Numerous new laws go into effect Saturday

While Kentuckians have already seen changes in sales and excise taxes that began on July 1, most new laws approved during this year’s legislative session will go into effect on Saturday.

That includes a revamp of the state’s adoption and foster care laws to ensure that a child’s time in foster care is limited and that children are returned to family whenever possible. It will expand the definition of blood relative for child placement and ensure that children in foster care are reunified with family or placed in another permanent home in a timely manner.

A permanent legislative committee was also established, to make future changes in the adoption and foster care system as needed.

Another law will require the inclusion of abstinence education in any human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases curriculum in Kentucky high schools.

Others will:

  • Require drivers to keep their vehicles at least three feet from bicyclists while passing them.  If that much space isn’t available, drivers must use reasonable caution when passing cyclists.
  • Increase the amount of alcoholic beverages breweries can sell onsite to three cases and two kegs per customer. The new law will also allow breweries to sell one case per customer at fairs and festivals in wet jurisdictions.
  • Require the state Department of Education to make a “dyslexia toolkit” available to school districts to help them identify and instruct students who display characteristics of dyslexia.
  • Require Kentucky high school students to pass a financial literacy course before graduating.
  • Require coroners or medical examiners to release identifying and other relevant information about a deceased person to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates if the person’s wish to be an organ donor is known and the body is suitable for medical transplant or therapy.
  • Exempt some police body camera footage from being publicly released. That includes video showing the interior of private homes, medical facilities, women’s shelters and jails or shows a dead body, evidence of sexual assault, nude bodies and children.
  • Require pharmacists to provide information about safely disposing of certain prescription medicines, such as opiates and amphetamines.
  • Prevent price gouging during emergencies. It specifies that fines could be imposed if retailers abruptly increase the price of goods more than 10 percent when the governor declares a state of emergency.  It also reduces the time of such states of emergencies from current law but can be extended by a new declaration.
  • Increase penalties for posting sexually explicit images online without the consent of the person depicted, so-called “revenge porn.” The crime would be a misdemeanor for the first offense and felony for subsequent offenses. Penalties would be even more severe if the images were posted for profit.
  • Prohibit anyone under age 17 from marrying. It will also require a district judge to approve the marriage of any 17-year-old.
  • Allow people injured by an act of terrorism to file claims for damages against the terrorist in state court.

The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have a special effective date, are general appropriations measures, or include an emergency clause that makes them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2018 Regular Session was on April 14, making July 14 the effective date for most bills.

By Kentucky Today