Notoriously known in Kentucky for his rapid, last-minute processes to pass bills with little-to-no notice, Gov. Matt Bevin is at it again with his latest outbreak– an emergency regulation limiting public access to state-owned facilities and their grounds.
The new regulation states that, “public interest in, and attendance of, the regular business of the Kentucky Legislature has steadily increased…” pushing Bevin and his administration to limit access to the facilities in which his business is conducted due to “activities that pose a threat to public health, safety, and welfare at state-owned facilities and grounds.”
Bevin claims that public safety and welfare are the reasons this regulation was pushed, but is that really the case?
In April, Bevin vetoed the tax, budget and pension bills that were widely supported, even by members of his own party. Eventually, these lawmakers overrode these bills, but opposition began to grow.
Walkouts, protests and multiple days of teacher-filled state-owned facilities took place, all rallying against Bevin and his vetoes.
According to the Courier Journal, Bevin claimed that “the budget has hundreds of millions of dollars in spending that we really can’t afford to spend,” but was able to give Kentucky’s Chief Information Officer Charles Grindle a $215,000 raise in a last-minute bill passed without a hearing in April.
Much surprise was seen after this bill, too, and protesters took to social media outlets with their rage this time.
In December, Bevin called yet another last-minute meeting, giving lawmakers and protesters only four hours to arrive to his special legislative session to handle the pension issue.
These special sessions cost Kentucky taxpayers a little over $65,000 per day.
Despite his surprising four-hour notice, protestors still arrived, brandishing T-shirts and signs in opposition of Bevin.
And his latest stunt, this “emergency regulation,” was a poor attempt to silence Kentuckians and their right to petition. Now, a new sign in the House and Senate Gallery yielding the rules of “No cameras, video cameras, or cell phone cameras; No signs; No disruptive behaviors including clapping or loud speaking,” and more can be seen.
Bevin seems afraid of what protesting can do, of what the people can do. But pushing back, creating new rules because of failure, isn’t the way to go. Instead, Bevin needs to stop growing further from the people and instead start listening to what they want, especially when he represents them.