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Kentucky legislature directs local school boards to hold public comment periods

Senate rules committee meeting 3-17-22
Stu Johnson
Senate rules committee meeting 3-17-22

The Kentucky House and Senate have approved legislation requiring local school boards to include at least 15 minutes for public comment at meetings. The Senate approved the House bill 25 to ten Thursday. There was debate about whether the matter should be left up to local boards. Lawrenceburg GOP Senator Adrienne Southworth said constituents have complained about being denied a chance to offer comment.

“To have public comment periods to me is just part of the process. It is ok to come from this body and it should come from this body. Certainly, we’d like for everybody to self-police themselves, but if men were angels we wouldn’t need this government according to our founding fathers.”

A number of senators voting no said state government should not be telling local school boards what to do regarding their meetings. That included Grayson GOP Senator Stephen Meredith.

“We don’t need more government interference. We need less government interference and let local communities handle their own businesses. Again, I think it’s great to have a 15 minute period, but it shouldn’t require a state law to do this,” said Meredith.

Louisville Democratic Senator Morgan McGarvey said a proposal to have at least 15 minutes of public comment at legislative meetings was voted down. He added if lawmakers are not holding themselves to the same standards as other elected officials, there’s a problem with the bill. The bill heads to Governor Beshear’s desk.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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