Gov. Beshear talks new legislation, recent vetoes

Gov. Andy Beshear spotlighted recent action he has taken on bills to come out of the Kentucky General Assembly at Thursday’s Team Kentucky Update.

Since the start of the 2024 session of the General Assembly, Beshear says he has signed 144 bills into law at the time of the meeting.

Beshear spotlighted Senate Bill 111 which is sponsored by local Senator Whitney Westerfield and requires health insurance to cover speech therapy as a treatment for stuttering. Beshear also signed off on House Bill 377 which establishes a student loan forgiveness program for teachers in the state.

At the meeting, Beshear signed off on SB 111 and was joined by Westerfield and former University of Kentucky basketball player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who has a speech stutter and advocated for the bill.

Westerfield says he was honored to have sponsored the bill and to have Kentucky be the first state in the country to ensure speech therapy insurance coverage. Westerfield also thanked Kidd-Gilchrist for using his platform to make a change.

Kidd-Gilchrist says in 2010 he made a commitment to the University of Kentucky, but also to the state and he is happy that he was able to play a role in helping spotlight speech disorders

Concerning military veterans, Beshear signed House Bill 30 into law which establishes the Kentucky Service Members, Veterans and their Families Suicide Prevention Program. Beshear says veterans make up around 17% of suicides across the state which is unacceptable.

Beshear also signed House Bill 752 into law which appropriates funds from the Easter and Western Kentucky SAFE Funds to help communities in the west recover from tornadoes and to help communities in the east to recover from flooding.

Beshear also approved bills concerning insurance coverage of cancer screenings and personal data rights.

Beshear shared that he has vetoed 27 bills including House Bill 5 the Safer Kentucky Act which would give offenders with three violent crimes the maximum penalty. He says there were parts of the bill he supported such as the harsher penalties for repeat violent offenders and the legislation provided regarding carjacking.

However, he says he could not sign off on a bill that would increase penalties against homeless people.

Though he vetoed the bill, on Friday the General Assembly voted to override Beshear’s veto which means it will be signed into law.

Beshear also issued vetoes for bills concerning the establishment of the Energy Planning and Inventory Commission, giving the General Assembly the final say concerning monuments and art in the Capitol and the removal of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission from the Public Protection Department which were also overridden by the General Assembly.