FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear touched on a variety of topics Wednesday, ranging from concerns raised by election problems in Georgia, to the NAACP’s request for a executive order providing civilian oversight of police, to a court’s ruling supporting his reorganization of the state Board of Education.
In a letter received Wednesday, the NAACP asked Beshear to issue an emergency executive order overriding sections of KRS 67, KRS 15 and others that hinder municipalities from appointing civilians to oversee police officer misconduct, internal affairs and other disciplinary action.
The organization said the changes are needed to improve state and local reforms, impose strict police accountability, limit the use of force, eliminate racial profiling, de-militarize law enforcement, track and report data, and ensure proper screening, education and training of all officers.
“I’ve received the letter,” Beshear said. “It’s part of what has become a robust discussion. We are looking at the legal issues of whether we can override existing state law with an executive order.”
He also noted the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ruled Wednesday that Beshear’s reorganization of the state Board of Education when he took office in December was legal.
“I hope this put all that behind us now,” Beshear said, praising as “bipartisan” the state Senate’s approval of all but one of his appointments to the board.
He also said he expects the board to get “dynamite candidates’ for the permanent head of the state school board, a decision that will be made by the board and not the governor.
As for issues with the Georgia election, Beshear said many of them appear to be related to the failure to get mail-in ballots to voters in time for them to get them returned.
That is a problem worth learning from, he noted.
“The key for us is going to be getting the ballots out, especially if we get a rush at the end with the deadline on June 15,” Beshear said, referring to the mail-in ballot request deadline in Kentucky for the June 23 primary.
“Everyone ought to be open to change so as we go through this, we can learn from other people’s mistakes, he added.
He repeated previous statements that the National Guard command is taking more of a role in decisions about where Guardsmen are assigned in response to supporting local police on protests and having more of an impact on decision making.
He also said police always need to analyze decisions about where and how to use tear gas in protest and other situations.
“Law enforcement always should want to go back and review…A real discussion has started, but people have got to listen to each other,” he said.