New State Laws Take Effect This Month
During this year’s thirty day legislative session, I joined my colleagues in working to make Kentucky a better place to live, work, and raise a family. More than 100 new laws were approved in the General Assembly's 2011 Regular Session.
In accordance with the Kentucky Constitution, bills that do not contain an emergency clause or specify an effective date take effect as state law 90 days after a legislative session ends, making June 8 the effective date for most bills approved in this year's session.
These new laws include legislation aimed at ending the use of a harmful synthetic drug. House Bill 121 would ban the possession, trafficking, or manufacturing of synthetic methamphetamine. Mimicking the effects of the actual drug, ingredients for the synthetic form can easily be obtained at local retailers and cause paranoia, along with serious physical impairments.
Hunting, fishing, and wildlife harvesting could be guaranteed in the state constitution through House Bill 1, a proposed constitutional amendment. If a majority of voters approve the amendment, which will be placed on the November 2012 statewide ballot, Kentucky would become the 16th state to make hunting and fishing a constitutional right.
Senate Bill 7 will require all three branches of government to update their databases monthly with links to actual bills, purchase orders, and other documentation when possible. Information in the state's online accounting system would be updated weekly. While most state offices already post the information online, this legislation will be binding for future officials rather than it being voluntary.
A bill to reduce abuse of the elderly is also ready for the Governor’s pen. House Bill 52 will prohibit people convicted of abusing, neglecting, or exploiting vulnerable adults from being granted guardianship, power of attorney, or similar positions of responsibility for others. Those convicted will also be prohibited from inheriting from their victims.
In an effort to help small businesses, House Joint Resolution 5 was approved. The Legislative Research Commission will be directed to appoint a consulting firm to study the effectiveness of economic development incentive programs in Kentucky.
Kentucky-grown food products with the Kentucky Proud label will be favored under food contracts with Kentucky state parks and golf courses under House Bill 166. The promotion program will apply only to contracts entered into or renewed after Oct. 1, 2011.
Flu vaccines will be more accessible for minors thanks to Senate Bill 40. Through this measure, pharmacists will now be permitted to administer flu shots to children ages 9 to 13.
House Republicans enjoyed a considerable amount of success this session with the passage of numerous bills that are set to become state law:
- House Bill 34, sponsored by Representative Marie Rader, will allow county coroners to use emergency lights and sirens while traveling to traffic fatalities. Before the provision permitting this use can be instituted, communities’ local governments would also be required to approve the use of lights and sirens.
- House Bill 192, sponsored by Representative Adam Koenig, will require all public high schools to provide seniors with voting information, including how to register to vote, how to vote in an election using a ballot, and how to vote using an absentee ballot.
- House Bill 244, sponsored by Representative Danny Ford, will exempt a totally disabled veteran or other individual from the requirement to apply for the homestead exemption on a yearly basis.
- House Bill 313, cosponsored by Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington, will expand current concealed firearm laws to allow any firearm, loaded or unloaded, to be stored in any area of a vehicle that is considered originally installed equipment.
- House Bill 464, sponsored by Representative David Osborne, will require the Kentucky Board of Education to establish procedures for reviewing and resolving claims of factual errors found in our students’ textbooks.
Interim committee meetings began the first week of June, in which we will tackle the various issues affecting our state. Your state representative can be reached at home or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. A taped message containing information on legislative committee meeting schedules is available by calling 1-800-633-9650. You may keep track of legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.