Whitesburg KY

Turner on new laws

Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session will go into effect on Thursday, June 27. This means employers will now be required to make certain accommodations for pregnant employees, and electric scooters will be regulated by state law.

The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have special effective dates, are general appropriation measures, or include emergency clauses that make them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2019 session was on March 28, making June 27 the effective date for most bills.

During this year’s 30- day session, 786 bills and 502 resolutions were introduced, including 263 Senate bills and 523 House bills. In all, 68 Senate bills and 130 House bills became law. The governor also received six joint and concurrent resolutions. I did not support all of these bills but some of the laws taking effect on June 27, include measures on the following topics:

Caller ID. House Bill 84 will prohibit telephone solicitations that misrepresent the name or telephone number in caller identification services, increase fines for second offenses and allow for civil lawsuits against violators.

Felony expungement. Senate Bill 57 will expand the number of Kentuckians eligible to have low-level felonies expunged from their criminal records. It will do this by expanding discretionary expungement to all Class D felonies with some exceptions for crimes such as stealing in office, abusing children and sexual abuse. It includes a five-year waiting period to apply for expungement, a $250 application fee and provisions for prosecutors to object and judges to reject the applications.

Government contracts. House Bill 135 will prohibit public agencies from requiring that their contractors on public works projects have agreements with labor organizations.

Kinship care. House Bill 2, dubbed the kinship care bill, will create a caregiver assistance program for relatives and “fictive kin” — usually close family friends — of abused, neglected or dependent children. The measure will do this by offering different options to the caregivers based on the level of care they provide. HB 2 is designed to address growth in the out-of-home placement of Kentucky children amid the state’s current opioid crisis.

Lobbying. Senate Bill 6 will require disclosure of executive agency lobbyist compensation. The measure will also prohibit compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract. It will provide oversight, in part, by requiring executive branch lobbyists to register and list their clients. That’s already required of legislative lobbyists.

Midwives. Senate Bill 84 will recognize, certify and regulate home-birth midwives in Kentucky. The measure would create a council to advise the state Board of Nursing on the creation of regulations regarding qualifications, standards for training, competency, any necessary statutory changes and all other matters relating to certified professional midwives.

Pregnancy. Senate Bill 18, the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act, clarifies employers’ responsibilities when it comes to making reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. It will make it unlawful for an employer to fail to accommodate a pregnant employee and will require employers to provide notice to employees regarding these rights.

Scooters. House Bill 258 will set operating standards for electric scooters and will allow the machines to legally operate much like bicycles on public streets. It also limits e-scooter speeds to no more than 20 miles per hour.

For a full comprehensive list of the bills that will become law on June 27, visit apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/19rs/law_ title.html.

I will keep you informed on any new developments. For comments, questions, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me by email at : JohnnyRay.Turner@LRC.KY.GOV or by phone on the legislative message line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.

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