Kentucky’s Drag Show Ban Bill Fails to Pass in House

Frankfort, Ky.–Kentucky’s proposed Senate Bill 115, which sought to restrict drag shows and criminalize performers, appears to be dead, as the House did not have enough readings to legally pass it before the veto period begins on Friday. Sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, the bill would have prohibited drag shows on publicly owned land and anywhere children might be, with performers facing criminal charges if they violated the rules. The measure passed out of the Senate last week, but the House did not give it its required three readings before the veto period began, making it unlikely to pass.

This legislation is one of several bills aimed at the LGBTQ community currently in limbo as lawmakers rush to pass anything they expect Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat running for re-election, to veto. Governor Beshear is likely to veto any bill that is considered anti-LGBTQ. However, lawmakers could still bring up SB 115 and pass it in the final two days of the session, but they would not be able to override a potential veto after the session.

House Bill 470, an omnibus anti-trans bill, is also currently under consideration in Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature. The bill is able to pass out of the Senate at any moment, but it is unclear if Republican lawmakers will be able to find a compromise on the language before the end of the day Thursday.

Many members of the LGBTQ community have spoken out against these bills, stating that they are discriminatory and will harm LGBTQ individuals in the state. Advocates are urging lawmakers to focus on legislation that protects and supports all individuals, rather than targeting specific groups.

Photo: SB 115 Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, smiles on the Senate floor March 1. (LRC)