A state law that took effect in January prompted Jessamine County Fiscal court on Tuesday to remove a provision in its employee handbook that prohibits employees from carrying firearms.
House Bill 500, approved by the House and Senate in March of last year and signed into law by Gov. Beshear April 11, added to a state law that bans local governments from regulating guns, adding to the types of government agencies included.
The law prohibits local governments from regulating “the manufacture, sale, purchase, taxation, transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, storage, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms, components of ammunition, firearms accessories, or combination thereof.”
“This legislation makes it mandatory that fiscal courts can’t have a law regulating the open carrying of firearms,”¿county attorney Brian Goettl told the court.
The court still can ban concealed guns, he said, but not the open carrying of them.
County judge-executive Neal Cassity said the provision in the handbook was the sole change the court had to make as a result of the new law, as the court did not have a policy or signage preventing the public from the open carrying of firearms in the courthouse.
He said there haven’t been any problems at the courthouse with firearms.
The types of governments added to the law include charter county and consolidated local governments, special districts, local or regional public or quasi-public agencies, boards, commissions, departments and public corporations. This includes health departments and public libraries.
The legislation was sponsored by state Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville. The law gives governments six months from the date of its effect to repeal any ordinances or policies that apply.
First reading of a county storm water ordinance was postponed by the fiscal court Tuesday to give magistrates time to read it over. The ordinance, prepared by Chris Horne of Horne Engineering, was on the agenda for a first reading Tuesday because it must be submitted to the state as part of a mandatory annual plan, said Kelley Woolums, administrative assistant to County Judge-Executive Neal Cassity.
The annual plan is due April 15, Woolums told the court.
“Unless it’s got to be done today, I’d like to read it before I vote on it,” said magistrate Bobby Day Wilson. “I’m probably not going to have a problem with it, but it seems like something that needs some thought, rather than just a rubber stamp put on it.”
Magistrate Burch Hager said he also would like time to read it over before voting in first reading.
The reading was tabled for the court’s next meeting, scheduled for April 2 at 4 p.m. in the fiscal court room of the Jessamine County Courthouse.
In other business, the court:
• approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding promising the fiscal court will partner with other local governments for changes to a portion of US 27. Randy Turner with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet presented to the court results of a study regarding access on the highway, which was performed after Cassity and Nicholasville Mayor Russ Meyer approached the cabinet in 2010, Turner said. The study, which focused on the area between Man-O-War Boulevard in Lexington and the future Eastern Nicholasville Bypass just past Baker’s Lane, proposes that, among other changes, the area be converted to a parial-control access area, meaning those requesting to add access points would have to receive approval from all parties involved, mainly local governments, Turner said.
• Signed a resolution honoring Reese Kemp, a 16-year-old West High School student who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was 2. Kemp has started several non-profit programs to raise awareness about the disease, and raised money this past holiday season to feed and provide Christmas for 18 families, according to the proclamation.
• made several board reappointments, including reappointing members of the thistle and ethics boards, and the board of adjustments.
• approved a proclamation declaring April 2013 Redbud Month. According to a document submitted to the court by TOUR Southern and Eastern Kentucky, redbuds bloom in the area annually beginning in April, and the proclamation could raise awareness of the blooms and be a tourist draw.