As the sad one-year anniversary of the death of Breonna Taylor draws near, the Kentucky General Assembly is considering a piece of legislation that would place strict limitations on so called no-knock warrants.
Senate Bill 4 passed the Senate unanimously on February 25. It is nearing a third reading and vote in the House of Representatives. Senate President Robert Stivers is the lead sponsor of the bill that would outlaw the usage of no-notice warrants between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless the court finds “clear and convincing evidence that there are substantial and imminent risks” to the person executing the warrant, the occupants of the premises or the general public. It further requires greater communication, awareness and accountability before any no-notice warrant is executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
When a piece of legislation is debated, legislators often ask if there have been specific cases that would be affected by the passage of the legislation. In the case of SB 4, it stands to reason the life of Breonna Taylor would have been significantly impacted by the passage of bill such as this.
The bill requires the execution of no-knock warrants be recorded with body cameras and only carried out by law enforcement agents trained in the execution of these high-risk situations. Some opponents of the legislation point to the cost of the equipment and training as a reason to hold up the bill.
How much is a human life worth? Isn’t the value of any human life worth the investment of a city, county, state or federal government to provide adequate training, oversight and accountability in a high-risk situation such as the execution of a no-knock warrant.
The State House should pass the legislation and Gov. Andy Beshear should sign it as a way to protect and value human life.