So how does a bill become a law in Kentucky?


While we all wait for Governor Bevin to sign the expanded expungement bill into law, I thought I’d take a moment to review exactly how a bill that has passed both houses of congress becomes a law. The particular part of the Kentucky Constitution that governs is Section 88. It states:

Every bill which shall have passed the two Houses shall be presented to the Governor. If he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to the House in which it originated, which shall enter the objections in full upon its journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, a majority of all the members elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be considered, and if approved by a majority of all the members elected to that House, it shall be a law; but in such case the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill shall be entered upon the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless disapproved by him within ten days after the adjournment, in which case his veto message shall be spread upon the register kept by the Secretary of State. The Governor shall have the power to disapprove any part or parts of appropriation bills embracing distinct items, and the part or parts disapproved shall not become a law unless reconsidered and passed, as in case of a bill.

The short version: The governor has ten days (excluding Sundays) to sign the bill into law, otherwise it becomes law without his signature unless he vetoes it. Seeing as Governor Bevin has expressed enthusiasm about signing this bill, and quite candidly, I believe he was instrumental in it getting out of committee in the Senate, I am quite confident that he will sign it. As the bill was delivered to him last Friday, I believe we are on day six of the ten days (remember, Sundays don’t count). This means that he will be signing it next Wednesday at the latest. The last day for the two houses to reach a budget is Tuesday.  I wonder if there is some significance to this timing?

We will know very soon.



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