FRANKFORT – Senate Bill 297 passed through Kentucky Senate vote on March 17. This bill calls for Kentucky’s 62 mine safety inspectors to become “safety analysts,” but the change involves more than simply a job title. Basically, citations that come along with a fine will be replaced by suggestions for modifications in a coal mine’s practices whenever the state finds unsafe conditions present on the job.
The bill passed by a large vote of 25 in favor and 11 opposed, among state senators. However, there was much debate on the senate floor before the bill’s passage. Opponents of Senate Bill 297 argue that the law would create the possibility for miners to work in unsafe conditions, whereas those in favor of the bill claim regulations that are too tight and too costly have helped lead to the massive loss of coal mining jobs Kentucky has experienced over the course of the past decade.
Senate Bill 297 will now move on to Kentucky’s House of Representatives for consideration during the General Assembly.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.