Kentucky governor Bevin issues executive orders rolling back voting rights and minimum wage, gives Kim Davis a win

Last month, former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear issued an executive order last month that extended voting rights to roughly 150,000 ex-felons who had completed their sentences.

Yesterday, newly-elected Kentucky governor Matt Bevin reversed Beshear’s executive order as one of a series of executive actions that amounted to a laundry list of conservative priorities.

Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin, via Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky governorMatt Bevin, via Wikimedia Commons

Bevin overturned Beshear’s voting rights expansion despite having previously supported legislation to that effect. Kentucky has some of the most restrictive laws in the country when it comes to restoring voting rights for ex-felons, and Bevin has previously said that he thinks the state should move to allow for automatic rights restoration. So voting rights advocates were hopeful — even optimistic — that he would leave Beshear’s order intact when he took office while the legislature worked to pass a law to its effect. Instead, Bevin went out of his way to take voting rights away from people he has already said should have them. As he explained, invoking the separation of powers, the issue needs to be addressed through proper channels in the legislature.

That’s not all, though. Not even close. Bevin also rescinded Governor Beshear’s executive order setting the minimum wage for government contractors at $10.10, moving it back to the federal minimum of $7.25. As ThinkProgress reported, “About 800 state workers who have already gotten raises will be able to keep them, but new hires will now have to start at the lower pay rate. In the order.” In this case, Bevin seemed less concerned with the separation of powers and more concerned with his conservative principles. In announcing the action, Bevin went as far as to suggest that there shouldn’t be a minimum wage in the first place, saying that ‘Wage rates ideally would be established by the demands of the labor market instead of being set by the government.”

The idea that Bevin’s actions were motivated by a commitment to the separation of powers goes completely out the window, however, when considering his executive order responding to issues surrounding the state’s compliance with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. In contrast with his deference to the legislature when it came to voting rights, Bevin issued an executive order that removes the state’s requirement that county clerks’ names appear on marriage licenses — a move specifically tailored for Kim Davis and other Kentucky county clerks who had previously refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Governor Beshear refused to issue an executive order to this effect because it would set an ugly precedent — the government isn’t supposed to change how it administers the law based on the whims of religious activists — but Bevin promised to issue Kim Davis’s bailout “on day one,” removing the need for the legislature to act.

And now he’s made good on that promise. Elections have consequences.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Patty

    I’m a Kentuckian, I’m a progressive Democrat, but I’m OK with county clerks’ names being removed from marriage licences. This means that these usually highly-paid administrative bureaucrats are becoming irrelevant. Counties should rejoice; budget dollars will be saved, and her job should be eliminated. And same-sex marriage will continue.

  • woodroad34

    You’re correct. In a similar situation, in1963 George Wallace refused to follow Desegregation laws, and JFK (after several attempts to bargain) issued a presidential proclamation and an executive order to call of the Alabama National Guard to allow students to enter the University. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jfk-faces-down-defiant-governor. The only difference in Kentucky’s case is that the state complied and gays are allowed to get married–but because of the pudgy little turd of a woman, they just took her name off the certificate. The certificate’s valid without it and she (like George Wallace) is the current face of lawless bigotry. And that’s what’s ironic (not her being God’s weapon to save marriage – http://www.newser.com/story/217982/kim-davis-its-ironic-god-picked-me-to-defend-marriage.html) — Law and Order Republicans’ beliefs, like everything they do, is one sided, selfish, and morally low; the complete antithesis of everything they spew.

  • Carlton Taylor

    Here is the proof who destroyed the last Temple in
    Jerusalem 70 AD

    You’ve been brainwashed to think that
    it was the Romans. An eyewitness to the unfolding events, Josephus saw the
    destruction very differently. According to Josephus, and I believe him, it was
    the Pharisee Jews that WANTED the Temple destroyed .

    Josephus was not a traitor to the
    Levite Priests (Sadducee) of the Jerusalem Temple. He was loyal to them and he
    was one. He correctly exposes the corruption of the Pharisee Jews (common men),
    the eternal nemesis of Sadducee in his writings. Jews think him a traitor, but
    he’s only a traitor in their eyes. Josephus is a hero to those who are born
    to protect the interests of Torah, the Levite Priests.

    The Pharisee Jews destroyed the
    Temple and destroyed the house of God, the sanctuary, commanded by God in
    Torah. There was some RELUCTANT Roman help. There was an exchange: The Romans
    got the Temple treasury and the Jews got religious control. It was this deal
    that forced Sadducee into the hands of death and escalated the rebellion of the
    Jews to create a very new religion, Judaism.

    “For that
    it was a rebellion of our own that destroyed it (the Temple) and that they were
    the tyrants among the Jews (Pharisee) who brought the Roman power upon us, who
    (Romans) unwillingly attacked us, and occasioned the burning of our holy TEMPLE

    Josephus, The Wars.

    “After this, I
    shall relate the barbarity of the tyrants (Pharisee) towards the people of
    their OWN nation, as well as the indulgence of the Romans in sparing foreigners
    and how often T-I-T-U-S, out of his desire to preserve the city and the
    TEMPLE, invited the rebellion to come to terms of accommodation.”

    Josephus, The Wars.

    Why would Pharisee Jews destroy the Temple?

    It’s a rebellion that started hundreds of years before 70AD with the
    Sadducee/Levite Priests having been chosen by God to minister, to atone, to
    protect Torah and to govern the Land of Israel. Pharisee Jews felt then as
    they do now disenfranchised by God, being common men and they figured
    incorrectly, that by merely studying Torah that this divine knowledge would
    bring them ‘closer to God’. They think that by being ‘Torah savvy’ that they’re
    superior to the bloodline of Aaron (who God chose) and would somehow gain them
    favor with God. They were wrong then and they’re still wrong today.

    After kicking the Pharisee Jews from the land of Israel 1500 years
    ago, God allowed them to return via ignorant UN leaders decisions.

    Will there be another Temple in Jerusalem under Pharisee Jewish rule?

    No. You must understand why there will never be another sanctuary/Temple under
    Jewish rule. Its because Jews hate the concept of a Priesthood and King, the
    entire concept God commands in Torah of rule and leadership. Coupled with a
    Sanctuary comes the Priests and with the Priest, the common man rabbis lose
    control of the people.

    The Jewish Rebellion in Writing

    It took the Jews a few hundred years to organize their ‘Oral Traditions/Laws’
    into a written document they call Talmud. It was a celebration and
    culmination of a thousand years of illegal laws under Priestly rule that were
    in the shadows, when Jews formulated the final version of the new Jewish
    Religion. Never before was such a document like Talmud allowed and never
    will such a document be allowed in the Land of Israel, per God. It was created
    when the Pharisee Jews, with some Roman help, destroyed the guardians of Torah,
    the Levite Priesthood (or Sadducee at the time) and their home the Sanctuary.
    But as God is eternal protector of the Land of Israel from evil, the Jews and
    their new Talmud were kicked from the Land for over 1500 years only to
    return now with American help, the most powerful and influential army in the
    world.

    The Government of Israel

    Israel is being governed like a democracy, but it’s not what God our Creator
    wants. What God wants is a Theocracy under the watchful guidance of
    literal Torah as it was for 1500 years from crossing the Jordan up till
    the destruction of the last temple and the rebellion of the Jews against God.

    The Jewish state, the democratic Jewish state, will not stand the wrath of
    God. Already, after just 70 tumultuous years, the world is turning its
    back on the rebels that entered the Land again, claiming to be the chosen
    People of God. It’s an abomination that this sham continues.

    The Fix, the Fear

    Rest assured there is remedy for the worldwide chaos brought on by the Pharisee
    Jews: It’s called FEAR. God has used FEAR in the past and its worked wonders to
    set straight the crooked and align them with the righteous. It’s through FEAR
    that the Pharisee will flock to the religion of God in droves, begging for
    forgiveness, for mercy in exchange for their obedience: To swap out their
    stubbornness and haughty contempt for God for obedience, love and fear for God.
    I will require it of him should be taken very seriously – DEUTERONOMY
    18:19. And it’s not only the Jews that must choose, but all other religions,
    other than the religion of God, that will need to convert to religion of God or
    be kicked from the Land of Israel.

    The religion of God THE HEBREWS, is the religion of Moses, detailed
    in Torah and eternal inheritance of Levite Priests: The religion, which
    dominated The Land of Israel for 1500 years under the blessings of God.

    Was Europe a better home for Judaism?

    Jews were in fact better off as a people in Europe, safer
    and free to live their Jewish life the way they have for hundreds of years
    without much interest in The Land of Israel or its sacredness.

    But Europe didn’t want them. Factually Jews were not wanted
    and now they’re back in Israel and there’s no escaping their obligations and
    commitments to an everlasting covenant with God. Europe is not The Land of
    Israel. Europe doesn’t have Torah commanding its inhabitants to obey God.

    This is probably why Jews never made much effort getting
    back to the Land in the 1500-year period since their last expulsion. They came
    back to the Land because there was nowhere else to go. They didn’t learn
    anything in the holocaust. They should learn that Torah is all good and Talmud
    is all bad.

    Worried much?

    You should be very concerned about this. It should bring chills to your spine.
    You shouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that you’re now living in the Land
    under God and Torah, in the Land, which God created for a specific religion
    that you do not observe. The Jews do not obey Torah, the Christians do not obey
    Torah and the Muslims do not obey Torah. It’s a terrifying prospect to defy God
    AND claim that you’re obedient.

    Who are the Legal Inheritors of The Land of Israel?

    Anyone from any religion, color or creed, that chooses to give of themselves to
    the religion of God are, according to God, Legal Inheritors of The Land of
    Israel. YOU are an inheritor of the Land. If you’re a Levite Priest obeying
    religion of God, you have no inheritance in the Land. Our inheritance is the
    Law, Torah and our connection is with God.

    Open your hearts to a life in the Land of Israel as a Legal inheritor of
    the Land living under the blessings of God, our Creator. Be fruitful and
    multiply!

    Fight the lies with Truth!

    COPY THIS BEFORE ITS DELETED.

  • Fireblazes

    True, but apparently they got away with stealing another election.

  • therling

    The marriage license provision renders Kim Davis about as relevant as she should always have been.

  • benb

    I wish someone would ask Kim Davis how much money she’s earned from speaking fees, appearances, etc….since she went to jail.

  • mark_in_toronto

    No matter where you live in America, you must follow the law as laid down by the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t know how else to put it.

  • DoverBill

    You’ll have to change the constitution.

  • DoverBill

    This asshole needs a job hosting the next Miss Universe contest.

  • Wildkitty

    OR by voter mandate. Let’s see what happens now that workers have been ‘schlonged’ by their new Governor!!
    How to win friends and influence people (voters) !!!

  • Moderator3

    Groan

  • woodroad34

    I find KY to be a slippery slope.

  • Opinionated Cat Lover

    Heh, $4? You’re generous! :D

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You are going to have to explain that to me as if I were a child. How does someone in California affect what is happening in Kentucky? I cannot vote there. I could try to contact the state legislators, but why would they talk to me? I suspect that people in Kentucky don’t care. They are the ones that would have to take these things back to court. Right now it appears that you are correct that the people of the state aren’t fighting it.

  • mark_in_toronto

    I am an ex-pat, which explains my interest in all of this. I live here now because I couldn’t stand living under a Bush presidency. Little did I know it could even come this far. Embarrassment is an understatement.
    I agree with everything you said except “Things must move to a federal level before we can have any influence.” Well, in this specific case, THEY HAVE. These people are flagrantly ignoring a decision by the Supreme Court. You can’t get much more Federal than that.
    So, if the law of the land doesn’t do it, and these public servants working for the US government don’t want to obey the law, then you have to blame the people for not fighting on any front at all.

  • Warren Ellis

    Executive orders are not law. Thus they can be reversed. The proper path to voter right reform in any State should be via the Legislative process where the Representative of the people meet, debate and consider legislation. As a matter of civility we need to return to the rule of law, legislating and discourage unilateral action by any Executive be it Local, State or National.

  • I’m not sure Bevin’s change gives Kim Davis and her ilk an out — it just removes them from the equation, which is probably the only common sense thing that’s going to come out of Bevin’s administration.

  • dcinsider

    I fully understand the objections to giving the Kim Davis’s of this world an out to misuse their religion in the workplace, but I am of two minds about this.

    We won the larger battle. In fact, we won the war. There are going to be the Kim Davis’s of this time, the functional equivalent of Japanese soldiers on deserted islands who did not know WWII ended. We should not be spending too much time on them. If KY wants to have the clerk’s name removed from the license, albeit to allow Kim Davis to be a bigot, is that so awful? It removes petty idiots like Kim Davis from exercising real power. That’s a victory in and of itself, isn’t it? She has lost her argument that she has a “religious exemption” now that she cannot sign the license.

    Speaking of which, the religious exemption BS will continue, and we should fight it in the courts, where we will win. However, we have other battles to attend to, and the thing about winning means you don’t have to fight the same battle over again. Time, the law, and demographics will take care of this problem in due time.

    We made history. Petty insults like this are the losers way to whine. Let them have their solace in small, meaningless statements. We are the winners. They are the losers. Pity them.

  • DGT

    These right-wing governors may be able to bring more jobs into their states, but the reason they can’t do it at the national level is because right-wing “job creation” strategy doesn’t create jobs. It just steals them away from other states.

    At the state level this may benefit them, but at the national level it is a disaster. A job that used to pay a good wage moves to the old Confederacy, and suddenly it’s minimum wage. And then jobs move to an even worse state with even lower taxes and wages.

    As you said, it’s not sustainable, and it’s killing the middle class in this country.

  • I don’t understand why so many sites are reporting on the order removing county clerks’ names from marriage licenses are calling it a “win” for Kim Davis. It looks to me like a fix to a legal provision that never should have been in place: it removes Davis’ and like-minded clerks objections to issuing licenses to same-sex couples — if she doesn’t want to sign, let one of her deputies sign and be done with it. That’s essentially what has been happening in Rowan County anyway, minus her tampering with the license forms to try to invalidate them.

  • nkd

    Voting rights-out, minimum wage-out, Kim Davis-in. And people are surprised because….? Now if he can only figure out a way to get rid of all those pesky Democratic votes.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    First, let’s have the retired teacher raise his ugly head. You are a Canadian and we are citizens of the U.S.A., but we’re all Americans.

    We’re not letting it happen, but there are so many fronts where we need to fight. I live in California and moved here from Minnesota. Both are liberal states, and citizens of those states can’t influence what is happening in states such as Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas. Things must move to a federal level before we can have any influence.

    There are two U.S.A.s. One is liberal and one is conservative, and we exist side by side. We sometimes sit side by side at holiday dinners. I would think that a lot of this duality goes back to the question of slavery which led to a civil war. We also have religion to thank for the present division. These rather small minded people feel that everyone must live by their code of ethics. They seem to think that what I do with my genitals should be controlled by them. Other religions believe in live and let live.

    Studies have been done that show conservatives are motivated by fear. There is not much that can be done to lessen that fear, because that fear is not based on reality.

  • mark_in_toronto

    Why are Americans treating each other with such hate and disdain? Watching an American network news cast is like something out of a dark sci-fi movie.
    And now it seems that these Putin-like laws are eating away at democracy one state at a time – this story is just one example.
    I’m at a loss to understand this mentality of hate and fear and even more amazed that sensible Americans are just letting it happen.

  • Doug105

    There is some question about that vote.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Republicans lie when they say they want Small Government and reduced spending. When they win, they rule like a dictator and run their budgets up to incomprehensible sums.

    Republicans HATE people that work for a living.

  • PattyJM

    That is one problem. There are more.

    Doing away with the minimum wage seems to be a pretty popular idea among Republicans.

    Malone’s law of economics (I’m Malone) says that the going wage for any job is the least amount a business can pay and still get the work done. Want to see $4.00 an hour jobs? Hang around for a bit.

  • Kevin Lavrack

    The problem with letting the market set minimum wage/safety or maximum pollution standards is that any business or state that tries to do the right thing will be underpriced by others that don’t. Our Florida “job-creator” governor just returned from a Kentucky trip aimed at stealing companies with lower wages/regs/taxes. The new Ky guv will probably return the favor, resulting in lower taxes, wages and secondary job-creation in both states. This is not a sustainable model.

  • Ol’ Hippy

    Once again, VOTE, and see if it makes a difference. If not take what comes about from inaction.

  • Gindy51

    The idiots are getting EXACTLY what they voted for… a corporate owned LIAR.

  • 2karmanot

    Good Lawd Ms. Scarlet, the beloved Old South is a coming back as a putrid zombie of anti-American traitorous mini laws. This time let them succeed, It will save bullets, lives, and peace of mind.

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