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The Courier Journal

Drag show bill on its deathbed in Kentucky legislature

By Olivia Krauth, Louisville Courier Journal,

2023-03-14
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FRANKFORT, Ky. - A bill attempting to restrict drag shows and criminalize performers in Kentucky appears to be dead.

Senate Bill 115 does not have enough readings in the House to legally pass before the veto period begins Friday.

Sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, SB 115 would prohibit drag shows on publicly owned land and anywhere children might be. Performers who violate the rules would face criminal charges - first misdemeanors, then felonies - and businesses could face reprecussions, as well.

Background:Kentucky drag show legislation overhauled to focus on keeping performers from kids

The measure passed out of the Senate on Friday, giving the House four legislative days to give the bill its three required readings - which must happen on separate days - and pass it. It did not get a first reading on Monday or Tuesday, meaning it won't be able to get all three of its readings.

The Republican-dominated legislature must pass anything it wants to have a chance of overriding a veto on by the end of day Thursday. Gov. Andy Beshear will then have until the end of March 28 to sign bills into law, let them become law without his signature or veto them.

Lawmakers then come back March 29 and 30 to override any vetoes or pass other measures before ending the 2023 legislative session.

LIST: Here are the key bills advancing - and dying - in the 2023 Kentucky legislature

Beshear, a Democrat running for reelection, is likely to veto anything considered anti-LGBTQ. Lawmakers could still bring up SB 115 and pass it in the final two days of the session, but they would not be able to override a potential veto after the session.

SB 115 is one of a handful of bills aimed at the LGBTQ community in limbo as lawmakers rush to pass anything they expect Beshear to veto. House Bill 470, an omnibus anti-trans bill, is able to pass out of the Senate at any moment, but it is unclear if Republican lawmakers will be able to find a compromise on the language before the end of the day Thursday.

This story may be updated.

Reach Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth. 

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