The Kentucky General Assembly approved more than 150 bills that were eventually signed into law during their regular session this year. While some were fairly mundane pieces of legislation that made technical changes to existing laws, others were aimed at tackling statewide issues.
Sen. Robert Stivers’ Senate Bill 3 added several over-the-counter medicines containing non-liquid pseudoephedrine to the definition of a legend drug in an attempt to quell the number of meth labs in Kentucky. Pseudoephedrine is a primary ingredient in making meth.
Several of the measures sponsored or co-sponsored by Rep. Fitz Steele, of Hazard, were also signed into law. House Bill 54 will ensure that judges and witnesses will also be notified upon the release of an involuntarily committed person. House Bill 121 creates a new state statute to define the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flag, and require that any flag purchased with public funds in Kentucky must be made in the United States.
House Bill 385, among other things, deals with the failure of a drug or alcohol test by a coal miner, and establishes requirements for notification and consequences of failing such a test.
Rep. Steele’s House Joint Resolution 11 urges for the improvement of sewer infrastructure and straight pipes in order to improve water quality in Kentucky. The resolution also urges the allowance of more money to be utilized from stream mitigation funds, and that the Kentucky congressional delegation work to amend the federal Clean Water Act to prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from using a conductivity standard that limits the use of those mitigation funds in certain counties in Appalachia.
Several more lawmakers’ bills were approved this year that deal with issues such as education, including Senate Bill 24, which will require that a child be six years old by August 1 instead of October 1 in order to be enrolled at a public school, and five years old by August 1 to be enrolled at a primary school program.
House Bill 37 authorizes the Kentucky Board of Education to approve districts of innovation, which are defined as a school district that has developed a plan of innovation in compliance with state law, and has been “exempted from certain administrative regulations and statutory provisions to improve the educational performance of students within the district.” Innovation, for purposes of this law, is defined as “a new or creative alternative to existing instructional and administrative practices intended to improve student learning and student performance of all students.”
Senate Bill 32 creates the Kentucky Blue Alert Network, which aims to notify the public through news media and highway signs that a police officer has been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty, and that someone has been identified as the culprit and is being sought after by authorities.
Senate Bill 89 requires that seat belts must be used in vehicles that carry 15 or fewer passengers. The law previously required belts in vehicles for 10 or fewer passengers.
House Bill 112 allows anyone 18 years of age to run for a seat on a city council or for mayor.
House Bill 171 allows commonwealth’s or county attorneys in Kentucky to carry a concealed deadly weapon at all times, and in all locations throughout the state, with a valid concealed deadly weapon license.
House Bill 221 allows a veteran to request an ID card or operator’s license to designate his or her status as a veteran of the United States military.
House Bill 344 makes it illegal to release feral or wild hogs into the wild.
House Bill 390 creates a new statute for a registration system for secondary metal recyclers, which will be administered by the Public Protection Cabinet. The new law will also require that the Kentucky State Police perform a background check on recyclers, and require recyclers to keep records of purchases of restricted metals.
House Bill 411 designates the fourth Monday of each August as Coal Truck Driver Appreciation Day.
House Bill 481 prohibits the sale or possession of synthetics drugs such as synthetic marijuana.
House Bill 484 allows people without a carrying concealed deadly weapon permit to carry concealed weapons on his or her own property without a license, or on the property of relatives. It also allows a business owner or employee to carry a concealed weapon at the business, if the property is owned or leased by the business owner.