Republicans make gains in Kentucky legislature

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDKY) – The makeup of Kentucky’s state legislature now skews even more Republican than before.

The Kentucky House of Representatives flipped at least eight Democrat seats to Republican and flipped at least one in the Senate.

Some races are still too close to call. However, if Republicans leading in races not called yet win, the GOP will gain 14 seats. That would give them a supermajority in the House, 75-25. The Senate makeup could be 30-8.

The GOP gains already in place mean Republicans will have more ammunition to try to limit Governor Andy Beshear’s emergency powers next session. Legislative leaders have already said they want to limit some of those powers. Republicans have been unhappy with some of the pandemic executive orders.

There are already some pre-filed bills that would limit the Governor’s powers. One of them would limit the dates of executive orders to 30 days unless the General Assembly approves an extension. It would also prohibit the Governor from issuing new executive orders relating to the same emergency unless lawmakers approve it.

Beshear reacted to the news at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I don’t believe that the way people view what we should be doing in this pandemic comes down to politics,” He said. “And frankly what we ought to be doing comes from public health, obviously with way other concerns.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who won reelection Tuesday, also reacted to the GOP gains statewide.

“Eastern Kentucky did a complete transformation,” Sen. McConnell said. “I think that’s the legacy of the Obama’s policy on coal and the current President’s popularity added on to that.”

Final election results won’t be known until after absentee ballots are counted. The votes will count as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Lawmakers will have just 30 days to pass legislation next year as the General Assembly meets in a shorter number of days in odd-numbered years.

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