March 15, 2021 Blog, Press Release

As Session Winds Down, Republicans Push Legislation for Personal Gain

Rather than help Kentuckians as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Kentucky Republicans in the legislature are instead pushing their own personal interests as the 2021 legislative session comes to a close.

While it’s not surprising that a Republican would push a bill with direct personal benefit, the scale at which the Kentucky GOP are pushing their personal interests while the public cannot access the Capitol during the COVID-19 pandemic is alarming.

Additionally, the GOP are enriching themselves and attacking the governor at a time when Kentuckians are solely focused on meeting rent and utilities and keeping their families safe during a pandemic.

Here are three examples of the gross conflicts of interest in recent GOP bills

1. State Senator Stephen West and Tom Buford have proposed legislation blocking the governor from banning evictions in the middle of an emergency,which is a concerning proposal on it’s own. Add in that both West and Buford own rental properties and it becomes clear what their real agenda is. Advocates have said the bill defies logic. “It’s hard to see how making more people homeless, or itinerant, would help beat the pandemic,” said Rich Seckel, director of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. Maybe it’s because the point of the bill is to put more money in the pocket of the bill’s sponsors not keep people safe in a pandemic.

2. State Senator Danny Carrol has filed a bill with clear conflicts of interest that would result in personal gain. According to the Courier-Journal,Carroll is CEO of an organization that runs day care centers. That didn’t stop him from proposing a bill that would benefit day care centers, regardless of the public health risks during a pandemic.

3. State Rep. Jason Nemes is pushing a bill regarding construction contractors while openly admitting in a House committee that he had contractors as legal clients. As KET footage shows,Nemes repeatedly says he has clients that do contracting and that he’s spoken with them and yet still pursues a bill as primary sponsor that could benefit his clients, and his own legal practice.

In a statement, Kentucky Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa McNee said Republicans need to put their focus back on their constituents and not on legislation designed to benefit them personally.

“Republicans spent the first half of the session trying to reverse much needed public health policies from Governor Beshear, and they’ve spent the last half of the session looking for ways to line their own pockets. It’s completely abhorrent behavior, and Kentuckians deserve better. It’s time for Republicans to focus on helping Kentuckians who are focused on surviving a worldwide pandemic rather than themselves.”