Lexington lawmaker has 2 bills on House floor easily advance

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - It was a good day for state Rep. Robert Benvenuti on the House floor Tuesday.

 

The Republican from Lexington saw two of his bills dealing with law enforcement issues clear the House, including one dealing with access to video from police officers’ body cameras and another giving retired or active prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office the opportunity to carry concealed weapons anywhere.


Benvenuti said House Bill 373 does not mandate the use of body cams, saying that’s a decision for each local police agency to make.


“Our open records law does not address it, leading to a lot of confusion,” he said on the House floor.  “I believe this strikes the right balance between the many interests that need to be represented here.”


Benvenuti described some of the video that will not be released under the bill - the interior of a private residence, medical facilities, correctional facilities, a women’s shelter, any evidence of sexual assault or nude images, children, or a dead body.


What could be released includes use of force by a police officer, an incident that leads to an arrest, or to the attorney for a defendant.  It would also set up a process to be viewed by lawyers investigating potential claims if they sign an affidavit stating they would not release the video.


The bill passed easily 94-2.


Benvenuti also sponsored HB 315 that would add active or retired prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office to those allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere.  He lawmaker said current list includes commonwealth’s and county attorneys as well as their assistants, law enforcement officers, along with judges and justices.


“What these people do on a daily basis is critical prosecutions,” he told his colleagues.  “They are often dispatched from the Attorney General’s office to all corners of the commonwealth, often to unfamiliar territory, and handle some of the most complex cases, including homicides and appeals of the cases.”


Benvenuti said they unfortunately make enemies out there who often have long memories.  “Even after their retirement, these prosecutors deserve the same protections that we have granted others,” he said.


In answer to a request from one of the members, Benvenuti said the Attorney General’s office is supportive of this measure.


The bill passed 90-6. 


Both bills now head to the Senate for further consideration.

           

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