Stand for Racial Justice – help stop this divisive legislation | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Stand for Racial Justice – help stop this divisive legislation

Take action today for a Kentucky where discrimination is wiped out of our laws, habits and hearts

Take Action

Call the Legislative Message Line (800-372-7181) and leave a message for your state representative and "House Leadership"

MESSAGE: “HB 14 won’t make police and first responders safer. Its purpose is to divide our communities. Vote NO on HB 14.”

The message line is open 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and until 6 p.m. on Fridays.

How House Judiciary Committee members voted – let them know what you think of their vote!

Voting in favor

Voting No on HB 14

After you've made your other calls, please thank Reps. Owens and Jenkins for understanding what HB 14 is really about and standing strong in their convictions.

The Kentucky we seek is built on community, cooperation and nonviolence. That’s why we oppose bills like House Bill 14 that seek to create more divisions and undermine movements for social justice.

HB 14 and bills like it are aimed at undermining the Black Lives Matter movement. It's presented as addressing acts of violence toward police and and other emergency responders by creating a new protected class of citizens under existing hate laws based solely on occupation. But this legislation is redundant, unnecessary and meant to be divisive. Kentucky – and every other state – already has laws that carry heightened punishments for harming police officers. As Rep. Darryl Owens noted when he voted against the bill in committee, “This legislation does nothing to improve the safety of officers.”

Unfortunately, HB 14 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and could be voted on by the full House as early as Monday afternoon. Those votes in favor of HB 14 (see list to the right) are deeply disappointing. We need calls to all members of the House to let them know HB 14 is hurtful and harmful legislation and needs to be defeated. See the action you can take in the column to the right.


KFTC does not condone any acts of violence, including toward police and other emergency personnel. That’s not what HB 14 is about.

Here are some of the impacts of these so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bills.

  • These bills are aimed at undermining the Black Lives Matter movement. The legislation forces a false choice between showing concern for Black communities or for police officers.
  • The legislation undermines current hate crime laws intended to protect whole communities of folks who share an immutable characteristic such as race, gender, nationality, etc. – communities that have historically been marginalized and targeted by violence. An occupation is not an immutable characteristic. It is not a trait or characteristic that cannot be changed. Opening up hate crime classifications to groups simply on the basis of occupation would significantly undermine the intended purpose and protections offered in traditional hate crime laws.
  • And HB 14 could have chilling effects on public demonstrations. An act that might otherwise be deemed as resisting arrest could be ratcheted up to a hate crime, carrying far more significant penalties.

Rep. Owens and Rep. Joni Jenkins voted against HB 14 in committee. Rep. Jenkins noted that the legislature can truly support peace officers and first responders by protecting their rights to organize for good wages, benefits and resources for them to do their jobs well – the very rights that the legislature stripped from workers in January.

We need elected officials who will stand up for all of us – including and especially communities of color and other front-line communities. We need leaders who will see through and call out smokescreens that serve no real purpose and instead seek to divide. If state legislators would like to have a conversation about creating thriving, flourishing communities where people feel safe and first responders are a part of that community fabric, we would welcome that conversation. But let’s be clear, HB 14 is a diversion that won’t bring Kentucky communities together.

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The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights shared this analysis of the detrimental impacts of these so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bills:

"While violence against police officers is entirely unacceptable, these type of bills are very concerning for several reasons. … these bills misunderstand the very purpose of hate crimes – to protect communities that have been marginalized within our society and who are at a higher risk of facing violence simply because of an immutable characteristic they share. Police officers do not fit this understanding of a protected class, because (1) police officers have never been historically marginalized, (2) their choice of profession is not an immutable characteristic, and (3) as a community, they are already protected in all 50 states by laws that make it a serious crime to assault or kill a police officer. If we decide to expand hate crimes beyond marginalized groups who share an immutable characteristic, there is a significant risk that any group that is viewed as unpopular could receive special protections and corresponding enhanced offenses.”