AG Beshear Sees No Justification For New Capitol Rules

Feb 7, 2019

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says an emergency order placing new restrictions on Capitol visitors is illegal. The opinion comes after lawmakers raised concerns about public access to the building.

Demonstrators with the Poor People's Campaign occupy Gov. Matt Bevin's office on February 5th, 2019.
Credit Josh James / WUKY

Implemented in reaction to increasing protests at the Capitol, the emergency order restricted some movement and added more security checkpoints in the building and an underground tunnel linking it to the nearby annex.

Officials say it's about security and safety, citing the case of emergency medical workers who had trouble reaching an ill lawmaker. But in an 8-page opinion, Beshear said "we find no imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare" that justifies the regulation.

Demonstrators with the Poor People's Campaign have been at the center of the debate over Capitol access. This week, the anti-poverty campaigners occupied Gov. Matt Bevin's office, requested, and received a brief meeting with executive.

Beshear is a Democrat who hopes to challenge Bevin in the fall. His statement can be cited in court, but is not considered law.