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Variety of bills receive final passage before veto recess begins

By Jordan Hensley, LRC

Frankfort, KY -- Lawmakers raced to approve bills in the figurative and literal 11th hour Tuesday evening.

Today marked the beginning of the veto recess, which means yesterday was the last day lawmakers could pass bills and still have the opportunity to override any gubernatorial vetoes before the final day of the legislative session.

The governor has 10 days to sign a bill, let it become law without his signature or veto it.

Here are some of the bills that received final passage before both chambers adjourned shortly before midnight last night:

House Bill 44: After receiving unanimous approval on the Senate floor yesterday, House Bill 44 received final passage. It would allocate funding for full-time and volunteer firefighters experiencing PTSD or a post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) to receive proper care from a licensed mental health professional. The House unanimously approved the bill last month.

House Bill 95: After disagreeing on changes the Senate made to the bill, the House respectfully asked the Senate last week to recede on those changes to HB 95, which aims to cap insulin copays for Kentuckians with state-regulated insurance plans. The Senate, which wanted to limit copays on insulin to $35 for a 30 day supply, agreed to recede from its changes last night. Now HB 95 will limit a 30-day supply of insulin to $30 for Kentuckians with state-regulated health plans.

House Bill 126: The threshold of felony theft would rise to $1,000 under this bill. Supporters of the bill say the increase is needed due to inflation. Critics of the bill expressed worry about small businesses that lose profit due to shoplifting. Under current law, stealing anything worth $500 or more is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

HB 126 would also allow police to charge members of organized shoplifting rings with a felony if a member stole a total of $1,000 worth of merchandise over 90 days. This bill is estimated to save the state $4 million a year in prison costs.

House Bill 155: This bill would give new parents a safe place to surrender a newborn infant with the installation of "newborn safety devices" at participating police stations, fire stations and hospitals. This bill passed the Senate and the House unanimously.

House Bill 212: This bill aims to study the child and maternal fatality rate in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 258: This bill would create a new hybrid tier for the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System. HB 258 would save the state $3.57 billion over the next 30 years. HB 258 would create a safety net, or stabilization fund, in the event the funds drop too low, therefore preventing the pension from being underfunded.

House Bill 273: Otherwise known as the Bailey Hope-Preston Cope Victims Privacy Act, this bill would exclude from the Open Records Act photographs or videos that depict a person's death, killing, rape, or sexual assault or abuse except to any victim involved in the incident, any state agency or political subdivision investigating official misconduct, a legal representative of any involved party, and others listed in the bill.

House Bill 320: This bill aims to allocate $250 million to expand broadband in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 472: Criminal statute of limitations would go from 5 to 10 years for misdemeanor sex offenses against minors under this bill. This bill would also hold adults who have knowledge of the abuse but do nothing to stop it accountable.

Senate Bill 8: Any child, emancipated minor, or adult would not be subject to mandatory vaccination if he or she or the parent or guardian submits a written sworn statement objecting to the immunization based on conscientiously held beliefs, religious beliefs or medical reasons with this bill. Supporters of the bill say it gives Kentuckians the right to make the best decision about their health.

Critics say the bill is not needed because the state has no plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory and as long as the vaccines are authorized for emergency use that makes them ineligible to be deemed mandatory. The bill received final passage yesterday after the Senate concurred on a slight change made to the bill by the House.

Senate Bill 169: First responders injured in the line of duty will soon have access to more disability benefits. With this bill, line of duty or duty-related disability benefits payable to a member of any of the systems administered by the Kentucky Retirement Systems will increase from 25% to 75% of the member's monthly average pay.

The Kentucky General Assembly will reconvene on March 29, with both chambers gaveling in at noon. The final day of the legislative session is March 30.

This story was posted on 2021-03-18 03:57:35
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