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Governor vetoes several school-related bills, lawmakers plan to fight back

Beshear
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 07, 2022

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear issued vetoes for some of the more controversial school-related measures passed by the 2022 General Assembly.

House Bill 9

The governor called the charter school funding bill "unconstitutional."

“I’m against charter schools," he said. “They are wrong for our commonwealth. They take taxpayer dollars away from the already-underfunded public schools in the commonwealth.”

The legislature legalized charter schools in Kentucky in 2017. However, none have been created because lawmakers didn't provide a permanent funding mechanism. House Bill 9 would create that mechanism by giving charter schools access to local and state tax dollars. It's a move the governor criticized Thursday.

"Our taxpayer dollars should not be redirected to for-profit entities that run charter schools," said Beshear.

The bill also would have required that at least two charter schools be created under pilot projects — one in Louisville and one in northern Kentucky.

Senate Bill 83

The "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" bans trans girls from playing on girls' sports teams from grade 6 through college.

Senate Republican leaders argue the measure is needed because they believe trans girls have a biological advantage.

"You are truly putting individuals - female athletes- potentially out of competition," said Senate President Robert Stivers.

"There is just a physiological difference - size, weight, muscle mass," he added.

However, Beshear argues there are already rules in place to deal with that. He says the Kentucky High School Athletic Association's current policies would prevent an unfair advantage in women's sports.

So, he worries all SB 83 would do is make vulnerable trans kids feel bad about themselves.

"Imagine middle school being a child who is trans," said Beshear. "Who’s probably not on a sports team or not playing a sport for anything other than meeting other kids and trying to be just accepted as a human being."

Senate Bill 1

This measure originated as a bill to shift responsibilities, like hiring principals and curriculum decisions, away from school-based councils to superintendents. However, the House amended the bill late in the session to include anti-critical race theory language.

The sweeping education bill would designate a set of historical documents and speeches to incorporate into classroom work — a response to the national debate over critical race theory.

In his veto message, Beshear said the bill represents a “step backward” for public education.

Will the vetoes hold up?

The GOP-led legislature has the opportunity to override the governor's vetoes when it returns for the final two days of the legislative session later this month.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer believes they will override "most of them, if not all of them."