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State Capitol

Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Establishing Commission On Race And Access To Opportunities

Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate voted overwhelming Wednesday to establish the State Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity. 

Senate President Pro Tem and Bill Sponsor David Givens called it the, quote, “best first---right step.”  He told his senate colleagues it could help guide lawmakers on policies related to race. 

“What if we could put a process in motion to say let’s shape policy in the future to avoid some of the sort of things that we’ve either inadvertently created or purposefully created or unknowingly created,” said Givens. 

Calling himself a ‘cynical-optimist’, Louisville Senator Gerald Neal said a break-through might be taking place.  “I think there’s sincerity behind this.  I think ownership is being expressed here and that this offers an opportunity and we should approach this optimistically.  Realistically, but optimistically,” noted Neal. 

The veteran lawmaker added there are other weighty race-related issues on the table this session which also need attention.  Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas said lawmakers came to Frankfort in January facing major issues like coronavirus and vaccine distribution, the closings of businesses, and unemployment problems.  But, Thomas said another major issue centers on racial and social justice concerns.  In casting his yes vote, Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield said setting up such a commission would signify moving the ball forward. 

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