Legislative Update: Post-Session Edition 4/26/2020

Dear Friends,

Our Kentucky state motto, “United we stand, divided we fall” seems particularly relevant in these days of the COVID-19 global pandemic.  While the political divisions in our country and in our state have never been starker, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate moments of unity.  Kentucky celebrated just such a unifying moment this week when Democratic Governor Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams worked together and came to an agreement that will allow every Kentucky voter to request an absentee ballot, making voting easier for all Kentuckians in our June 23rd primary election.  I’ve been sharply critical of the Secretary of State for his advocacy for Senate Bill 2, an unnecessary law which will make voting more difficult for some Kentuckians.  Now it seems only fair that I give Secretary Adams a shout-out over his willingness to work with Governor Beshear to allow vote by mail, and other voter accommodations.  

Here’s an excerpt from a joint statement from Governor Beshear and Secretary Adams:

“Today’s Executive Order and regulations that will be created by the Kentucky State Board of Elections will allow all Kentuckians who are registered to vote for the upcoming primary to vote by mail through an absentee ballot,” said Governor Beshear. “While there will be significant education and work required, we are committed to making sure this election will be held in a safe manner while we are in this worldwide health pandemic.”

“Voters across the political spectrum will be pleased with this plan to protect both democracy and public health,” said Secretary Adams. “I’m grateful to Governor Beshear for his leadership, and his working in good faith with me toward ensuring a successful and safe election.”

The Governor said the State Board of Elections will also be working on a plan to safely conduct limited in-person voting and a possible drive-through voting option, so that those voters who cannot vote by mail can exercise their right to vote.

As it stands currently, these accommodations will apply only to the June primary, and not to the November general election.  But once structures are in place that allow more flexibility for voting, I am hopeful that there could be successful public advocacy to extend those accommodations to November and beyond. 

I want to thank the many of you who have stayed in contact with me during the legislative session to share your perspective and concerns.  I hope to continue to hear from you throughout the interim.  During the interim period, I will, presumably, be attending legislative interim committee meetings, although I don’t yet know what that will look like with social distancing guidelines in place. I will be working on legislation, and would normally be attending neighborhood meetings across the district to share ideas and gather input.  I’m looking forward to the time when we can safely resume these in-person gatherings.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to rely on technology as we all do our best to stay in contact with one another.   

Now that session has ended, I don’t expect to be sending regular weekly emails, but I will continue to send periodic messages about items of interest throughout the interim period.  For more frequent updates, I hope you’ll Like/Follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lisaforkyhouse/.

As always, you can contact me by email at Lisa.Willner@lrc.ky.gov or LisaForKyHouse@gmail.com, message me on FB or Twitter, and through the Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181. 
Stay safe, be well!