KY Black Legislative Caucus signals Beshear open to Special Session if specifics can be hashed out

KY Black Legislative Caucus signals Beshear open to Special Session if specifics can be hashed out

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Calls for racial justice and reform have not gone unheard by those in the Kentucky state government.

That’s the message leaders of the Black Legislative Caucus delivered Thursday during a press conference detailing their desire for change.

Kentucky Capitol building in Frankfort
Kentucky Capitol building in Frankfort

State Representative Reginald Meeks, (D) the chair of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus, said he and other caucus leaders met with Governor Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky, to discuss the possibility of a special session to address the issue this year.

Without the call for legislators to return to Frankfort, reform would have to wait until the next time the legislature is scheduled to meet in 2021.

Among the issues the group talked about addressing with Gov. Beshear were police reform and relations.

Black Caucus leaders said the governor signaled he’d be open to a special session, but both parties agreed they’d only do that if they could guarantee specific outcomes ahead of time.

“If it does not move the needle toward improving situations in the commonwealth for all its citizens, we think that it should not be done,” Representative George Brown, (D) the vice-chair of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus, said.

If it were to occur, Beshear would call the session. Then, Republicans, in control of the Senate and House, would take the reins and craft legislation.

Senator Robert Stivers, (R) Senate President, claimed in July he’s drafting legislation that would ban no-knock warrants in Kentucky.

Kentucky state representative George Brown (D) standing next to representative Reginald Meeks (D).
Kentucky state representative George Brown (D) standing next to representative Reginald Meeks (D). (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Meeks said he’s upset Republicans haven’t reached out for his caucuses input.

“It is appalling to us, as a caucus, that the Republicans would have an expressed concern about issues that affect the African-American community, but not call us to be part of the discussion,” Meeks said.

Meeks said he wants to have a dialogue with the GOP lawmakers.

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The 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot when three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers entered her apartment by force to serve a warrant in a drug investigation.
The 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot when three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers entered her apartment by force to serve a warrant in a drug investigation.

Caucus member Representative Attica Scott has pre-filed legislation she calls Breonna’s Law. It would ban no-knock warrants, make it so officers must wear body cameras while serving warrants, and require them to get drug and alcohol tested after deadly incidents.

Meeks would not commit to how likely a special session is or what the caucus would want legislation to specifically address if it were called.

The black legislative caucus emphasized they find the need for change urgent before another shooting like that of Breonna Taylor’s happens again.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Meeks said. “It’s going to happen.”

Lawmakers said they are also drafting reforms to be passed in 2021.

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