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New laws go into effect next week

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By Ashley Wilkins

Twenty-two new laws being are being implemented as of this month, including a bill regarding more than $5 billion in road repair projects.

The laws, which go into effect on Tuesday, were approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2014 regular session, which adjourned on April 15.  While some went into effect immediately, like a bill preventing the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, other bills had up to 90 days to take effect.

In April, the senate approved a bill regarding two-year and six-year road plans, resulting in $5.4 billion in road and bridge projects, specifically the Louisville bridges, West Kentucky bridges, and Interstate 65.

However, State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) said Shelby County would be affected, as well.

“The major widening out in Simpsonville, the five lane corridor between [Interstate] 64 and [U.S.] 60 [on Mount Eden Road],” he said, “we have construction dollars in that beginning in the next fiscal year ’16,” which starts next July.

“Hopefully we will see construction begin next year,” Montell said, adding that the budget approved for that particular project was $7.9 million.

There are also funds in place for the bridge replacement on KY 55 over Bull Skin Creek. That project is earmarked for $2.2 million and is approved for the current fiscal year, 2015.

Another $3.25 million has been approved to finish up the right-of-ways and utilities needed to start the widening project on Mount Eden Road, but construction will not be included into the budget until next year.

The construction to form continuous three lanes on U.S. 60 from the Masonic Homes past Shelby County High School is facing a similar situation. With $1.35 million from the current budget to finish the right-of-ways, the funds for that construction will also not be included in the budget until next year.

Montell said the budget allotted $5.5 million for the current fiscal year and $9.5 million for next year. However, those numbers only consider Shelby County roads, not interstate construction.

State Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) explained that the next phase of the widening of I-64 will not continue until “after they finish construction on I-65, down in [Elizabethtown].”

“It will be a couple of years before we work on the final stage of 64.”

Hornback said that in the past The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has not allowed enough in the budget for the requested projects, leaving many roads on a waiting list while the governor picked which projects to fund.

“We think that the legislators are better equipped to pick which projects [should be funded],” Hornback said.

Hornback explained that in the past, the budget has been off by 50 to 80 percent. 

“We requested too many projects that we didn’t have the money for,” he said.

However, this year the budget is only about 20 percent off, which Hornback said would reduce the control the governor has over the road projects.

 

School focused bills

While the roads in Kentucky can be repaired, the emotional scars of abuse victims often never heal. But those victims might rest a bit easier next week.  As of July 15, it will take just one business day for anyone afforded emergency protective or domestic violence orders to receive a provisional concealed carry permit.

Also signed into Kentucky law this past April, a bill that could help with the growing bullying issue in schools.  Students at Madison Middle School in Richmond, KY helped create a bill that designated October as Anti-Bullying month, with a purple and yellow ribbon representing the symbol for the cause; purple representing domestic violence victims and yellow representing those individuals who have taken their lives as a result of bullying.

Shelby County Public Relations Coordinator Ryan Allan said he expects the bill will fit into the district’s current anti-bullying involvement.

“In terms of bullying prevention, several of our schools are already involved,” Allan said, explaining that many schools participate in Rachel’s Challenge, a program that teaches kindness and compassion and was established in memory of Rachel Scott, the first Columbine victim.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed the anti-bullying bill in April with anticipation of raising bullying awareness.

While many parents may feel a bit reassured that the bullying issue is being addressed, those with diabetic children attending a Kentucky school may also find comfort in a new bill allowing trained staff members to administer insulin.

Allan clarified that the bill was an amendment to a previous law requiring that students that needed insulin would have to keep their medicine in the nurse’s office.  However, with this new amendment, students can now keep and administer their own insulin with a signed release from their parent and instructions from their medical provider. The bill requires that a qualified school employee be on duty at each school to assist students with insulin injection or to personally administer insulin, diabetic drugs or seizure medications that are approved by the federal government.

Other bills relating to children’s health are also taking effect, such as a bill requiring that doctors receive additional training in order to help recognize and prevent abusive head trauma in children.

In a separate bill, the Kentucky Department for Public Health will be required to annually report health statistics related to infants born addicted or dependant on drugs.

In addition to several bills concerning the protection of children, a bill regarding the protection of adults will also take effect.  The bill relating to the care of vulnerable adults will establish a registry for adult abusers in order to assist adult care employers in their hiring process.  The bill requires employers in the adult care industry like adult daycares, assisted living communities, and state-owned psychiatric homes to inquire via the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as to whether a potential employee, contractor, or volunteer has been the subject of a validated substantiated finding of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

 

Other new bills of note:

  • All Terrain Vehicles: ATV operators 16-years-of-age or older will now be authorized to cross a public roadway without wearing a helmet considering the speed limit is 55 miles per hour or less and is not traveling further than 2/10 of a mile.
  • Boaters: An amendment to boating law enforcement acts known as the “Boater Freedom Act,” now will require that Kentucky officers have reasonable suspicion that a violation has occurred of before boarding and inspecting a boat while on Kentucky’s waters.
  • Voyeurism: An update was made to the state’s voyeurism laws, making it illegal to photograph or use a camera phone or other recording device to view up a woman’s skirt without her permission or knowledge.
  • Wineries: Small farm wineries will be allowed to sale alcohol on Sundays considering they receive authorization by a fiscal court vote or a local option election.