How Bad Laws Get Made
You’ve all seen this happen: politicians scare voters into supporting them by proposing laws on hot-button social issues. But sometimes the issues distract people from noticing that a bill is poorly crafted and would introduce a slew of harmful, unintended consequences.
Let me give you an example from a recent bill without telling you what it’s about.
A bill just cleared the Kentucky Senate that would allow students to sue schools when they witness something happen—not direct involvement, just when they see something. A $2,500 penalty would be assessed per student, per infraction. Plus of course damages for emotional distress and attorneys’ fees.
If this becomes law, trial lawyers will have a field day. The $2,500 fine notwithstanding, there is potentially a lot more money in play depending on what a jury thinks “emotional distress” is. And thanks to the attorneys' fees clause, trial lawyers could file thousands of lawsuits because it’s a risk free proposition for them. It could bankrupt our entire school system in short order.
I think we can all agree this is a terrible law that should never pass, but here’s where The Issues mess things up.
The purpose of this bill is to allow students to sue their school if they witness individuals going into the opposite gender’s bathroom. It was created in response to a transgender student having to decide which bathroom to use at a Louisville high school. Which, according to news reports, was addressed at the local level to everyone’s satisfaction.
This bill does not address that issue in any appropriate way.
This bill endangers Kentucky’s entire school system to the benefit of trial lawyers.
And unfortunately, lawmakers are trapped into addressing this bill via the Issue. They think they have to appear to appeal to one constituency or another.
People with a vested interest in hijacking our legal system for their own ends have tied an issue to a bad bill. As a result, being for or against this bad bill is now tied to being for or against this issue.
Issues are the problem because they prevent lawmakers from passing good law.
SB76 is a terrible piece of legislation, regardless of where you stand on social issues. Sadly, lawmakers pass laws like this all the time without looking into, or caring about, potential unintended consequences that could cause immense harm.
I am the only candidate for Governor who can and will decouple divisive issues from bills before passing them into law.
That's regardless of my personal feelings—and I actually hope you can’t tell which way I feel on this specific issue, because my feelings don’t matter. What matters is that bad law fixes nothing for either side, and I will veto bad law tied to any issue.