Kentucky legislature will continue to operate with only essential staff, public access restricted

As efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus continue, legislators and only essential staff will continue to work during the 2020 session of the General Assembly and public access will be reduced.

The Legislative Research Commission (LRC) announced Monday afternoon that access to the State Capitol and Capitol Annex buildings will be temporarily limited to essential staff in light of COVID-19 concerns.

Legislators and essential staff will continue to meet and work inside the buildings as the 2020 regular session continues as scheduled.

Leaders from the House and Senate said Monday beginning Tuesday, March 17 there will be variations as the legislature proceeds with necessary legislative business and only elected members, staff, and members of the media will be allowed in the facility until further notice.

“We believe that the General Assembly has a responsibility to the people of Kentucky and our membership is committed to fulfilling that obligation. However, we are putting in place a number of safety procedures based on the recommendations of public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While this is a departure from business as usual, we are taking every step possible to use available technology to ensure transparency and accessibility,” Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne said in a statement Monday.

While most Kentuckians will not be able to visit the Capitol during this time, the release noted that legislative business will be livestreamed and broadcast by Kentucky Education Television (KET) and constituents can still communicate with their legislator by email, the toll-free message line, and the direct line.

Further changes are possible as legislators continue to evaluate the situation and prioritize the health and safety of all those involved in the legislative process.

Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for more session updates and information about the coronavirus.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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