery.
March 3, 2020: Bill passed out of House Education Committee and now heads to full House.
HB361, Limited transfer of incarcerated people in crowded facilities
This bill would allow the transfer of incarcerated people when overcrowding in a jail or prison reaches 150% capacity. We appreciate the effort, but incarcerated people should be moved to a safer place as soon as a facility hits full capacity. Kentucky's jails and prisons are overcrowded to the point that people are dying. This bill needs to be amended to allow transfer as soon as a facility is at capacity.
March 5, 2020: Bill passed the House and heads to the Senate.
HB451, HB370, and HB391, Anti-abortion bills
These bills are TRAP Laws, or laws that are "Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers." Laws like this are cloaked in the language of healthcare, but are politically-motivated, overly burdensome, and have no positive impacts on patient health outcomes. They exist only to force clinics to close their doors. They are not outright abortion bans, but the effect is the same.
March 4, 2020: HB451 and HB370 passed the House Judiciary Committee and head to the full House.
March 5, 2020: HB391 passed the House Health and Family Services Committee and heads to the full House. ACLU-KY Reproductive Freedom Project Field Organizer Jackie McGranahan testified against the bill.