Upcoming Legislative Laws

The new laws slated to go into effect on Wednesday, July 12th:

Prescription authority: Senate Bill 65 gives advanced registered nurse practitioners the authority to write prescriptions for controlled substances with the approval of their supervising doctor. The legislation expands on their current ability to write certain prescriptions, including antibiotics.

Sex offenders: House Bill 3 expands the range of areas where convicted sex offenders cannot live. Now prohibited are areas within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare center, or playground. Registered sex offenders will also be required to have a new photo taken every two years, out-of-state sex offenders will have five days to register in Kentucky after moving into the state, and the length of registration for some offenders is lengthened from 10 to 20 years. School employees, volunteers, and contractors will be required to submit to both state and national criminal background checks. Juveniles convicted of Class A, B, and C felonies will have those records opened to the public

Deadly force: SB 38 eliminates the "duty to retreat" if a person believes he or she is being threatened. Instead, the law spells out a right to use deadly force against an intruder in a person's home or vehicle.

Concealed deadly weapons: HB 290 blocks the identity of concealed-carry permit holders from the public record, and only law enforcement officers will be able to check the records of deadly weapons training classes. In addition, lawfully owned weapons and ammunition cannot be seized by authorities during disasters or emergencies.

ATV helmets: HB 117 stipulates that anyone 16 or under riding an ATV must wear a helmet at all times, even if on private land.

Seat belts: HB 117 also raises seat belt violations from a secondary to a primary offense, allowing law enforcement officials to pull over a driver and issue a $25 fine for not wearing a seat belt. Until January 1, 2007, however, law enforcement will be issuing courtesy warnings rather than tickets. Previously officers could only give tickets for seat belt violations if drivers were stopped for another offense.

Eminent domain: HB 508 lays down specific conditions before the state may condemn private property under the state's eminent domain laws. The bill, a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo case, prohibits the condemnation of private property unless it will be used for an exclusive public use such as government purposes, public utilities or to eliminate blighted areas.

Mine safety: Underground mines will be required to file an emergency action plan under SB 200, including a copy of evacuation and firefighting plans. Maps of the mine showing escape routes must also be posted in various areas of the mine so that workers, who must undergo regularly safety training and drills, will know what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. The law also authorizes fines of at least $10,000 and up to $100,000 for not reporting a serious mine accident to the Department of Natural Resources within 15 minutes. Other elements of SB 200, including requirements for two-way communications devices and breathing devices, take effect at a later date.

Wine consumption: Restaurant patrons will be able to take home a partially-consumed bottle of wine under SB 56. The restaurant will be required to reseal the bottle, place it in a container, and provide a dated receipt. Patrons will be limited to a single bottle.

Inmate lawsuits: HB 193 will require state inmates to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit.

Gift cards: SB 49 requires most gift cards to have a minimum expiration date of one year after being issued, and prevents fees that reduce its value from setting in until that date passes.

Credit reports: HB 54 allows consumers to request a security freeze on their credit report, requiring the credit agency to get express authorization from the consumer before releasing the report to third parties.

Circuit clerks: HB 395 allows circuit court clerks to accept credit and debit cards as well as charge a $25 bad check fee.

Breastfeeding: SB 106 explicitly permits mothers to breastfeed their baby or express their breastmilk in public and prevents anyone from interfering with a mother breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding mothers could not be charged with public indecency, indecent exposure or obscenity for doing so.

Rescheduling elections: HB 135 gives the governor expanded powers to reschedule elections in case of a disaster or emergency, allows him to delay the election up to five weeks in such cases, and requires the State Board of Elections to pay $255 per precinct to affected counties that are forced to reschedule their elections.

School employees: SB 51 prohibits a loss of income or benefits, including leave time, to teachers or other school employees who are assaulted on the job. School districts would be required to maintain their income and benefits up to one year after the injury.

Boat launching fees: HB 632 prohibits the Department of Parks from charging boat launching fees at boat ramps under its authority and authorizes prorated refunds for ramp passes already issued.

Computer assisted hunting: HB 289 prohibits computer-assisted remote-control hunting and makes sure that disabled hunters are not unduly affected. The law is aimed at Internet companies that provide "click-and-shoot" hunting.

Nursing home inspections: SB 141 allows state employees to be fired if they provide advance notice of an upcoming inspection of a long-term care facility. The law's goal is to preserve the "surprise" and integrity of the inspections.

Tanning beds: HB 151 requires indoor tanning salons to get written parental permission for any tanner between the ages of 14 and 18. Anyone tanning under the age of 14 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. Tanning salons will also be required to provide certain health and safety information to their customers.

Public safety employment: HB 256 prohibits employers from terminating any volunteer firefighter, EMT, police officer, or other public safety official who misses up to a year of work because of an injury suffered in the line of their public safety duties.

Driver's licenses: HB 129 eliminates the fee for a new driver's license mandated by an address change if the driver did not move. The law targets Kentuckians whose counties expand their 911 capabilities and change road names as a result.

Quick clearance: HB 272 requires drivers in a non-fatal accident with no visible injuries to move their vehicles to the side of the road while waiting for law enforcement to arrive.

Telephone service: HB 337 deregulates all but the most basic telephone service in Kentucky by limiting Public Service Commission oversight over local service. Rates for basic local service will be capped for five years for those companies that choose the oversight exemption.

Food donations: HB 68 allows retail food establishments to donate food without additional inspections as long as it is safe and apparently wholesome. The food would still be subject to the normal inspections required.

Youth smoking: HB 92 forbids family members from providing cigarettes or other tobacco products to minors if they are in state custody, carving out an exception to current state law, which allows family members to provide tobacco products to minors.