A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sen. President Robert Stivers says most in state support bills on sanctuary cities, voter IDs

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Senate President Robert Stivers has responded to criticism of two bills that are considered top priorities in his chamber.

Senate Bill 1 would ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”, by prohibiting local governments and other agencies from adopting procedures that would hinder federal immigration laws; while Senate Bill two would require photo IDs to vote, which some say would suppress voter turnout.

Senate President Robert Stivers presides over the Senate on Wednesday, January 8. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

“I saw some statements that these were political statements,” the Manchester Republican said. “It has nothing to do with political statements. These are things we truly believe are policy issues that need to be dealt with.”

He noted, “I would think is there probably some bipartisan support for some of these issues. If you want to look at polling data, you’ll see the overwhelming majority of Kentuckians believe in both Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. Overwhelming.”

Regarding the sanctuary cities bill, Stivers says in tight times when resources are scarce for such things as education and the medical community, “We have individuals who are coming here and using those without being paying or contributing members to our society when other individuals have come here illegally and done it the appropriate way? That’s all we are asking for people to do, is to follow the law.”

Last July, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said city police will not help federal immigration officials unless there’s a court order, then later her office issued a statement saying, “Although we are continuing to review this proposed legislation, it does not appear to conflict with any of our long-standing policies. Lexington is not a sanctuary city.”

“This bill has been in process and in drafting for several months,” Stivers said. “What we’re talking about is law enforcement and people who would say we’re not enforcing federal law.” Its main sponsors are Republican Senators Danny Carroll of Paducah and John Schickel of Union, although several other members have joined this week as co-sponsors, and it was proposed shortly after Gorton’s remarks.

Crystal Staley, Gov. Andy Beshear’s communications director, issued a statement, “We have received and are analyzing the contents of the bill. As attorney general, Gov. Beshear assured there were no sanctuary cities in Kentucky, so that the state continued to receive federal dollars.”

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