June 29, 2012 — FRANKFORT - In a couple of weeks — and 147 years after the Civil War ended — Kentucky will remove language from its statutes regarding pensions for Confederate soldiers and their widows.
The repeal of the 1912 Confederate Pension Act is just one of the measures passed in the 2012 General Assembly which will go into effect on July 12. Major legislation on sales of cold remedies used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, copper theft, feral pigs, veterans’ measures and seat belts will also become law.
Under the state constitution, legislation passed by the General Assembly becomes law 90 days after a legislative session ends, unless the bill specifies a different effective date or contains an emergency clause that makes it effective upon signature by the governor. This year’s regular session adjourned on April 12, making the effective date for most laws July 12.
House Bill 85 repealed section 206 of Kentucky Revised Statutes, which provided for a $50 per month pension for Confederate soldiers or their widows. The fund hasn’t paid benefits for some time obviously. The repeal measure was sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger.
It will also cost you if you’re caught releasing a wild hog into the wild after July 12. The state has seen a growing population of feral pigs which threaten farmland, natural habitats and human health, according to experts. The legislation was sponsored by several farm region lawmakers and makes the crime a Class A misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 3, aimed at stopping the home manufacture of methamphetamine, ended up as a compromise measure, weaker than the bill’s original sponsors hoped for. The bill lowers the amount of cold remedies containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in pill or tablet form, which can be purchased without a prescription. (Gel cap forms of the drug aren’t affected because it is much more difficult to use those in manufacturing meth.)
The limit was lowered from 9 grams to 7.2 grams and 24 total grams per year. It also requires mandatory electronic reporting and tracking of sales and bars sales to those convicted of drug crimes without a prescription. The aim is to make it more difficult to manufacture meth in homemade labs, some of which are contained in larger, plastic soda bottles and produce toxic wastes and can explode endangering others.
Sponsors originally wanted to require prescriptions for any sales of the cold and allergy remedies but a fierce lobbying effort by the pharmaceutical industry and many consumers forced supporters to agree to a weaker version.
Another bill requires those purchasing copper at re-cycling centers to require proof of ownership from the seller and prohibit payment by cash. Under HB 390, sellers will receive a mailed check and operators of the re-cycling center will receive reports of recently stolen materials. The law does not affect sales of aluminum cans.
It wouldn’t be a typical session of the Kentucky legislation without some measure passed to protect the rights of gun owners. This year was no different. After July 12, Kentucky gun owners may carry a concealed weapon without a license so long as they are on their own property or their own business.
House Bill 385 provides stiffer penalties for coal miners who fail drug or alcohol testes, making those who fail tests ineligible to hold mining licenses for three years and increasing penalties for repeat offenders.
Other laws, which go into effect on July 12 are:
• A bill to protect homeowners from fraud by fly-by-night roofing contractors. It provides a 5-day grace period to cancel a roofing contract if the homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover the work;
• A law which allows diplomas to students with disabilities who complete modified high school curricula;
• One to allow law enforcement officers to make arrests for misdemeanor assault with probable cause if the incident occurs in a hospital emergency room;
• One establishing a panel to regulate for-profit colleges in Kentucky. The new law replaces the Board for Proprietary Education with the Kentucky Commission on Proprietary Education and limits proprietary schools’ spots on the commission to four seats. It also establishes a compensation fund for students with grievances;
• HB 224, sponsored by Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, makes Kentucky National Guard members eligible for financial assistance to help pay for child adoption;
• HB 221 will allow veterans to have their service designated on driver’s licenses and state identification cards. The designations will make it easier for veterans to show proof of service needed for various discounts and special services available to them;
• SB 89 will expand Kentucky’s seat belt law to include 15-person passenger vans. The bill was filed in response to a 2010 crash on I-65 near Munfordville that killed 11 people, most of whom weren’t wearing seat belts. Current state law only requires seat belt use in vehicles designed to carry ten or fewer passengers;
• HB 221 will allow veterans to have their service designated on driver’s licenses and state identification cards. The designations will make it easier for veterans to show proof of service needed for various discounts and special services available to them.