FRANKFOR, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear has until April 11 to veto any bills he believes are wrong for Kentucky.
Then comes the final two days of the legislative session where the General Assembly could override the governor's vetoes.
The majority party in the legislature typically uses the period before the veto break to push priority items on their agenda and this session was no exception.
House Bill 9 would create a funding mechanism for charter schools in Kentucky.
Charter schools were legalized in Kentucky five years ago, but none have been set up because lawmakers didn't set aside any money. Beshear vowed to veto this bill, which has earned bipartisan opposition.
Those in support of HB 9 argue that there's a need for charter schools as an alternative option for students who can't afford private school but aren't doing well in traditional public schools.
"I think charter schools offers unfair advantages to certain individuals. I think charter schools will take funding away from our local schools," Rep. Timmy Truett.
To override a likely veto, lawmakers can't afford to lose a single yes vote in the House.
"The reality is the research shows us we need to try this in our urban areas. It's not gonna be a panacea, it's not gonna cure all of our woes. It's just another option for parents to choose," said Rep. Chad McCoy.
House Bill 7 passed by a much wider margin in the House last week. HB 7 would establish more restrictions on public assistance programs, an effort proponents say would help people become more self-sufficient.
But Beshear has signaled he'll veto the measure, calling it cruel.
"House Bill 7 is going to decimate, decimate our safety net. It's going to harm thousands upon thousands of Kentuckians," said Beshear.
Finally, there is House Bill 3, a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would—among other things—ban most abortions after 15 weeks and restrict the delivery of medical abortion through the mail.
The bill does not have an exception for victims of rape or incest. It's a provision some lawmakers wanted but it was voted down when it came to the floor as a last minute amendment.
It's not clear how Beshear will act on HB 3. When asked about anti-abortion efforts in the legislature last month, Beshear said, "I will veto any extremist bill. And by that, I mean, I've fought for justice for victims, especially of rape and incest as attorney general."
Beshear's veto break ends April 11.
While the governor has the veto pen through April 11, the fate of these three bills may not be up to him in the end. The final two days of the session allows for lawmakers to override the governor's vetoes.