FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky’s new concealed carry law is one of many pieces of legislation passed by the 2019 General Assembly that is going into effect this week.
Senate Bill 150 allows concealed firearms to be carried without a concealed carry permit. The measure will allow Kentuckians age 21 and older, who are legally eligible, to possess a firearm to carry a concealed weapon without a license in the same location as people with valid state-issued licenses. Permitless carry will not be allowed where prohibited by federal law or otherwise prohibited.
House Bill 2, dubbed the kinship care bill, will create a caregiver assistance program for relatives and “fictive kin” – usually close family friends – of abused, neglected or dependent children. The measure will do this by offering different options to the caregivers based on the level of care they provide. HB 2 is designed to address growth in the out-of-home placement of Kentucky children amid the state’s current opioid crisis.
HB 446 deals with the issue of giving foster parents the right to stand in court.
Rep. David Meade, R-Stanford, the bill’s sponsor, said: “For too long, we have asked these folks to bring these children into their families, love them like their own children, then we shut them out of court proceedings, where it’s probably the most impactful.”
HB 84 prohibits telephone solicitations that misrepresent the name or telephone number in caller identification services, known as “spoofing.” It increases fines for second offenses and allow for civil lawsuits against violators.
Senate Bill 57 will expand the number of Kentuckians eligible to have low-level felonies removed from their criminal records. It will do this by expanding discretionary expungement to all Class D felonies (those with 1-5 year penalties) with some exceptions for crimes such as stealing in office, abusing children and sexual abuse. It includes a five-year waiting period to apply for expungement, a $250 application fee and provisions for prosecutors to object and judges to reject the applications.
SB 18, the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act, clarifies employers’ responsibilities when it comes to making reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. It will make it unlawful for an employer to fail to accommodate a pregnant employee and will require employers to provide notice to employees regarding these rights.
HB 11 bans the use of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping devices on public school campuses, in school vehicles and at school activities beginning with the 2020-21 school year. School districts would have up to three years to opt out of the ban should they choose. The individual districts not opting out will also be able to set the penalties for violating the ban.
HB 118, the Keep Americans Working Act of 2019, will prohibit someone from having an occupational license suspended or revoked because of delinquency on a student loan or work-conditional scholarship. The measure is meant to help keep people with student loan debt out of poverty and in the workforce.
SB 84 will recognize, certify and regulate home-birth midwives in Kentucky. The measure creates a council to advise the state Board of Nursing on the creation of regulations regarding qualifications, standards for training, competency, any necessary statutory changes and all other matters relating to certified professional midwives.
SB 70 makes non-fatal strangulation its own felony crime under Kentucky's criminal code. It includes a maximum ten years in prison, for those convicted.
HB 258 sets operating standards for electric scooters and will allow the machines to legally operate much like bicycles on public streets. It also limits e-scooter speeds to no more than 20 mph.
HB 254, dubbed the campus free speech bill, will require the state’s public universities to affirm they favor a free marketplace of ideas where speech is not suppressed because it’s deemed “offensive, unwise, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional or radical.” SB 254 will also expand areas commonly known as “free speech zones” on many campuses to any accessible, open, outdoor venue.
SB 6 will require disclosure of executive agency lobbyist compensation. The measure will also prohibit compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract. It will provide oversight, in part, by requiring executive branch lobbyists to register and list their clients, something that is already required of legislative lobbyists.
HB 135 will prohibit public agencies from requiring that their contractors on public works projects have agreements with labor organizations.
SB 67 will create the offense of sexual crimes against an animal, punishable by up to five years in prison for those convicted.
All bills passed by lawmakers take effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn, except for those that contain a specified date, or those that contain an emergency clause, which take effect as soon as they are signed by the Governor. This year the 90-day period means June 27 is the effective date, something that was confirmed by an official Attorney General’s opinion..
According to the Legislative Research Commission, during this year’s 30-day session, 786 bills were introduced, including 263 Senate bills and 523 House bills. In all, 68 Senate bills and 130 House bills became law.