Story at a glance
- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed three new laws on Friday directing funding and reform to Black communities.
- He officially limited the use of no-knock search warrants, a practice that drew renewed criticism after the police killing of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.
- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer banned the practice shortly after Taylor’s death.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed new legislation Friday that partially bans no-knock warrants, a move that comes after months of demonstrations over the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home during a police raid last year.
The limited ban is one of three new bills the governor signed: the second supporting Kentucky’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the third creating new economic development in West Louisville.
No-knock warrants, a form of search warrant used to authorize police officers to enter premises without announcing their presence first, were heavily criticized following Taylor’s death.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, died in a botched police raid on her apartment in March 2020, when police shot her several times.
A subsequent investigation by the Louisville Courier Journal found that no-knock search warrants are disproportionately executed against Black Americans and Americans of color.
Despite growing cries to ban the practice outright, as is stipulated in the eponymous Breonna’s Law following her death, Beshear’s legislation bans no-knock warrants on drug cases.
“I cannot know the depths of pain caused by systematic racism, but in my administration we are committed to listening and continuing to act,” Beshear said at the signing. “I am signing Senate Bill 4 to help ensure no other mother knows Tamika Palmer’s grief at the loss of her daughter Breonna Taylor. This is meaningful change and it will save lives.”
The bill, titled Senate Bill 4, notes that approved no-knock warrants must be executed by a “specially-trained response team equipped with body-worn cameras and clearly identifying insignia” to ensure accountability.”
An EMT must be present on site to provide medical assistance if necessary.
No-knock warrants can only be executed between 6 am. and 10 p.m. as well.
Outside of state reform, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) banned the practice outright in response to Taylor's death and following the termination of then-police chief Steve Conrad.
The other bills signed into law work to foster better educational and economic developments within West Louisville’s predominantly Black community. Private HBCUs located in Kentucky are now eligible for state tuition grants, and the legislation expands partnerships between institutions of higher education.
Beshear’s legislation will also develop roughly $30 million in initial investment in West Louisville communities, mainly through economic development programs, affordable housing projects and refundable tax incomes for residential property owners.
Notably, the state funding will be delegated to community leaders within the West End Opportunity Partnership (WEOP) to better allocate funding.
“The creation of the WEOP was a collaborative effort with fellow senators and individuals involved with different sectors of the West End over the past year. This legislation is the end result of that effort, which could be a transformational tool to change the economic trajectory of the West End of Louisville,” said Kentucky Senate President Sen. Robert Stivers (R).