OPINION: Coalition plans rally, calls for Kentucky lawmakers to ‘Go home’

By David Horvath, guest contributor

Most Kentuckians can’t access the Capitol due to the covid19 pandemic. However, Senate and House leadership have continued to call committee hearings and pass legislation, against the advice of national health experts and without the participation of the people.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, recently announced they’re taking a break until March 26. This is inadequate. The legislature shouldn’t convene while people are unable to participate.

The General Assembly should respond to this crisis moment and act to protect public health, support Kentucky’s workers, and make sure that the voices of Kentuckians are heard in our democracy even if the pandemic continues – then gavel out as soon as possible. While the public is locked out of the legislative process, the legislature should only work to address the impacts of this public health crisis. Beyond that necessary and urgent work, the legislature should not convene during a pandemic.

On Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26, people throughout the state will express their frustration and opposition to being locked out of the democratic process and demand that the legislative assembly gavel itself “adjourned.”

This is nonpartisan action. It is a matter of recognizing the right of all of the commonwealth’s citizens to have their voices heard on critical pieces of legislation that will gravely impact our state. Continuing to meet denies people of this commonwealth a say in the legislative process.

Kentucky is one of the last states in the nation that has not ended its legislative sessions, threatening dedicated public employees and citizens statewide. To save lives and save democracy, they must adjourn now.

Our action will come in two creative, social-distancing safe forms. On Wednesday and Thursday midday, we will virtually circulate calls to action among the many individuals and organizations in Kentucky who are most concerned. This will include social media messaging, phone calls, texts and more.

On Thursday, March 26, from 11a.m. to about 1 p.m., we will participate in car caravan protests, in which we will stay in our cars, display signs that amplify our message, and honk our horns in solidarity with one another.

We will do these car caravans around the Capitol in Frankfort, as well as around our respective town centers. Those who are participating in a longer drive as part of the protest all agree to maintain recommended social distancing and to make no stops along the route except for emergencies.

   David Horvath, of Louisville, is the media liaison for the Save Kentucky Democracy Coalition.