FRANKFORT — While most of the public’s attention was focused on the passage of a new budget for the Commonwealth, and the redistricting fiasco that ended up in the hands of the Kentucky Supreme Court, we in the General Assembly were busy approving more than 160 bills into law.
The newest laws, which officially go into effect on July 12th, cover a wide range of issues including greater oversight on the sale of copper to combat the theft of valuable metals, allowing Kentuckians to carry concealed weapons on their property or in their business without a permit, and eliminating an outdated pension program for Confederate veterans.
Among the new laws are:
— Senate Bill 3-this law seeks to stop the manufacture of methamphetamine by reducing the amount of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which are key ingredient in meth, which can be purchased up to 7.2 grams per month. It also establishes a mandatory electronic monitoring system to track the sale of cold and allergy medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
— House Bill 390-this bill combats the growing theft of metals like copper by eliminating cash payments for the sale of valuable metals to recycling centers. Instead it will require someone selling copper or other metals to show proof of ownership, with payment to be made by check mailed to the individual’s home or business address.
— Senate Bill 89-expands the Commonwealth’s seat belt law to include 15-person passenger vans, which is in direct response to a fatal accident in Hart County in 2010 that killed 11 people.
— House Bill 484-expands Kentucky’s concealed carry law to allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a permit on their land or in their business.
— Senate Bill 58-gives law enforcement officers the ability to make misdemeanor assault arrests with probable cause if the incident happens in a hospital’s emergency room. Previously ER’s were not exempt from probable cause regarding misdemeanor assault.
— House Bill 85-eliminates the outdated requirement that gave pensions to Confederate soldiers. While the pension had not been funded for more than 60 years, the law requiring the system had never been removed from the books.
Another new change is actually not from a bill passed in the last session, but technology catching up to previous legislation. In 2004 the General Assembly passed a law that required proof of insurance for all motorists by directing local county clerks to monitor automobiles registered in their county that have let their insurance lapse. In recent years an electronic monitoring system was developed and tested in eight counties across the Commonwealth. One county clerk said that when the pilot program was launched in their county , which notified drivers by letter their auto insurance had lapsed and had 30 days to show proof or have their registration revoked, the uninsured rate was less than one-half percent among the 80,000 vehicles registered in their county.
The program was expanded to all 120 counties in June, and it is hoped that the high success rate of the counties in the pilot program will drastically combat the number of uninsured motorists in the Commonwealth. I welcome your comments and concerns. I can be reached at 749-0909, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at (800) 372-7181, or at donna.mayfield@ lrc.ky.gov.