Uphold the Veto of HB 279!

Responding to overwhelming public opposition, on Friday Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed House Bill 279.

The bill drew opposition from the state’s own Human Rights Commission, mayors of Covington, Louisville and Lexington, dozens of organizations including KFTC, and some religious leaders and faith communities.

Now we have to make sure the House sustains the governor's veto. It takes just a simple majority (51 votes) to override the veto.

ACTION #1: Starting at 7 a.m. on Monday, please call the Legislative Message Line and leave a message for your own representative and "House leaders."

MESSAGE: "Please uphold the governor's veto of House Bill 279."

The Legislative Message Line is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. However, it is not known how soon after the House convenes at 12 noon on Monday that it might vote on the veto override. So call early if you can.

If you would like to call and talk to your legislator directly, call 502-564-8100 and ask for them by name.

ACTION #2: Thank Gov. Beshear for vetoing HB 279. You can leave a message at his office at 502-564-2611 or use his online contact form at: governor.ky.gov/Pages/contact.aspx

See the governor's veto message.

Thanks for Taking Action!

Some of the groups that oppose HB 279

* Kentucky Association of Counties
* Kentucky League of Cities
* Kentucky Education Association
Center for Accessible Living
* Hispanic-Latino Coalition
* Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission
* Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission
* NAACP – Louisville Branch
* National Assn of Social Workers
* United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227
* AIDS Volunteers of Lexington
* American Civil Liberties Union
* Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
* Bereans for Fairness
* Bluegrass United Church of Christ
* Catholics for Fairness
* Central Presbyterian Church
* Union Church
* Douglass Boulevard Christian Church
* Episcopal Church of the Advent
* Fairness Campaign
* Faith Leaders for Fairness
* Franklin/Simpson Human Rights Commission
* Gay and Lesbian Services Organization
* Jewish Community Relations Council of Louisville
* Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
* Kentucky Equality Federation
* Kentucky Fairness Alliance
* Kentucky Jobs With Justice
* Kentucky Secular Society
* Kentucky Young Democrats
* Lexington Fair Housing Council
* Louisville Human Relations Commission Advocacy Board
* Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice
* Covington City Commission
* Metro Louisville Women’s Political Caucus
* Northern Kentucky Democratic League
* Planned Parenthood of Kentucky
* Quaker Committee for Kentucky
* The Women’s Network
* Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington
* Women In Transition
* Women’s Leadership Conference for Religious Freedom


HB 279 has the potential to “make it harder to pursue criminal prosecutions and civil remedies in everything from child abuse to housing discrimination,” according to a Lexington Herald-Leader editorial, and is “a slippery slope when the state authorizes people to disregard laws,” wrote The Courier-Journal editors.

In a press release, the governor cited the following reasons for his veto:

  • Weakening of local civil rights laws;
  • Impact on implementation of the new Common Core Standards in our schools;
  • Negative impact to economic development efforts;
  • Adverse impact on enforcement of drug laws;
  • Additional financial burdens on local governments; and
  • Possible withholding of needed medical care or use of religion as a justification for abuse.
  • Increased litigation costs fro state agencies;
  • Decreased federal funding; and
  • Threats to public health, including refusal to provide needed medication or services.

The HB 279 veto will be considered first by the House, since that is the chamber where the bill originated. A majority of the members – 51 votes – is needed to override a veto. The bill originally passed the House 82-7), so a lot of legislators need to change their votes. If the House votes to override the veto, then the Senate will also vote. HB 279 passed the Senate 29-6 on March 7.

See how members of the House and Senate voted.

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