In an extremely rare Saturday meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly, legislators took final action on abortion and labor-related bills. Both the House and Senate voted to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require an ultrasound prior to any abortion.
During debate on the ultrasound measure, Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas said some Kentucky children face extreme trauma every day. “We see children that are unattended. We see children who will suffer. We see children who are harmed and permanently damaged.”
Thomas voted "no." There were comments on the senate floor about “unwanted pregnancies.” In casting an "aye" vote, Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield rebuked that characterization, “They are not unwanted children to the world and to treat them that way is grotesque and I’m tired of hearing that on this floor Mr. President. I am sick of that.”
Union workers rallied for hours against right-to-work and the repeal of prevailing wage bills. Their protest continued through floor debate in the Senate. Lancaster’s Sammie Marcie, who works in the natural gas industry came to Frankfort with his two sons, one a union member and the other in college.
“We’re trying to fund a college education for him and our politicians think that it’s gonna be easier to do that by working for less money," explained Marcie.
Opponents argue eliminating a State requirement for pay on public works projects, along with a right-to-work statute will drive down worker wages. Senate President Robert Stivers doesn’t agree with that characterization, “I think the market determines what their pay will be. It could go up, it could go down. It could be more.”
The right-to-work measure prohibits requiring workers to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.
Gov. Matt Bevin has announced he will officially sign the bills passed Saturday on Monday January 9.