Week 9 of the 2022 Legislative Session
Two-thirds of the 2022 legislative session is behind us after crossing the 40-day mark of the 60-day session. What arguably has been a marathon up to this point will become a sprint as budget negotiations draw near.
As we wrap up week nine, much is happening in the world. Despite the issues we must address domestically, and here in the commonwealth, we cannot help but get caught up in challenges we face nationally and even abroad. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is the latest topic filling airwaves and tugging at the heartstrings of freedom-loving people worldwide.
I introduced a bipartisan measure, Senate Resolution 153, and it was adopted by the Senate in week nine. It spoke to the importance of freedom and standing in unity with the Ukrainian people against a totalitarian despot and Russian thug like Vladimir Putin. He is responsible for the death of many innocent people and for mothers having to give birth to babies in subways currently serving as bomb shelters as he targets apartment complexes, homes, hospitals, schools and businesses of people who have caused him no harm
I would have never thought that, in our lifetimes, we would see another land war in Europe. But clearly one man's desire for imperialism has upended geopolitics and threatened the freedom-loving people of Ukraine. I feel it was important that the Senate chamber speak on behalf of the people of commonwealth to express support for Ukrainians' ability to defend themselves and their right to self-determination.
I'm old enough to remember when Ukraine first became a country. It was the direct result of America and its allies winning the Cold War, breaking up the U.S.S.R and creation of independent nations grateful to be freed from the human suffering communism brings. Now, Putin hopes to turn back time and return to the old days of Soviet dominance of its numbering countries. Marxism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people across the span of a century. I won't stand silent as it seeks to emerge from the ashes and I hope America will not, either.
On a related note, I also called forward Senate Resolution 159, which encourages the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to suspend the sale of Russian-produced vodka. If you enjoy drinking vodka, several Kentucky distilleries produce a high-quality vodka that will taste even better because it's sourced right here in the Bluegrass. This is an excellent opportunity to shop locally and benefit Kentucky and United States-produced liquor products.
Senate Bill 149 is a constitutional amendment that would be proposed to voters on this November's election ballot. It aims to put reasonable parameters on gubernatorial pardon powers by not allowing pardons or commutations to be granted 30 days before an election through the inauguration. The idea is preventing lame duck governors from granting questionable pardons and commutations.
Senate Bill 160 benefits Kentucky's one-of-a-kind spirits industry following a bizarre change in interpretation of law by the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. It allows a distiller to conduct private selection events and sell private selection packages at retail so long as it sells the packages through a wholesaler and licensed retailer. The bill will also allow distillers to sell private selection packages selected by the distillery's own representatives directly from the premises to visitors. Before the ABC's change in statutory interpretation, distilleries were already doing these things. The bill includes an emergency clause to reassure Kentucky distillers of their operations as soon as possible. That means the law would go into effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State's Office.
House Bills 4, 6 and 144 made passage in the Senate too. Those bills could reach the Governor's desk for his consideration to be signed into law or allowed to become law without his signature or vetoed. If vetoed, I trust the legislature will soundly override the veto just as we did in the past.
On the pro-life front, we received a big win on Thursday. In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed Kentucky's Attorney General can defend pro-life legislation. The Kentucky General Assembly has passed numerous bills since a new majority was secured in 2016. Among them have been bills to ban live dismemberment abortions, which is the bill Attorney General Daniel Cameron was seeking to defend, and now will, before the nation's highest court. I am confident of continued rulings from the court to protect the most innocent further.