As if we didn't have enough news to process today, here in Kentucky things also took a turn for the worse, both ugly and bizarre. GOP Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the state budget, tax reform, and pension reform bills because they didn't punish state employees and Kentucky's poor enough earlier this week, so on Friday the state legislature overrode all three vetoes.
The Kentucky General Assembly on Friday voted to override vetoes by Gov. Matt Bevin on three key bills: the two-year, $22 billion state budget; changes to the tax code expected to generate several hundred million dollars in new revenue; and a measure that will give pension relief to local governments.
Although the House and Senate are overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans, lawmakers said they wanted to show their independence from the Republican governor, who early in the day criticized their budget and tax bills on Twitter.
“If you think siding with the governor and giving him the authority to control this budget is a good idea, then vote ‘No,’” Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, told his Senate colleagues, urging them to vote for the veto override on the budget bill.
Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Saturday for the last day of the 2018 legislative session. They said they expect to pass one or more measures to “tweak” inadvertent errors in their hastily assembled tax bill and deal with other problems brought to their attention in the past two weeks, including additional money needed for the statewide Kentucky Wired internet broadband project.
Bevin does have line-item veto power, but he scrapped all three bills in their entirely because his significantly deeper budget cuts, especially to education and infrastructure, were not included. He sent the bills back this week and announced that unless his cuts were passed, he would call a special session and keep it open until he got his way.
When he didn't get what he demanded on cuts to education funding and teacher benefits and pensions, Matt Bevin showed who he truly is to the entire state, country, and world.
Gov. Matt Bevin, asked Friday about teachers leaving the classrooms to attend a protest rally in Frankfort, said, “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”
Louisville’s WDRB-TV interviewed Bevin outside the Capitol Friday about the rally.
In the interview, Bevin said, “This is what’s crazy to me. Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?
He then added that consequently a child in Kentucky was sexually assaulted. He added that he guaranteed a child was “physically assaulted or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”
Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler said Friday night she was appalled at Bevin’s comment.
“There are no words,” Winkler said. “My mouth was hanging open and I don’t even know what I can tell you."
Lawmakers in both parties called him out after Bevin exploded in rage on Friday.
“The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible,” tweeted state Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville. “I don’t agree with these comments & I find them repulsive. I disagreed with his radio comments about teachers before & I disagree with these.”
In response to Wise’s tweet, Daviess County Superintendent Matt Robbins called for the Republican-led General Assembly — in Frankfort on Saturday for its last day of business — to censure Bevin.
“This is reprehensible and his own party needs to tell him enough is enough,” Robbins said.
Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, who has been sniping with Bevin over his ethic hearing on sexual harassment had just two sentences on Twitter:
“Out of control. Unhinged.”
Another Republican senator, Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville, said on Twitter he was troubled, frustrated and disappointed by Bevin’s comments, “once again needlessly and unjustly demonizing a group of professionals who, like the eight I met with for an hour before we convened, were engaging with legislators peacefully.”
I've been telling people for years that Bevin is an asshole of the lowest order. What Trump is doing to the country right now, Bevin's been doing since 2015. If you still somehow had doubt that he wasn't a vile scumbag, now you know what Kentucky's had to deal with.
I expect that situation will be rectified next year.