FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lawmakers gathered in Frankfort Tuesday to focus on the final two days of the 2020 legislative session, focusing primarily on overriding Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's vetoes and passing more coronavirus relief legislation.
The flags over the Capitol flew at half staff to honor the more than 100 Kentucky residents who have died from COVID-19, but inside, lawmakers got down to business.
But not business as usual. The House chamber was almost empty, with only 21 members on the floor. The rest of the House members, including Rep. Jason Nemes, voted remotely from their offices.
Nemes showed off a paper ballot he fills out, then takes a picture of.
"I put 'Yes' or 'No' and sign it and date it," he explained. "And then I will take a picture of this and email it and text message it to the clerk of the House."
The electronic voting is Nemes' idea to help protect House members from the virus.
"Representatives can vote from a position of safety," he said. "We have a lot of representatives who are very old."
Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins says remote voting does slow down the process and stifle debate, but it's better than the alternative, "when there's 100 of us, and we're sitting right next to each other, breathing on each other, and coughing on each other."
On the other side of the Capitol, senators tried to practice social distancing inside the chamber. Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says the remainder of the session has already been shortened from three days to two, and there are no plans to shorten it any more.
Both chambers will consider bills aimed at helping businesses reopen after the pandemic passes.
"And if we can figure out a way to do that and comply with all CDC guidelines, then I think that we need to start having that conversation," said House Speaker David Osborne.
One bill would offer temporary tax breaks to help businesses re-boot.
"It might last for six months to a year, but to try to get a lot of our small businesses back on their feet," Thayer said.
But Jenkins says any re-start should not happen too quickly.
"People have made huge sacrifices, and I think we want to make sure we are really, really safe before we open anything up," Jenkins said.
Legally, the session must end by midnight on Wednesday.
Copyright 2020 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.