The rights and safety of women in Kentucky were protected by three major votes today — two in the Kentucky General Assembly and one in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee easily passed HB 9, which expands domestic violence protections to dating partners, with only Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, voting against it. Domestic violence prevention advocates have been trying to expand these protections for many years, and now the bill will go to the full Senate for the first time, where it stand a decent chance of passing.
An hour later in the U.S. House, the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act — not the GOP version that stripped away protections for tribal lands, immigrants, and the LGBT community — passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote. As we noted in LEO this week, this is a huge victory for women in Kentucky, as the programs and agencies around the state who help at-risk women will no longer be at risk of losing up to $4 million in federal funds to provide services to women facing sexual and domestic violence. Rep. John Yarmuth voted yes (of course), as did new 6th District Rep. Andy Barr. All of the other Republicans from Kentucky — Thomas Massie, Brett Guthrie, Ed Whitfield and Hal Rogers — voted no, joining Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell in the man club who will have to explain this vote to constituents over the next two years.
And moments ago, SB 4 (24-hour in person “informed consent” before an abortion) and SB 5 (the sadistic transvaginal ultrasound bill with no exemption for rape) failed by a straight party line 7-8 vote in the House Health and Welfare Committee, stopping the bills in their tracks yet again during this year’s session. The big hero of the day was Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson, who stepped up and made a brave vote, saying that while he’s not a fan of abortion, he finds it shameful that protesters stand outside clinics and shout hateful things at patients.
(UPDATE: Actually a total of five anti-choice abortion bills were defeated by the same 7-8 vote in the committee. Goose egg…)
At least for today, conservatives lost this round in the War on Women…