Historic GOP Victory in Kentucky Leads to Flurry of Conservative Legislation

by Paul Crookston

After taking the state house of representative for the first time in 95 years, Kentucky Republicans have passed a series of conservative reforms poised to rollback decades of Democratic economic meddling, as well as protect the unborn.

Spawning union protests outside the state house, the GOP took up House Bill 1 to make Kentucky the 27th right-to-work state in the country. No longer will it be legal for mandatory union dues to be collected from workers who do not wish to join the union, removing the grip of organized labor on workers who are not willing participants.

The state also passed Senate Bill 5 banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the life of the mother is threatened. House Bill 2 also requires that women receive an ultrasound before having an abortion. The ACLU has already filed a lawsuit, but the Republicans also created a litigation fund for the abortion bills’ defense.

With House Bill 3, the Republicans also eliminated the “prevailing wage,” which was a scheme that artificially inflated labor costs on publicly financed construction projects. Tom Shelton, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, said, “We have seen, over the years, a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in the costs of construction due to the prevailing wage implementation. This of course allows much less to be done. This costs the state and costs our local school districts.”

Governor Matt Bevin signed them all today, and said, “It is an honor for me to sign into law these historic pieces of legislation that protect our most vulnerable, guarantee important freedoms for workers and set our Commonwealth on a course for unparalleled opportunity and prosperity.”

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