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2021 Special Session Adjourns Sine Die
It has been an honor to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth during the 2021 Special Session, which began on Tuesday and adjourned late last night just before midnight.
The Good: We ended the mask mandate for childcare centers and K-12 by relegating policymaking to locally-elected school board members and individual childcare centers. Several legislators would have preferred to leave the decision to parents themselves, but a floor amendment which would have made that possible was ruled out of order in the Senate. At least this decision will now be made by elected officials who can be held accountable by the citizens they serve, instead of unelected bureaucrats at the Kentucky Department of Education or the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The Bad: The legislature took no substantive action to prohibit mandatory vaccination on the state level. The only discernible attempt was through the inclusion of local health departments in the list of state entities that must allow for an exemption on the basis of conscientious objection. That does nothing to address vaccine mandates currently being issued by private employers, hospitals, and postsecondary institutions, nor would it prohibit vaccine mandates that could potentially be issued by local governments, K-12 schools, or insurance companies.
Two vaccine exemption amendments were filed in the House, and six in the Senate. All Senate amendments were ruled out of order. In the House, I filed an amendment which would have disallowed funding for any person or entity that has a policy of requiring the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine without allowing for an exemption on the basis of conscientious objection. The amendment also stipulated that employees who are terminated for choosing not to receive a vaccine would be entitled to expungement of discipline, reinstatement of employment, and back pay.
I also had the privilege of calling a vaccine exemption amendment filed by my esteemed colleague Rep. Felicia Rabourn, due to unforeseen circumstances that prevented her from attending session yesterday. The amendment that she had been fighting for would have disallowed school districts from using intimidation tactics or negative incentives to encourage vaccinations. It also would have prohibited school districts or other governmental entities from requiring the immunization of any person who is opposed on the basis of religious or conscientiously held beliefs.
Both of these amendments failed in a procedural vote. Both of these amendments were filed on Tuesday, the first day of Session, mere MOMENTS after the House bills were filed (HB 1 and HB 3). The language was out there more than 48 hours before the vote occurred, and I personally informed House leadership of the substance of the amendment before it was it filed. Unfortunately, some have chosen to hide behind a process that they themselves intentionally set into motion, a process that was designed to silence the voices of citizens in 108 counties. What I’m referring to is the unprecedented use of identical bill substitution, pursuant to Rule 58. When I filed my amendment at the clerk’s desk, I was told that this process had never been used before.
Identical bills were filed in the House and the Senate, and then Senate versions were substituted for House bills. Rank and file members (93 in the House and 32 in the Senate) were told that no amendments would be accepted on any bill. The only individuals who had any control over the legislation that was passed were 10 individuals, members of House and Senate Majority leadership. These were the individuals who had negotiated the legislation with the Governor ahead of time.
Fast forward to Thursday. While the Senate was busy ruling every good amendment out of order (there were some terrific amendments filed by Sen. Steve West, Sen. Matt Castlen, and Sen. Adrienne Southworth), the House was waiting to receive possession of these bills. House members CANNOT file amendments to a Senate bill until the House is in possession of the bill, therefore it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for me to have filed an amendment on the Senate bill until the exact moment that I did, the very second SB 3 arrived. So if you happen to be noticing that some members of leadership are saying that an amendment was filed last minute- and I hate to use the term- but that’s fake news.
They were well aware of the language, and it was a direct result of a process that they employed to stifle any attempt to amend legislation. It really wasn’t my intent to expose any of the inner workings of this debacle, but I believe I owe it to the citizens of the Commonwealth to state the truth. In defense of rank and file members who truly DO support banning vaccine mandates, many members were told by leadership to “take a walk” so that they did not have to bear the brunt of killing a vaccine exemption amendment. They were told that the Senate would not accept the changes, and that is likely true given that this legislation had been negotiated with and agreed to by Governor Beshear.
Leadership was not wrong for wanting this Session to take place expediently. After fighting for the ability to force the Governor to call us into a special session, it was important to act decisively as a body, but I think there is a lesson to be learned from this experience. There is a balance that must be found between responding expediently and putting a stranglehold on the legislative process. We fought to get out from under a monarchy, and the answer is NOT to settle for an oligarchy.
I firmly believe that something should have been done about mandatory vaccination this Session, and I have voiced that opinion strongly. It was never my intention to throw a wrench in anyone’s plans, or to create division among my colleagues. I am only interested in working for the good of the Commonwealth. I am more than willing to overlook these false insinuations about my character and motivations because I understand that we are all human, and we were all contending with a very stressful situation. I hope that we can move past the dissension and commit to uniting around one common goal: Restoring the consent of the governed.
Lastly, some have asked how yesterday’s federal vaccine mandates would impact ongoing policy discussions at the state level. Although the President’s actions are both shocking and blatantly abusive, this is no time for state lawmakers to be hidin’ behind Biden. It is well within the realm of possibility that the mandates will be struck down by the Supreme Court just like the CDC’s eviction moratorium; NOW is the time for the legislature to get its affairs in order and be prepared to pass substantive protections in January.
2021 Special Session Convenes
September 7, 2021: Today marked the first day of the 2021 Special Session, which convened at the call of Governor Andy Beshear. The first legislative action we undertook as a body was the passage of House Joint Resolution 1, which has generated a myriad of questions from constituents and citizens across the Commonwealth. I voted “no” on this bill for one simple reason: I do not agree with extending the state of emergency or prolonging emergency measures any longer. We have been grappling with COVID since 2019, and we will soon be approaching 2022. I voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 77 last session (which extended select executive orders and administrative regulations for 90 days while ending all executive orders that infringed upon liberty), because it was reasonable and necessary to make a transition at that time. That time has elapsed, and I do not believe that the Commonwealth of Kentucky should be under a state of emergency or subject to emergency measures. Moreover, 24 other states have allowed their emergency orders to expire. It is time to wean our great state off federal funding, and it is time to rebuild our economy by getting Kentuckians back to work.
Nevertheless, I want to provide a comprehensive breakdown of what HJR 1 does and does not do. I do not take issue with some of these items conceptually, in fact I would likely support the deregulatory measures as a matter of permanent policy if they were offered outside of extending the state of emergency.
What HJR 1 does not do:
-Does not allow Governor Beshear to declare a new emergency on the same or similar facts
-Does not allow Governor Beshear to issue new or renewed mandates such as the ban on religious services, economic shutdowns, or mask mandates
What HJR 1 does:
-Extends SB 5 liability coverage for Kentucky’s businesses, in relation to COVID
-Secures current or future federal funding, including reimbursements, related to COVID
-Relaxes regulations on pharmacies
-Waives health insurance costs for COVID-19 screening, testing, and immunization
-Allows retired first responders to return to work during an emergency
-Allows retired state employees to return to work during an emergency
-Prohibits price gouging
-Allows unemployment benefits for employees who contracted COVID while at work
-Requires state agencies to encourage social distancing, provide and conduct services by mail, internet, phone, and/or video conferencing
-Extends licenses, credentials, or certificates that require in-person appearances for or education for renewal
-Extends deadlines for statutory or regulatory reporting
-Extends deadlines of fees, taxes, and assessments, and waives late payment penalties incurred
-Suspends statute to allow APRNs to prescribe legend drugs and controlled substances
-Allows pharmacists to conduct COVID testing
-Extends the state of emergency that was issued for a flash flood in Nicholas County (I hate that this measure was not taken up separately, as I wholeheartedly support providing assistance for the folks in Carlisle who are suffering from the aftermath of a natural disaster)
When I first received word that the legislature was heading into a special session, I made a commitment to my constituents and the citizens of the Commonwealth: I will not vote in favor of any new or renewed mandates. I will not support any effort to shut down schools, and I will continue fighting against mandatory vaccination, universal masking, and every other form of government overreach. I will remain consistent in the position that I have held since March of 2020 when COVID restrictions first began, and I will fight to get Kentucky back on the path to prosperity.
Andy Beshear Loses; Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Laws
Today, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously upheld the legislature’s ability to rescind emergency powers that Governor Beshear has abused for over 18 months. Specifically, they ordered the Franklin Circuit Court to dissolve an injunction that has blocked HB 1, SB 1, SB 2, and HJR 77.
“’Practically speaking, except for those conferred upon him specifically by the Constitution, [the Governor’s] powers, like those of the executive officers created by Const. Sec 91, are only what the General Assembly chooses to give him.’ Thus, the Governor has no implied or inherent emergency powers beyond that given him by the legislature, who, as elected officials, serve at the behest of the Commonwealth.” -Opinion of the Court by Justice VanMeter
The laws we passed are valid, and the KY Supreme Court clearly indicated that the Franklin Circuit Court (Judge Phillip Shepherd) abused its discretion in blocking our efforts. Although it is unclear what the next step will be in restoring the consent of the governed, one thing is for certain: The voice of the People will be heard, and we will no longer be subject to the issuance of unilateral decrees on behalf of a power-hungry governor.
Maddox Pre-Files Legislation Prohibiting Mandatory Vaccination
Rep. Maddox addresses SB1: Emergency Powers Reform
On Saturday, I had an opportunity to deliver a floor speech outlining the critical need to restore an appropriate balance of power among coequal branches of government in the Commonwealth. For greater than nine months, Kentuckians have been subjected to unilateral decision making on behalf of the executive branch, which has resulted in an overwhelming demand for reform to Emergency Powers statutes in KRS 39A. I am very pleased to report that SB 1 has been passed out of both chambers and is awaiting the Governor's signature (well, veto). In accordance with Section 88 of the Kentucky Constitution, the Governor has 10 days to veto a bill or it becomes law without his signature. The General Assembly will have the ability to override his probable veto when we return at the beginning of February.
Update on SB 1: Emergency Powers Reform
As promised, I would like to provide an update on SB 1, the Emergency Powers Reform bill that we passed out of the House today. Here is what the bill does:
-Removes the ability of any Governor to change “the manner” in which our elections take place, i.e. mail-in voting. (As we all know, the advent of mail-in voting was quite problematic across the country, in the last election. I am glad that Kentucky is being proactive about returning to in-person elections, even in a state of emergency).
-Limits executive orders, administrative regulations, and other directives to 30 days, until which time the General Assembly must be called back into Session in the event that the order places restrictions on:
*Private businesses or non-profit organizations
*Political, religious, or social gatherings
*Places of worship
-All other executive orders issued under KRS 39A may only exceed 30 days if requested by the Judge Executive/Fiscal Court of a county, or Mayor/City Council in a city. These orders (if extended) would only apply to that local government, and could be extended or terminated by written request.
-Includes language preventing any Governor from circumventing these time limitations, by disallowing the declaration of a state of emergency or issuance of an executive order upon the same or substantially similar set of facts or circumstances without the approval of the General Assembly.
-Allows the General Assembly, by joint resolution to terminate a declaration of emergency at any time.
Although this currently only applies when the General Assembly is in Regular Session, it would allow us to take immediate action in the event that a constitutional amendment allowing the General Assembly to call itself back into Session is passed.
-Waives immunity under the 11th Amendment, so that citizens can seek declaratory relief in federal court.
-Requires any Governor to report all expenditures relating to contracts issued during an emergency; All federal dollars that are received due to an emergency must also be reported, as well as how they are spent or planned to be spent.
-Allows the Governor to suspend a statute only if the suspension is approved by the Attorney General, in writing.
-Removes the Class A misdemeanor penalty, and replaces it with a fine of $100 for a first offense, and $250 for each subsequent offense.
I filed three amendments to SB1 based on the language of BR 130, as well as language crafted by the House Emergency Powers Working Group. The intent was to provide additional protections for Kentucky’s businesses, as well as safeguard language for 1st Amendment rights, property rights, and consumption of goods. Moreover, I offered language to prevent certain statutes from being suspended, and to reduce the 30 day limitation to 15 days. I am pleased to report that House Floor Amendment 1 passed, which adds the following protections:
-Protects the right of the people to exercise free speech, freedom of the press, to petition their government for redress of injuries, or to peaceably assemble.
-Protects the right of the people to worship, worship in-person, or to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief.
-Additional restrictions on a Governor’s ability to seize, take, or condemn, property; Requires that compensation be provided with value being determined by pre-existing eminent domain statutes; Stipulates that this can only be done for the duration of the emergency, and only for public use.
-Restricts any Governor’s ability to limit the sale or consumption of goods, only in the event of a shortage of goods.
-Disallows any Governor from suspending certain statutes that should never be suspended; Constitutional Carry, the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and all statutes that protect unborn life in the Commonwealth.
In addition, House Floor Amendment 4 (offered by Rep. James Tipton, who carried SB 1 in the House) ensures that local governments are included in the definition that pertains to the 30 day limitation. Both Rep. Tipton and Primary Sponsor Sen. Matt Castlen did a fantastic job of articulating and defending this pivotal piece of legislation in their respective chambers.
Although I, and several of my colleagues would have preferred a 15 day limitation, I am pleased that Kentucky is no longer 1 of only 3 states that have no limitations on emergency powers (and also have legislatures that cannot call themselves into Session). SB 1 is a landmark piece of legislation which ensures that Kentuckians will never again be subject to an indefinite, 10 month long state of emergency. Never again will Kentucky’s businesses and citizens be subject to the repercussions of unilateral decision-making, or be left without a voice during a state of emergency.
Rep. Maddox 2021-2022 Committee Assignments
Are you fed up with Governor Beshear's Executive Overreach?
View BR 130- REVISED
Locate your state representative and ask them to co-sponsor BR 130
Over the course of the past nine months, Kentuckians have become quite familiar with a statute that many had previously never heard of, KRS 39A.100. Governor Beshear’s abuse of this particular statute has resulted in:
-Over 1.3 million Kentuckians filing for unemployment (62% of the entire workforce), many of whom have yet to receive a dime of unemployment benefits in exchange for the wages they were forced to forego.
-Persons of faith being denied the ability to attend religious services in accordance with their 1st Amendment right to religious freedom.
-Countless numbers of Kentucky’s businesses that will never again open their doors and 287,000 jobs that will cease to exist.
-The suppression of the right to assemble, and freedom of speech by restricting access to the People’s Capitol in Frankfort.
-Interstate travel bans, restricting the rights of Kentuckians to move freely in and out of the Commonwealth.
-Infringement upon the right to privacy through the proliferation of contact tracing.
Subsequently, Governor Beshear has been challenged a number of times in court which has resulted in some of these executive orders issued under KRS 39A being overturned. It is for this reason, and for the protection of the basic civil liberties of all Kentuckians that I have pre-filed BR 130 to amend KRS 39A and related statutes.
Never again must we allow the majority of Kentucky’s businesses to be shut down, resulting in the level of economic devastation that we are seeing unfold in the Commonwealth.
Never again must we allow the fundamental liberties and freedoms which are enshrined in the Bill of Rights to be suppressed under the weight of unilateral decrees issued on behalf of the executive branch.
So much of what we are seeing in terms of the Governor's actions is egregious overreach; Masks should be entirely voluntary, as should vaccination and contact tracing. The government should have no authority to force any of these things on its citizens. Moreover, any business that employs Kentuckians and enables them to put food on the table IS an essential business, and it is unconscionable to think of the economic devastation that the Governor has created through previous shutdowns. I will continue to be vocally opposed to any mandate or requirement issued by the Governor that violates our civil, individual, or religious liberties.
I have pre-filed BR 130 for the 2021 General Assembly Session which will amend KRS 39A in order to create a system of checks and balances among three coequal branches of government, to ensure that never again are the citizens of the Commonwealth left without a voice during a state of emergency. Specifically, it stipulates that the General Assembly must be called back into Session in the event that an emergency order surpasses a two week timeframe, and all emergency orders must be narrowly tailored so as not to unnecessarily burden or imperil Kentucky’s businesses. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can read it in its entirety here:
Kentucky Freedom Rally
Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Savannah Maddox (KY HD-61) at Northern Kentucky Right to Life Event
Rep. Maddox Fires Back Against Anti-Gun Legislation
In light of the recent onslaught of anti-gun legislation and discussions of Red Flag Laws in Kentucky and around the nation, I would like to make my position clear:
I will vocally oppose BR 354, BR 342 and Red Flag Laws every step of the way, as well as ANY additional gun control legislation. I filed HB 327, Constitutional Carry, and carried the senate version (SB 150) to its passage in order to expand our ability to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. I am confident that both the assault rifle ban and high capacity magazine ban will be dead on arrival in the upcoming session, but I am appreciative of everyone's efforts to be vigilant on this issue. It is imperative that Kentuckians make their voices heard loud and clear- that we will not stand for this gun-grabbing nonsense and will rally behind our constitutional right to keep and bear arms which shall not be infringed.
Savannah Maddox Files for Re-Election
Today I had the distinct privilege of being accompanied by great friends, family, and fellow legislators as I filed for re-election for State Representative of the 61st District. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to join me as I embark upon this journey into 2020- I am greatly appreciative of your kindness and support! Most of all, I would like to thank the citizens of Kentucky's 61st House District who have entrusted me with the opportunity to serve in this capacity. It is a distinct honor to represent you in Frankfort, and I pledge to continue working with you and for you as I seek re-election in the upcoming year.
Rep. Maddox discusses the dangers of Red Flag Laws on The Leland Conway Show, News Radio 840 WHAS
Maddox Opposes Red Flag Proposal in Judiciary Committee Hearing
Rep. Maddox Honored with .50 Caliber Freedom Award from National Association for Gun Rights
Say NO to "Red Flag" Laws
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Rep. Maddox discusses Kentucky's new Constitutional Carry law, the Campus Free Speech Act, and much more!
Maddox Honored with National Freshman of the Year Award
KCRWC Recognizes Rep. Maddox for Campaign Efforts
AFP Names Maddox Legislative Champion for Kentucky
GOPAC Announces 2019 Class of Emerging Leaders
Campus Free Speech Act Signed Into Law
March 26, 2019- Frankfort, Kentucky
I am very pleased to report that Governor Bevin has signed HB 254- Campus Free Speech Act- into law today, which is a tremendous victory for the protection and preservation of the First Amendment rights of students here in the Commonwealth. Freedom of speech is the bedrock of individual liberty, and one of the most fundamental protections afforded within the Constitution.
I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce this legislation, and would also like to thank Senator Wil Schroder for his efforts to pass this bill in the Senate.
Most of all, I would like to thank the residents of Grant County, and portions of Boone, Kenton, and Scott Counties within the 61st District- for allowing me to represent you in Frankfort. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 2019 General Assembly Session, and consider it a privilege to work with you and for you in the days ahead.
Maddox Invited to White House for Campus Free Speech Event
Constitutional Carry Signed into Law
Maddox Presents Constitutional Carry on House Floor
Maddox Defends Constitutional Carry in Judiciary Committee
Maddox Presents Campus Free Speech Act on House Floor
This Tuesday, Nov. 6th- Vote Maddox for State Representative!
NKY Association of Realtors supports Savannah Maddox for State Representative
Savannah is grateful to have the support of the Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors! Property ownership, and the constitutional protections thereof, are the cornerstone of a free society and serve as the backbone of thriving communities.
Kentucky is at a Crossroads..
Senator Rand Paul endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am very honored and excited to announce that I have been endorsed by Senator Rand Paul in Kentucky's 61st District House Race. Senator Paul has long been a proponent of limited government, reigning in wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, and adherence to the Constitution as the abiding standard to which all lawmaking efforts must conform. Thank you, Senator Paul- not only for your support, but for all that you do to stand for conservative values.
Congressman Thomas Massie endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am honored to be endorsed by a gentleman who is a cornerstone of the conservative movement, not only in Kentucky's 4th Congressional District, but throughout the nation. Congressman Thomas Massie's commitment to analyzing legislation with the intent of preserving our individual liberties and reducing wasteful government spending serves as great inspiration for myself and every candidate who is committed to the concept of fiscal conservatism and adhering to the constitution as the sole guiding force in all lawmaking efforts.
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am honored to announce that I have been endorsed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for State Representative of the 61st District. I am committed to working with business owners, small and large alike, to foster greater economic growth and keep the Commonwealth on the path to prosperity.
Commonwealth Policy Center endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am honored to announce that I have been endorsed by the Commonwealth Policy Center for State Representative of the 61st District. I will stand strong for conservative values in Frankfort, and to restore a tone of civility and statesmanship in addressing the issues we face as a Commonwealth.
Associated General Contractors of Kentucky endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
National Rifle Association endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am excited to announce that I have been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. I firmly support our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and will work to ensure that this constitutional right is preserved and protected.
Young Americans for Liberty endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative-61st District
Young Americans for Liberty is a national organization focused on advocating for conservative values and emphasizing the role of the Constitution in American government. I am excited and honored to announce that I have received YAL's endorsement for State Representative of the 61st District.
Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills Endorses Savannah Maddox for State Representative
I am honored and excited to announce that I have been endorsed by Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills for State Representative of the 61st district. Sheriff Dills has served Grant County with diligence and integrity, and is well-respected as a dedicated public servant in our community. Sheriff Dills is currently running for Grant County Judge-Executive, and I am confident that he will deliver the same level of excellence in this position as he has being our sheriff.
Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn endorses Savannah Maddox for State Rep-61st District
I am honored and excited to announce that I have been endorsed by Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn for State Representative of the 61st district. Sheriff Korzenborn has served in Kenton County for nearly 20 yrs, and is well-respected as a dedicated public servant and ardent constitutionalist throughout NKY and the greater region.
Maddox files for State Representative of the 61st district, which covers Grant County and portions of Boone, Kenton, and Scott Counties.