KY House committee OKs bill to give AG broader powers


FRANKFORT, Ky. (ABC 36) – The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee passed a bill Wednesday that some call an attack on freedom of speech.

Representative John Blanton, a Republican from Salyersville, is sponsoring the bill.
He says it’ll help local prosecutors.

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“Let me be perfectly clear…it’s not to de stifle someone’s civil rights to protest, to peaceful protest, it’s not to do that.”

House Bill 479 would give the Attorney General the power to prosecute minor offenses such as disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly and obstructing a roadway, as well as a few felonies.

Representative Blanton says it would be applied to every Attorney General, not just current AG Daniel Cameron.

Criminal Justice Attorney Ted Shouse, who represented Democratic State Representative Attica Scott of Louisville and her daughter after they were charged with rioting during the Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville…spoke against the bill, specifically section 5.

“It seems to me that this is designed as a response to the lawful and permissible social movements that occurred in Jefferson County last year, in response to the killing of Breonna Taylor” said Shouse.

Section 5 relates to crimes such a rioting, disorderly conduct, etc.

He added that it could be argued that the bill would allow the AG to recharge his clients, but Representative Blanton says that would not happen.

Other representatives also disagreed with the bill.

“It’s hard to see this as anything other than targeting people who are engaged in the vital work of first amendment right to assemble and protest…this is an absolute no from me” said Democratic Representative, Patti Minter of Bowling Green.

“We are hearing testimony that affects one of our colleagues, I’m appalled. This is so deeply disturbing that we’re treating one of our colleagues this way” added Republican Representative Mckenzie Cantrell of Louisville.

Representative Scott spoke as well.

“In the midst of this body claiming that it wants to address issues of racial justice and trauma and this bill being the exact opposite of that and an Attorney General that has done nothing but contribute to conflict across our commonwealth and instead should be focused on healing, I will be voting no.”

But after voting…the bill passed 13 to 5…and will now move to the house floor for consideration.


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Kaitlyn Shive joined the ABC36 News Team in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. Kaitlyn comes to us from Joplin, Missouri, where she worked as an MMJ and Fill in Anchor for KOAM News/Fox 14 for over a year and a half. She is a Kentucky girl at heart, growing up in Louisville for a good portion of her life before her family moved to Mason, OH in 2012. She graduated from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism. She also graduated with specializations in Marketing and Media, and with a Social Media Certificate. She is thrilled to be back in the Bluegrass State and to be closer to friends and family in the Cincinnati and Louisville areas. She can not wait to get to know the Lexington, Kentucky area and its people. If you have a story idea or tip, she is just a DM or email away. You can contact her on Facebook: kaitlynshiveTV, on Twitter: KaitlynShiveTV or by email: Kaitlyn Shive ABC 36 Reporter 859-333-3390