Matt Bevin—a far, far-right Tea Partier and political novice who loves cockfighting, voting against the Violence Against Women Act, and uninsured constituents—is now, because no one fucking voted, the governor of Kentucky. Things are not going great!
In his first major action as governor, Bevin has rolled back several milestone executive orders from his predecessor, Democrat Steve Beshear, and pushed forward a few fun lil’ agendas of his own.
First, remember when Gov. Beshear restored voting rights to 140,000 mostly African-American people convicted of nonviolent felonies? (Kentucky was one of three states to permanently disenfranchise all convicted felons, forcing them to individually petition to the governor to regain this basic human right. In Kentucky, approximately 1 in 5 black citizens do not have voting rights.) Remember how important this was for democracy, and humanity in general? Bevin undid it.
“While I have been a vocal supporter of the restoration of rights, for example, it is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people,” Bevin said, knowing full well that Kentucky’s newly gridlocked legislature won’t pass shit. Via the Courier-Journal:
Mantell Stevens, who was convicted of possession of a controlled substance about 15 years ago, sounded shocked Tuesday after Bevin’s announcement. Stevens said he was close to completing his application and was disappointed and upset by the news.
“The only thing I needed to do was get it notarized,” he said. “It’s really weird because I’m literally sitting here looking at the envelope. It’s stamped.”
Stevens said he is working two jobs and had difficulty obtaining the new application after Beshear’s order. He said he had already taken the paperwork to a notary at the bank. However, the line was long, and he decided to return a couple of days later. “It’s like a double-whammy.”
Happy holidays, I want to cry!
Next, Bevin repealed Beshear’s July order raising the minimum wage for state employees, bringing them back down to $7.25 from $10. Those who already received raises will be able to keep them, but new employees will start at the lower rate. Bevin would actually prefer that the minimum wage not exist at all, writing in the order: “Wage rates ideally would be established by the demands of the labor market instead of being set by the government.”
Bevin, who is anti-union, has also abolished the Governor’s Employee Advisory Council, which was established in 2001 to “to discuss wages, hours and terms of employment for merit employees.” According to Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, the council helps provide representation for state employees who cannot necessarily represent themselves in personnel issues. “We feel it’s a mistake for him to do that. We believe he is incorrect in his assessment in terms of what the council can accomplish for state workers.”
Lastly, in a major victory for Kim Davis and idiots like her all ‘cross this great land, Bevin removed the names of county clerks from state marriage licenses. According to the Courier-Journal:
Beshear argued for months that state statute determined the wording on marriage licenses and that he could not remove clerks’ names. However, Bevin’s press release states that the change is needed to “ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored.”
The Liberty Council, a group that has been representing Davis, called it “a wonderful Christmas present.”
Unfortunately, Bevin might not actually have the legal authority to do this via executive order, which is interesting—and by interesting I mean unbelievably hypocritical—because he seemed fairly eager to shove all of the above items back into the hands of the state.
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Image via Associated Press.