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Enhanced driver's license bill also becomes law

With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Matt Bevin resolved a potentially troublesome issue for air travelers in Kentucky.

Bevin signed legislation into law that creates an enhanced driver’s license can be used as a source of identification to board commercial airline flights. Notification of the governor’s action was posted on the secretary of state’s website on Wednesday.

The new law allows Kentuckians to choose drivers’ licenses that meet the requirements of the federal Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 to prevent terrorists from creating fakes to use as IDs.

Kentucky had been granted more time to address the issue, but were facing a June deadline.

If the new law had not been enacted, Kentuckians would have needed to present passports or other documentation approved by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security to board commercial airline flights or to enter federal facilities such as military bases.

Bevin vetoed a similar measure passed by lawmakers last year, saying “good governance demands the courtesy of time.”

Under the new law, an option is available for people to keep their standard drivers’ licenses that costs $43 or opt for the one that complies with federal requirements for $48 and that will be valid for eight years.

Anyone can opt to keep a standard driver’s license, said Republican state Rep. Jim DuPlessis of Elizabethtown, who sponsored the legislation. “But,” he said, “that person will have to take their standard driver’s license along with some supplemental ID that the federal government has approved.”


Schools encouraged to extend summer break under new law

A new Kentucky law will encourage school districts to delay the end of summer break to late August.

Bevin signed Senate Bill 50 into law, allowing allows local districts to lower the number of instructional days from 170 as long as the school year still consists of 1,062 instructional hours. It also provides that districts taking advantage of the provision cannot begin classes prior to the Monday closest to August 26.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, who sponsored the bill, said it will benefit Kentucky’s tourism industry.

According to the Legislative Research Commission website, the governor signed the bill on Tuesday.


Major highway safety legislation signed into law

A highway safety issue sponsored by Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, to standardize the color of vehicle headlights and rear lights was signed into law Wednesday.

Ridley was able to get his idea to restrict modifications of vehicles with certain replacement headlights and other rear lights through the legislative process with compromise.

The new law, which will take effect on July 1, has been referred to as the biggest highway safety measure since the passage of the seatbelt law in Kentucky.

The issue was brought to Ridley’s attention by citizens and law enforcement officers from across the state.

“Several people complained to me about the super bright headlights and different colors on some vehicles and they were distracting. It was becoming a real safety issue. This distraction was presenting a real danger for drivers,” said Ridley, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Ridley worked with local law enforcement officers, the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and other agencies across the state to get this issued resolved.

The new law will prohibit vehicles from:

· Emitting anything other than white light,

· Require all headlamps to meet US Department of Transportation regulations,

· Prohibit headlamps that appear to emit a solid color other than white,

· Prohibit headlamp covers or film that changes the color of the light emitted,

· Outline provisions for front and rear lighting of a vehicle, and
· Exempt original equipment lighting installed by the manufacturer.

Ridley said that this new law will not have any effect on the original equipment installed on cars and trucks by the manufacturer, but will only affect changing of the color of lights added after the vehicle is rolled off the assembly line.

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The LRC Public Information Office also contributed to this story





FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 22, 2017) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has delegated the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Oil & Gas to administer the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II injection well program under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for UIC Class II wells located within the state.

The EPA Region 4 approved the Cabinet’s longstanding application, effective March 21, 2017. Delegation of the UIC-Class II program from the EPA allows the Division of Oil & Gas more comprehensive regulatory enforcement of the oil and natural gas industry.

The Class II program regulates the injection of produced fluids associated with oil and gas operations into wells for enhanced oil recovery and permanent brine disposal. The Division will receive a $143,000 annual EPA grant to help defray the cost of administering the program.

“This action by the EPA will allow us to give Class II wells increased oversight, which will add another layer of protection to drinking water sources,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely. “In addition, the public and industry will benefit from a centralized permitting process and regulatory oversight.”

Under EPA Region 4’s prior oversight, there were two contract EPA inspectors responsible for overseeing Kentucky’s 900 active UIC Class II enhanced recovery wells and 82 Class II disposal wells. The Kentucky Division of Oil & Gas has 14 inspectors for the same coverage and intends to add additional employees through the EPA grant.


Members of the SOAR Executive Board met March 1 in Manchester. From left are Jared Arnett, Executive Director of SOAR; U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05); and Scott Brinkman, Executive Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth.Members of the SOAR Executive Board met March 1 in Manchester. From left are Jared Arnett, Executive Director of SOAR; U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05); and Scott Brinkman, Executive Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth.

Members of the SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) Executive Board recently heard progress reports from representatives of SOAR’s working groups on key projects identified in a regional blueprint for economic growth.

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05), co-chairman of SOAR, was joined by Executive Cabinet Secretary Scott Brinkman, filling in for Gov. Matt Bevin, at a SOAR Executive Board meeting on March 1 at Eastern Kentucky University’s regional Manchester campus in Clay County. Rogers and Bevin co-chair the SOAR Executive Board. Brinkman represented the Governor’s Office in Bevin’s absence.

The Executive Board meeting included updates on broadband infrastructure expansion, 21st Century skills, small business growth, healthy communities, industrial development, regional food systems, and tourism.

Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development and chairman of the SOAR Broadband Working Group, presented a report on progress of the KentuckyWired project.

The KentuckyWired project, which starts first in Eastern Kentucky, was contracted by the commonwealth of Kentucky to bring more than 3,000 miles of high-speed, fiber infrastructure, often referred to as the “middle mile,” to 120 Kentucky counties over the next two years.

“We cannot wait until the ‘middle mile’ gets built to start local, last-mile planning. We have to start now,” Lawson, who also serves as chairman of the Last-Mile Broadband Action Team, told the Executive Board. “The Action Team has been working with SOAR communities to help identify best practices for providing access to affordable broadband in our region.”

The Last Mile Broadband Action Team is also coordinating with existing and emerging broadband providers in the region to increase broadband access and adoption in the region; tracking the infrastructure progress; coming up with strategies for accessing affordable broadband, and ultimately developing a phased roadmap for community-based last-mile planning.

“Our goal is to give Southern and Eastern Kentucky equal access to the online community and global marketplace,” said Larry Combs, broadband implementation manager for The Center and member of the Last-Mile Broadband Action Team. “We simply cannot expect to compete if we cannot access the same affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband services that so many of our country’s urban centers now experience.”

SOAR has identified the increased availability of affordable, high-speed broadband to businesses and residents in Eastern Kentucky as one of its primary goals outlined in its regional blueprint for economic growth.

To learn more about KentuckyWired, visit or call The Center for Rural Development at 606-677-6000. For news and information about SOAR, go to or contact the SOAR office at 606-766-1160.

Sharon Dodson
Communications Specialist