Special session to deal with police reform possible

A special legislative session dealing with police reform could happen, but it’s not clear when.

In a Thursday news conference, the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus said they have met with Gov. Andy Beshear on issues critical to equity, social justice and economic viability. The KLBC also said they want more seats at the table with Republicans on issues deeply impacting them.

The belief from these lawmakers is that if the General Assembly doesn’t act, more violence will happen.

Rep. Reginald Meeks (D-Louisville) believes that without police reform, another situation like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd or James Blake will happen again.

“It’s not a matter of if…it’s a matter of when,” Rep. Meeks said.

“An expressed concern about issues impacting the African American community and the commonwealth of Kentucky..but not call us to be part of the discussion,” said Rep. Reginald Meeks (D-Louisville)

Rep. George Brown Jr. (D-Lexington) believes in the need for legislative action, saying “It needs to be done, to deal with the ills of this country, to deal with America’s original sin. Not just in Kentucky but in this nation.”

The KLBC had a meeting with Gov. Beshear on Tuesday after they say they felt Republicans were considering agenda items important to them, but not calling them to the table.

“An expressed concern about issues impacting the African American community and the commonwealth of Kentucky, but not call us to be part of the discussion,” Rep. Meeks said.

House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Louisville) said they will have their own agenda ideas, which may not be discussed until next year, finished within the month. Rep. Jenkins also says they want a state welcoming and safe for everyone.

“Additionally the House Democratic Caucus has a work group on policing and criminal justice issues,” Rep. Jenkins said.

No one would say what specific reforms would be pushed, but both Republicans and Democrats have talked about banning no-knock warrants.

“Well, I think whatever bill we move forward with it will come out on the back end of some agreement and go in with some agreement,” Rep. Meeks said.

We reached out to both state house and senate Republican leadership on their reaction to the KLBC’s actions but have not heard back.

Regardless of whether or not a special session takes place, Rep. Brown says there will be legislation in the 2021 session central to issues that concern the KLBC.