Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed his first bill last Friday, then watched as both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly voted to overturn that veto the following Tuesday.
Beshear’s veto of HB 279, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was overturned by a vote of 79-to-15 in the House, and 32-to-6 in the Senate.
While six House members didn’t cast a vote on the controversial overturn, all 28 members of the Senate made their stand, in what may be quick sand once the courts get hold of it.
Federal political consequences? Maybe ….
But for the moment, political insiders already are talking about potential challenges to state legislators in their next elections, based on their votes for or against HB 279. Interestingly, the vote could become a factor in a congressional race as well.
State Rep. Sannie Overly (D-Paris), who cn|2 reported in November as a promising potential 2014 congressional candidate for Kentucky’s 6th District seat, chose not to vote either way on the veto overturn. Today, she tweeted “Day one – post session! #returntoreality #freebird #kyga13”.
A source tells Insider that Overly’s ‘no vote’ on overturn of Religious Freedom veto was a result of her being out of the House chamber when the vote was held.
Our source tells us Overly was in the Senate chamber at the time of the vote, negotiating a deal on Grimes’ Military Voting Bill. Rumor has it that if Overly had been in the chamber, she would have voted against the override, but she’s not returned our email.
From a strictly political lens, one could conclude Overly prioritized making Grimes happy, instead of Colmon Elridge, Beshear’s executive assistant, and the executive vice Ppesident of Young Democrats of America.
Elridge, who cn|2 had also suggested as a potential candidate for that same congressional seat, sent out a few tweets of his own following the overturn that made it clear that he opposed the overturn, and would have voted differently. With Elridge’s clear stand against the veto overturn, and Overly’s failure to vote against it, Tuesday night’s vote could potentially play a role in the 6th District’s 2014 Democratic primary.
With help from longtime friend Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Andy Barr (R) was able to defeat Rep. Ben Chandler (D) for the 6th District seat, and while Barr has only held that office for under three months, campaigns for his potential replacement are getting easier to predict each day.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes had been suggested as a promising candidate for the 6th District seat, but at 11 pm following the veto, Grimes wasn’t tweeting about HB279. Instead, Grimes was tweeting about the passing of her own Military Voting Bill.
After Ashley Judd announced Wednesday that she will not be seeking McConnell’s Senate seat, Grimes is now the candidate most talked about to run for Senate, not the 6th District House seat.
When Congressman John Yarmuth was asked Thursday night who he thought might take up the fight against McConnell, he said, “I think Alison would make a strong candidate.”
The passage of HB 279 has led to a lot of natural allies taking a hard look at Kentucky’s Democratic Party.
The first time HB279 came before those houses, it passed 82-to-7 in the House and 29-to-6 in the Senate, suggesting that lobbying efforts by the Fairness Campaign, ACLU, and others, were successful in swaying a few votes in both houses, as well as swaying more than a few House members’ ‘Yeas’ to ‘Not voting.’ But not enough to prevent the overturn.
Before the Tuesday night vote to overturn the veto, Kentucky’s Democratic Caucus did a secret vote that showed Democratic house members opposed overturning the veto, 27-to-26.
LEO Weekly’s Joe Sonka was the first to deduct that 11 Democrats in the Kentucky house are on the down-low with their support for LGBT arguments for equality. When the vote is private, 11 Democratic Party legislators can be counted on, but if it’s public, not so much. No word on how many Republican Party legislators are ‘on the DL’ but THAT would be interesting.
What kind of Kentucky Democrat would support a bill that could potentially be a vehicle to allow people of faith to discriminate? Rep. Richard Henderson (D-Mt. Sterling) rose before the House Chamber in an effort to explain his position:
What kind of Kentucky Republican would support a bill that could potentially be a vehicle to allow people of faith to discriminate? Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington) rose before the House Chamber in an effort to explain his position:
The controversial Religious Freedom bill was first introduced in the Kentucky House on last February 7 by Rep. Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville), and took only 47 days to overcome all legislative hurdles that stood in its way.
The bill now will become law on June 25.