June 15, 2015
No more new landlines for phone service in rural areas
FRANKFORT – Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 regular session go into effect next week.
The state constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature. The General Assembly’s 2015 session adjourned on March 25, making June 24 the day for new laws to take effect.
There are some exceptions. Bills that contained an emergency clause, such as this year’s measure to fight heroin abuse, went into effect immediately upon being signed by the governor. Some other bills specified their own effective dates, such as a measure that goes into effect early next year to offer some civil protections to victims of dating violence.
But most new laws – 98 of the 117 passed this year – will go into effect on June 24. Laws that take effect then include measures on:
Beer distribution. House Bill 168 states that beer brewing companies can’t own beer distributorships. The measure is meant to affirm that beer is not exempt from the state’s three-tier system of regulating – and keeping separate – alcoholic beverage producers, distributors and retailers.
Charitable gaming. Senate Bill 33 will allow electronic versions of pull-tab Bingo tickets at charitable Bingo halls.
Child abuse. SB 102 will allow a death caused by intentional abuse to be considered first-degree manslaughter.
Child booster seats. HB 315 will require booster seats to be used in motor vehicles by children who are less than eight years old and are between 40 and 57 inches in height.
Crowdfunding. HB 76 will help Kentucky entrepreneurs to gain investors through crowdfunding. The bill will allow people to invest up to $10,000 through a crowdfunding platform while helping businesses raise up to $2 million.
Drug abuse. HB 24 will prevent youth from misusing certain cough medicines to get high — sometimes called “robotripping” – by restricting access to medicines that contain dextromethorphan. The bill will prevent sales of dextromethorphan-based products, such as Robitussin-DM or Nyquil, to minors.
Drunk driving. SB 133 will expand the use of ignition interlocks for people caught driving under the influence of alcohol. An ignition interlock is a device about the size of a mobile phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. A person convicted of driving under the influence must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start.
Early childhood development. HB 234 will require early child care and education programs to follow a state quality-based rating system.
Emergency responders. SB 161 will authorize the governor to order that U.S. flags be lowered to half-staff on state buildings if a Kentucky emergency responder dies in the line of duty.
End-of-life care. SB 77 will allow Kentuckians to use a health care directive known as a “medical order for scope of treatment.” These orders spell out patients’ wishes for end-of-life care. Unlike advance directives, the orders are considered to be physician’s orders and are signed by both the patient or patient’s legal surrogate, and the patient’s physician.
Hunters. SB 55 will ensure that game meat can be donated to not-for-profit organizations to feed hungry people as long as the meat was properly field dressed and processed and is considered disease-free and unspoiled.
Kentucky Employees Retirement System. HB 62 will make sure the agencies that want to leave the Kentucky Employees Retirement System pay their part of the system’s unfunded liability.
Newborn health screening. SB 75 will require newborn health screenings to include checks for Krabbe Disease, an inherited disorder that affects the nervous system.
Retirement systems. HB 47 will add the Legislators’ Retirement Plan, the Judicial Retirement Plan, and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System to the Public Pension Oversight Board’s review responsibilities.
Spina bifida. SB 159 will require health care providers to give information about spina bifida and treatment options to parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with the disorder.
Stroke care. SB 10 will improve care for stroke victims by requiring the state to make sure local emergency services have access to a list of all acute stroke-ready hospitals, comprehensive stroke centers, and primary stroke centers in Kentucky. Emergency medical services directors would be required to create protocols for assessment and treatment of stroke victims.
Tax check-offs. SB 82 will place check-off boxes on tax forms to give people getting state income tax refund the option of donating a portion of their refund to support child cancer research, the Special Olympics or rape crisis centers.
Telephone deregulation. HB 152 is aimed at modernizing telecommunications and allowing more investment in modern technologies by ending phone companies’ obligations to provide landline phone services to customers in urban and suburban areas if they provide service through another technology, such as a wireless or Internet-based phone service. While rural customers can keep landline phones they already have, newly constructed homes in rural areas won’t be guaranteed landline services.