FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT/WBKO) – The Kentucky General Assembly passed 234 bills during this year’s legislative session, and most will go into effect Thursday.
This means fentanyl pushers and porch hackers will face stiffer penalties, public assistance rules are changing, and local school boards will have to hold a public comment period.
The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, unless they have special effective dates, are general appropriation measures or that they include emergency clauses which make them effective immediately after their entry into force. The final adjournment of the 2022 session took place on April 14, making July 14 the effective date for most bills.
Some of the laws coming into force include measures on the following topics:
- Anti-gag bill: House Bill 222 seeks to protect free speech. It will offer those who speak out on a matter of public interest protection from strategic public participation lawsuits, known as SLAPP lawsuits.
- Charter Schools: House Bill 9 establishes a funding model for charter schools, building on the 2017 legislation that first authorized charters in Kentucky. It also allows two charter school pilots in Louisville and northern Kentucky and changes the appeals process if education officials deny a new charter school application.
- Child Abuse: House Bill 263, known as Kami’s Law, makes criminal abuse against a victim under the age of 12 a Class B felony.
- Child deaths: Under Senate Bill 97, law enforcement is required to request a blood, breath, or urine test from parents and caregivers suspected of being under the influence at the time of the suspicious death of a child. If consent is not given, this bill gives law enforcement the power to seek a search warrant.
- Emergency Crimes: Senate Bill 179 increases penalties for crimes committed during a declaration of natural or man-made disaster. Crimes include assault, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, theft, receiving possession, and robbery.
- Criminal Justice Reform: Senate Bill 90 calls for pilot programs in at least 10 Kentucky counties, providing for deferred prosecution, diversion, or dismissal of charges for certain low-level offenders based on their participation in addiction treatment and vocational training services.
- Death Penalty: House Bill 269 adds serious mental illness to the list of disabilities that bar offenders from execution – if symptoms were occurring at the time of the offence.
- Due Process: House Bill 290 calls on state colleges and universities to adopt a student code of conduct for non-academic disciplinary proceedings and to provide students with due process protections similar to those in criminal and criminal courts. civilians.
- Education: Senate Bill 1 designates local superintendents as primary responsible for selecting the appropriate curriculum and instructional materials for local schools. It also includes language from the American Teaching Principles Act, which will require social studies courses to align with a list of core concepts and materials that proponents say are central to social studies. American Civics.
- Fentanyl: Known as Dalton’s Law, House Bill 215 requires those convicted of trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil or fentanyl derivatives to serve at least 85% of their criminal sentences, up from 50% currently. It also makes importing these drugs from another state or country a Class C felony and deems offenders ineligible for pre-trial diversion.
- First Responders: Senate Bill 64 aims to protect the confidentiality of first responders who participate in peer support programs. Proponents say it will benefit thousands of public safety workers who frequently experience trauma on the job, but who could face the repercussions of candid discussions during consultations.
- Imagination Library: Senate Bill 164 establishes the Kentucky Imagination Library program. Founded by country music legend Dolly Parton, this international literacy program provides free books each month to children from birth to 5 years old. The state will provide 50% of the funds.
- Incest: Senate Bill 38 classifies incest as a violent offence. It also guarantees that those guilty of incest serve at least 80% of their prison sentence.
- Pari-mutuel: House Bill 607 taxes every pari-mutuel wager at a standard rate of 1.5%, including advance deposit wagers and simulcast wagers. It also directs more money to the general fund, makes the Kentucky Racing Commission responsible for self-funding, creates a self-exclusion list for compulsive gamblers, and eliminates the track admission tax.
- Peace Officer Certifications: House Bill 206 prohibits anyone convicted of a sexual offense from serving as a peace officer.
- Porch Hackers: Senate Bill 23 cracks down on people who steal packages from porches, often referred to as porch hackers. The bill makes it a Class D felony to steal or destroy packages from common carriers and delivery services such as Amazon or FedEx.
- Public assistance: House Bill 7 revamps public assistance benefits and seeks to combat fraud with new rules regarding eligibility for benefits. It also aims to increase state cabinet accountability for health and family services and to encourage healthy choices for those receiving nutritional assistance.
- Religious services: House Bill 43 calls for equal treatment of places of worship and religious organizations during the state of emergency.
- School Board Meetings: House Bill 121 requires a public comment period of at least 15 minutes at local school board meetings, unless no one is registered to speak. It also requires that all board rules and policies regarding conduct apply during the comment period.
- School breakfasts: Senate Bill 151 requires schools in the federal school breakfast program to offer students up to 15 minutes to eat breakfast during school hours.
- School resource officers: House Bill 63 directs local school districts to place a school resource officer in every school by Aug. 1 if they can afford the cost. It also allows local school boards to establish a police department for the district.
- Serving Alcohol: House Bill 252 paves the way for 18-year-olds to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.
- Student Mental Health: House Bill 44 allows school boards to include provisions in their student attendance policy for excused absences due to a student’s mental or behavioral health condition.
- Runover: House Bill 48 makes falsely reporting an incident that results in an emergency response – commonly known as a “runover” – a Class D felony.
- Telecommunications Carriers: House Bill 79 expands law enforcement professional development wellness program to assist telecommunications carriers who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or stress induced by work. It will also increase training and resources for communicators related to stress disorders.
- Transgender athletes: Senate Bill 83 will prevent male-to-female transgender students from participating in girls’ sports, starting in sixth grade and continuing through college.
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