A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lawmakers already preparing legislation for 2019 General Assembly; take a look at what’s in the hopper

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The 2019 General Assembly doesn’t convene until January, but lawmakers have already prepared more than 30 pieces of legislation for consideration.

The topics range from gun safety to sports wagering and from utility rates to tax exemptions.

Here is a look at some of them:

– Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, has proposed a bill dealing with unlawful storage of a firearm. The misdemeanor crime would cover instances where a minor is able to access a gun which is not secured in a locked container or safe, by a trigger guard or carried on the body by its adult owner.

A conviction would carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, unless the minor uses the weapon to cause injury or death, which would be punishable by up to a year in jail.

– Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, has filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in Kentucky. His bill would have the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission institute the system, which would generate revenue from a three percent tax on the handle at each location.

The Commission would also have the power to award licenses for the betting facilities. Sixty percent of the proceeds would go to public pension funding, 30 percent to the KEES Scholarship Program and the rest to the Kentucky thoroughbred Development Fund.

– Two Eastern Kentucky lawmakers – Reps. Chris Harris, D-Forest Hills and Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg – have a bill which would allow the state Public Service Commission to only allow rate hikes that allow utilities to recover no more than fixed direct capital costs including depreciation, fair rate of return, and income taxes; and operations and maintenance expenses that are directly related to metering, billing, service connections, and the provision of customer service.

Several tax measures have also been proposed.

– Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, seeks to exempt feminine hygiene products and diapers for children and adults from sales or use tax; Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect (along with 27 co-sponsors), wants to remove sales tax from admission fees for non-profits.

– Scott also has legislation that would establish an Officer Shooting Review Board, that would investigate any shooting or any other deadly incident that involves a police officer.

– Rep. D. J. Johnson, R-Owensboro, has a proposal to exempt any veterans service organization who does not have to pay income tax, from paying city and county property tax.

– One of the more unique proposals comes from Rep. Robert Goforth, R-East Bernstadt.

It would require the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to establish a registry within the drivers’ license section, containing emergency contact or next-of-kin information for someone who becomes incapacitated or dies. Anyone with a drivers’ license or state-issued ID card could supply that information. The information would only be accessible to the Transportation Cabinet or law enforcement and exempt from Open Records Law.

– Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, has two animal protection bills pending. One would provide civil immunity to anyone who breaks into a vehicle where a dog or cat is in imminent danger. Another would establish a registry for those convicted of animal abuse and would make a second or subsequent conviction of animal cruelty a felony.

– A proposal from Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, would mandate all schools to post the national motto “In God We Trust” in a prominent place. He is also sponsoring legislation to establish a youth crossbow deer hunting season.

The 30-day 2019 legislative session runs from Jan. 8 to March 29.

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