The Republican-led Kentucky legislature yesterday voted overwhelmingly to override all four of Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes to bills put on his desk so far this year.
The overrides are the first since 2013, when the legislature voted to reverse then-Gov. Steve Beshear’s veto of a religious freedom bill.
It only takes a simple majority in each chamber to override a governor’s veto in Kentucky—the 100-member chamber House needs 51 votes and the 38-member Senate only needs 20.
But House Speaker Jeff Hoover said it was still difficult to rally lawmakers for the overrides, especially since they were directed at Bevin, a fellow-Republican.
“When you override a governor’s veto you are telling him that publicly that we disagree with you and for some members that’s difficult to do,” Hoover said.
Sheila Schuster, executive director of the Kentucky Mental Health Coalition, said she was “delighted” lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 91, which will allow judges to order people with severe mental illnesses into outpatient treatment.
“I heard from legislators who were in a state of shock that this had been vetoed," Schuster said. "I think there was a huge public outcry. And it was easy to get calls made to the switchboard.”
Mental health advocates say that the policy will stop a “revolving door” of mentally ill people being incarcerated or put into treatment for repeated short-term stints.
Bevin also vetoed legislation creating a trust fund for settlement money from the Volkswagen emissions lawsuit, the airspace regulation for drone aircraft, and a bill dealing with the naming of roads and bridges.
All of those bills now become law.
Today is the last day of the legislative session.
Lawmakers are expected to consider a bill that would strip powers from the attorney general’s office, one that would make changes to the state’s worker’s compensation laws and another that would limit the supply of opioid pain killer prescriptions to three days.