Kentucky Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, and other Senate Republicans joined in a sharply worded rebuke Friday aimed at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul.
Senate Resolution 31, filed by Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, and co-sponsored by all but one of his Republican and Democratic colleagues, expressed the Senate’s support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and criticized as “outside the mainstream of American values” those who oppose any part of the law.
“Suggestions have appeared recently that we retreat from the core values of the protection of equal rights of the citizens of the United States,” says Senate Resolution 31.
Only an “extreme minority of persons in the United States” would support such a move, it says.
The Senate adopted the resolution, which did not name Paul, on a voice vote. Only one senator, Gary Tapp, R-Shelbyville, did not sign onto the resolution, but he did not attend last week’s special legislative session.
Paul’s campaign chairman, David Adams, said Tuesday that he was aware of the Senate’s resolution but declined to comment on it.
The resolution was aimed squarely at Paul and his recent questioning of a provision in the Civil Rights Act that prevents private businesses from discriminating based on race, Neal said Tuesday.
In interviews with national media outlets, Paul has cited this part of the law as an example of the government overreaching, although he also has said that he would have voted for the law if he were in the U.S. Senate at the time.
“Here is an individual from Kentucky speaking nationally on a fundamental value, a fundamental right enshrined in our laws, and there had been no official response on behalf of Kentucky,” Neal said. “I felt it was important for our institution to say that not everybody here agrees with the ideological positions put forward by Mr. Rand Paul.”
Neal said he filed his resolution last Wednesday under a procedure that listed all senators present as co-sponsors unless they objected. Nobody objected over the next two days, he said.
“Senate leadership clearly knew what was going on, they were paying attention,” Neal said. “I talked to the majority floor leader. There was no opposition.”
Williams, the top Republican in Frankfort, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday. Williams last week said Paul is not a racist, but he is too young to remember the history that made the Civil Rights Act necessary.
“When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, Rand Paul was 2 years old,” Williams said. “Those of us who lived during that time period — I wasn’t very old, but I was old enough to know that some things in the United States had to be changed.”