Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office is reviewing a new emergency regulation recently enacted by Gov. Matt Bevin. The executive order concerns public access to state-owned buildings.
Beshear’s office is reviewing the regulation on the grounds of public access to the building and the application of the Open Meetings law. The new rules require those wanting to assemble at a state building to submit an application ten days in advance of the event. In the last legislative session Kentucky public school teachers spontaneously showed up at the Capitol to protest the pension law. Michael Abate is a Louisville attorney with experience in media and constitutional law.
“One could read these rules as an attempt to prohibit that from occurring again because for example somebody might be denied entry into the building for that kind of an event on the grounds that it wasn’t permitted in advance ten days before.”
Abate says the legality of the regulation depends on how it’s enforced. He says the new rules raise questions under Kentucky’s Open Meetings Law, which say a meeting has to be open and available to the public anytime a public agency is conducting business. The new regulation also says any group approved for use of the Capitol building has to reimburse the state for the cost of all staff services including security, setup, janitorial and maintenance. Gov. Bevin’s office did not return multiple requests for comment.