NewsCovering Kentucky


Gov. Beshear meets with Black Legislative Caucus amidst calls for special session

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 23:30:45-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — As protesters in Louisville continue to march in the streets demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, calls for a special legislative session to address police brutality and systemic inequities appear to be gaining momentum.

State Representative George Brown Jr. (D) and other members of Kentucky’s Legislative Black Caucus met with Gov. Andy Beshear Tuesday evening to kick off discussions on the matter.

“This is a place that we've gotta start,” Beshear said, ahead of the meeting. “And these are leaders that deserve to be heard. And I want to make sure that that is the first conversation that I have.”

When asked about the meeting, Rep. Brown told LEX 18 News it was “productive,” but declined to go into further detail.

He said the Caucus will release information to the media in the coming days.

Last week, during a news conference about unrest in Louisville, Senate Republican leaders suggested the governor call a special session on police reform.

The governor has signaled he was open to the idea, but Tuesday, he reiterated his belief that a special session should be contingent on agreed upon legislation before the legislature convenes.

“Before we call people in for a $60,000 a day special session, I want to make sure that real progress is possible,” Gov. Beshear said.

Senate President Robert Stivers said a potential special session could focus on topics like no-knock warrants, which both Democratic and Republican lawmakers agree should banned.

But Jonathan Bastian, the president of the Lexington Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge Number Four, is weary of a a special session sparked by “emotion.”

Passing legislation without looking at all the facts, he said, could lead to unintended consequences.

"I do think it's extremely important to understand that a no-knock warrant is a tool,” Bastian said. “And just like any other tool, it may or may not be misused.”

“But the dangerous thing,” he continued. “When you start removing tools from police officers, you start limiting options.”