Beshear vetoes five bills limiting his power. Republicans likely to override him.

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed five pieces of legislation Tuesday that attempted to limit his executive powers, saying they would “significantly hamper the important steps” he has taken to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Beshear vetoed House Bill 1, Senate Bill 1, Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 5, all of which would shift power from the executive branch to the legislative branch when dealing with emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic. He also vetoed House Bill 2, which would give the Attorney General authority over enforcement of abortion laws.

“Issuing a veto is my constitutional obligation as governor,” Beshear said. “And it’s my job to issue those vetoes with veto statements when I don’t think something is constitutional, when I think something will harm Kentuckians.

Citing a poll conducted by a consortium of universities and medical schools, Beshear claimed an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians supported his previous orders calling on people to stay home and avoid gathering in groups, limiting restaurants to takeout and shutting down K-12 schools to in-person classes.

“Kentuckians support the steps we’ve taken,” Beshear said. “By taking these steps, we’ve been successful.”

Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate and will be able to override the vetoes when they resume the legislative session. The session is slated to resume on February 2.

Beshear still had two days before his deadline to veto the bills.

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