FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) – After more than an hour of debate on the Kentucky House floor, lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 14, the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bill.
The plan, if passed in the Senate and signed by Governor Matt Bevin, would allow prosecutors to classify some attacks on first responders “hate crimes”.
Seventy-seven Kentucky Representatives voted in favor of HB14 with 13 voting against. The more than hour of debate leading up to the vote was divided down party lines with some against arguing that the bill pitted members of the community against each other. Organizers of the Black Lives Matter described the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bill, “offensive”. Others against questioned whether a new law was truly necessary suggesting that there was no evidence that anyone attacking police, fire or emergency responders would already face the full brunt of Kentucky law.
Louisville Republican, Majority Whip, Kevin Bratcher sponsored House Bill 14 saying he got the idea for the plan after a similar law passed in Louisiana following the assassination of several officers there. Representative Bratcher debated against those questioning the “Blue Lives Matter” moniker suggesting that the bill did not hold that name.
Other supporters cited the ambush of Lexington firefighters as proof that more needs to be done to protect those who rush in while others may run from danger.
The bill now heads to the Kentucky Senate where hearings and votes are needed before it can be forwarded to Governor Matt Begin for his signature.