A bill to ban sanctuary policies by most public agencies in Kentucky won Senate approval this week after a lengthy debate that presented starkly different portrayals of the contentious measure.
The Republican-dominated Senate passed the bill 28-10 on Tuesday, sending it to the GOP-led House.
Sen. Danny Carroll, the bill’s lead sponsor, called it a public safety measure promoting cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.
Opponents countered that the bill isn’t needed — noting that Kentucky has no sanctuary cities and that law enforcement cooperation already exists.
“What this bill will do is strain the resources of our local cops,” Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said in opposing the measure.
Carroll, a Paducah Republican, said the bill would not trigger mass roundups of undocumented people.
“We simply don’t have the resources to do this, and this bill makes no requirements that that happen,”” he said.
It would prohibit public entities including city and county governments from adopting sanctuary policies limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Local law enforcement would be required to use their “best efforts” to help federal law enforcement.
Exemptions are carved out for school districts and employees of such agencies as domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and public health departments.