Additional Clarifications on Statue Vote before Council

Thank you to the many constituents who have contacted my office about the John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge statues.  I support the Mayor’s resolution as a reasonable path forward that respects and preserves the long history that led up to and followed the Civil War, and also respects our current views about what we should and should not honor in that long history.

Many of you have contacted me seeking clarity about the substance and process of Council’s work on this important issue.   Please see a few frequently asked questions, answers, and contextual details below:

What vote is Council taking?

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Council unanimously voted to place the Mayor’s resolution on the docket.  On Thursday, August 17, 2017, we will have the first reading of the Mayor’s resolution on the docket at the Council Meeting.  Specifically, the resolution before us asks Council to express support for moving the statues to a more appropriate place.  You can read the full resolution by clicking here.  The resolution also asks the Mayor to determine the new location and report back to Council with that information within 30 days.  Council’s vote of support is important because it expresses solidarity to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission.

Who has authority over the statues?

The Kentucky Military Heritage Commission maintains a registry of significant Kentucky military heritage sites.  The John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge statues are part of the registry.  The designation means that under state law no one can remove or significantly alter the statues without the Commission’s consent.  Should the Council approve moving the statues to a specified location, the city  intends to ask the Commission to schedule a meeting to approve moving the statues.   If the Commission approves, the city will then be able to relocate the statues.  For additional information on the Commission’s role and scope of authority, please see KRS 171.780 to 171.788.

What is the timeline?

As noted earlier, Council unanimously voted at the Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Work Session to place the resolution on the docket.   Placing an item on the docket means that it will go before an official Council Meeting to have a public reading.  Under the normal course of business, each piece of legislation in the form of an ordinance or resolution will receive a first reading at a Council Meeting and a second/final reading at the subsequent Council Meeting.  Council also has the option to suspend the rules and give a first and second reading to legislation at the same meeting.  Following two readings and an affirmative Council vote, the legislation can then become law.

The resolution to move the statues will appear for a first reading at the August 17, 2017 Council Meeting.  The second and final reading, assuming the Council does not suspend the rules to give the legislation first and then second reading at the same meeting, will be on Thursday, August 31, 2017.  However, this vote is not the last step for Council.  The resolution also asks the Mayor to recommend, within a 30 day window of the resolution’s passage, where the statues will go,  a necessary step before moving forward.  Should the Council approve the move to a specific location, the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission will need to meet to consider the city’s request.  If they approve, the city will then be able to transfer the statues to a new location.

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