FRANKFORT — New laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2010 regular session go into effect on Thursday, July 15.
GPS tracking devices for some accused domestic abusers, a ban on texting while driving and expanded sunshine laws for statewide groups that represent local governments are among topics covered by laws set to take effect next week.
The state constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days following the adjournment of the legislature, unless a bill contains another effective date or is declared an emergency. New drug laws and revised options for low-performing schools, for example, have been in force since being signed into law by the governor.
The General Assembly adjourned sine die on April 15, making the new laws effective “the first moment of July 15, 2010.”
Of the 163 bills and eight joint resolutions set to become law, all or part of 23 had special effective dates, including emergency legislation.
Among the new laws that will take effect on July 15 are the following: Accountability. Senate Bill 88 allows greater public scrutiny of the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties by making both groups adhere to the state’s open records and open meetings laws. The bill also requires the groups to place spending reports online and develop policies on ethics, procurement, hiring and compensation.
Agriculture. House Bill 398 prohibits local governments, with some exceptions, from having on-farm animal care standards that exceed state standards. In addition to requiring the creation of a livestock care standards commission, the legislation calls for the creation of an equine council to advise the state on equine health matters and strive to establish regional care centers for unwanted, neglected and abused horses.
Bee habitats. Senate Joint Resolution 177 requires the state apiarist to work with the Transportation Cabinet and local beekeeping clubs to identify state-owned rights-of-way that could be made into pollinator habitat sites for bees. Another piece of legislation, HB 175, encourages the development of bee habitats on mine reclamation sites to speed up plant growth and improve soil stability.
Child abuse. HB 285 boosts training for health care officials, day care workers and others who work with children improve their abilities to spot signs of child abuse.
Cancer. SB 18 prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage for routine care while a person takes part in a clinical cancer trial.
Concealed carry. HB 19 allows military personnel to renew their concealed deadly weapon early and by mail, and allowing a grace period after they return from deployment to renew their license.
Corrections. SB 17 makes it a felony for workers at prisons, jails or detention centers to have sex with inmates.
Discharge papers. HB 106 forbids the now-legal practice of allowing people to inspect their military discharge papers on file with the county clerk, and instead allows them to receive a copy of the papers to prevent viewing of others’ papers.
Domestic violence. HB 1 allows judges to order those who violate a domestic violence order (DVO) to wear a global positioning system tracking device to help ensure that abusers remain the required distance from victims. The bill allows felony charges to be pressed against DVO violators who attempt to remove a court-ordered tracking device. The legislation is known as Amanda’s Bill in honor of state worker Amanda Ross, who was shot to death outside her Lexington home last fall.
Education. HB 160 makes it easier for community and technical college students to transfer credits to four-year universities.
Historic site. HB 420 designates the Hurricane Creek mine site in Leslie County, at which 38 miners lost their lives in 1970, as a state historic site.
Inmates. SB 32 requires all inmates in local or regional jails to exhaust in-house administrative remedies before filing civil suits against those jails. The new law mirrors that currently in effect for state prisons. Another bill, SB 47, allows county jails to charge medical co-pays to inmates who receive treatment.
Literacy. SB 163 directs the Department of Education to provide assistance in teaching strategies that help teachers improve their students’ reading skills. The bill also encourages development of comprehensive middle and high school reading plans.
Mental health. HB 231 creates a new level of specialty treatment centers for children with severe psychiatric disorders who must currently go to other states to receive the level of care they require.
Military families. SB 30 extends the eligibility of military personnel and their families eligible for military family assistance trust grants from 90 to 180 days after the end of deployment.
Music. House Joint Resolution 154 designates Kentucky’s Sam Bush as “The Father of Newgrass Music” and Bowling Green as “The Birthplace of Newgrass Music.”
Nurses. SB 127 allows every public university in the state to offer advanced doctoral programs in nursing upon approval of the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Organ Donation. SB 4 clarifies the procedures for organ donation, including who can act when no intentions are stated, and conforms state laws to match most other state’s rules for anatomical gifts. The law also allows potential donors to explicitly forbid their organs from being donated.
Parks. HB 14 offers up to three free overnight stays at state park accommodations to totally disabled military veterans, subject to space availability and other criteria. The Kentucky Department of Parks has already announced this offer will be available beginning on July 14.
Pharmacies. HB 300 allows pharmacists authority to grant emergency 30-day supplies of medication and temporarily operate a pharmacy outside their permitted location when the governor declares a state of emergency.
Philanthropy. SB 227 creates the Endow Kentucky Program, aimed at helping community foundations that can receive charitable contributions.
Reading. SB 163 directs the state Department of Education and the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development to work on strategies to help adolescents develop their reading skills.
Road safety. HB 415 prohibits texting while driving. Violators will be given courtesy warnings until Jan. 1, 2011, after which violators will face fines and court costs. The legislation also prohibits cell phone use by drivers under 18.
Stroke centers. SB 1 is aimed at saving lives and improving health care by attracting stroke patients to the state’s best stroke care centers. The legislation allows the state to bestow a special designation on nationally certified primary stroke centers in Kentucky.
Suicide prevention. SB 65 requires annual suicide prevention instruction for school principals, guidance counselors and teachers. HB 51 requires suicide prevention materials to be distributed to middle and high school students and requires the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to post suicide prevention information on its website.
Teachers. HB 447 allows private schools to require criminal background checks for their teachers every five years.
Veterans preference. HB 75 requires all state job applicants who receive military and military family preference points to receive an interview, unless there are five or more qualifiers, in which case at least five must receive an interview.
Veterans’ services. HB 377 ensures that combat veterans charged with crimes are provided with contact information for services that offer help for post-traumatic stress and other combat-related disorders.