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KY lawmakers advance bill that would keep no-knock warrants in place, but with certain restrictions

Breonna Taylor
Posted at 8:18 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 08:18:11-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Nearly a year after police in Louisville shot and killed Breonna Taylor during a middle-of-the-night raid, Kentucky state lawmakers in Frankfort are taking up no-knock warrants.

There are currently two bills that address the warrants.

Breonna's Law, filed by Democratic State Rep. Attica Scott, would totally ban no-knock warrants. However, the bill has not moved forward in the Kentucky General Assembly since it was filed.

The bill that is moving forward is Senate Bill 4.

Senate Bill 4 puts limitations on no-knock warrants but allows them to be issued when there is “clear and convincing” evidence of violent criminal activity.

The bill would require officers to go through more levels of approval to get search warrants. It requires them to consult with supervisors and local prosecutors. It also requires a legible signature by a judge.

According to the bill, only law enforcement who "(a) are members of a special weapons and tactics team or special response team, or another established team or unit trained and tasked with resolving high-risk situations and incidents, who have received appropriate training in the execution of arrest and search warrants authorizing entry without notice; and (b) Are equipped with body-worn cameras, and shall record the entirety of the execution of the warrant with the body-worn cameras" can execute the warrant.

The bill's sponsor, Republcian Senate President Robert Stivers, said the bill doesn't totally ban the warrants because police need them in certain situations.

"Think about this," Stivers said. "If there is a terrorist situation — there was something similar to this a few years ago in Bowling Green — do you really want to knock on the door?"

The bill is receiving bipartisan support in the Senate.

"I think Kentucky has to move forward on [no-knock warrants]," Democratic state Sen. Reggie Thomas said. "We've taken a lot of heat as a state on this. And I think we have addressed this in the right way and we're moving forward."

This story was originally published by Karolina Buczek on WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.