2010 General Assembly2010 General Assembly

Legislature: Winners and losers

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comApril 18, 2010 

Lawmakers left the Capitol Thursday with hundreds of proposals rusting in the legislative junk yard, including a two-year state spending plan. But dozens of other bills cleared the 60-day legislative gauntlet. New laws that take effect this summer will do everything from encourage beekeeping to make it easier for children with autism to receive treatment. Here's a look at the winners and losers of the 2010 General Assembly.

Winners

Autism Treatment

House Bill 159 requires large-group and state employee insurance plans to cover up to $50,000 for therapeutic treatment for children with autism, ages 1 to 6, and up to $12,000 a year for children 7 to 18.

Bees

Senate Joint Resolution 177 and House Bill 175 encourage more bee habitats. House Bill 175 encourages the development of bee habitats on old mining sites. Bees can help speed plant growth and improve soil conditions.

Coal

The bill designates Hurricane Creek mine site in Leslie County as a state historic site. Thirty-eight miners were killed there in one of the state's worst mining disasters in 1970.

College Students

The measure makes it easier for junior college students to transfer to four-year, public universities.

Domestic Violence Bill

House Bill 1, dubbed "Amanda's Bill" allows judges to order global positioning devices for those who violate a domestic violence order and are deemed a danger. The bill was named after Amanda Ross, a Lexington woman who was shot and killed outside her home. Former state representative Steve Nunn has pleaded not guilty to charges related to her death.

Government Accountability

Senate Bill 88 requires the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties to adhere to the state's open records and open meetings laws. It also requires the two nonprofit associations to post most expenditures online. The legislation was prompted by a Herald-Leader series and two scathing state audits that showed questionable spending and lax oversight in both organizations.

Horses

House Bill 398 establishes an equine council that would advise the state on regulations and the health of horses.

Prisoners

Under Senate Bill 17, employees who work at prisons, jails and detention centers would be charged with a felony for sexual contact with inmates. Kentucky is one of only three states that considers sex with an inmate a misdemeanor.

Retired Teachers

House Bill 540 helps ensure the future of health insurance benefits for the state's retired teachers by increasing payments into the fund by teachers, retired teachers under 65 and school districts.

Texting Bill

House Bill 415 bans texting for all drivers in Kentucky beginning Jan. 1, 2011. The bill also bans all cell phone use by drivers under age 18.

Losers

Abortion Bill

Senate Bill 38 would have required a woman to view an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

Biblical Literacy

Senate Bill 142 would have given public schools guidelines for teaching the Bible as an elective social studies course.

Charter Schools

House Bill 109 which contained several pieces of education legislation, was amended in the Senate to include a provision that would have allowed charter schools in Kentucky. Charter schools are granted special permits, or charters, that allow them to operate outside usual state regulations.

Child Abuse Records

House Bill 192 would have established a review panel to study whether information regarding children who died from abuse and neglect should be released to the public.

DropOut Bill

House Bill 301 would have gradually raised the high school dropout age to 18. The proposal was backed by first lady Jane Beshear.

Drunk Driving Bill

House Bill 48 would have required judges to order a breath analyzing device for those convicted of drunken driving. If there is alcohol on the person's breath, the device would have kept the car from moving.

Felon Voting Rights

House Bill 134 would have required a public vote on a constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of some convicted felons after the completion of their sentence or probation.

Juvenile Courts

House Bill 407 would have made a pilot project for juvenile courts to handle abuse, neglect and other child abuse cases.

Legislative Pensions Bill

Senate Bill 51 would have canceled a 2005 provision that allows annual retirement benefits to increase dramatically for former lawmakers who later join the executive or judicial branches.

Nuclear Power

Senate Bill 26 would have overturned a 1984 moratorium on the building of nuclear power plants.

Payday Loans Regulation

House Bill 381 would have capped interest rates and fees on all short-term loans, commonly called payday loans, at 38 percent.

Sexting Bill

House Bill 143 would have made it a misdemeanor for someone under the age of 18 to send or receive nude images of himself or herself via cell phone. The current law is unclear how such a crime should be prosecuted.

Slots

Senate Bill 92 would have allowed the state's race tracks to use video lottery terminals.

Unemployment Insurance

House Bill 349 is a measure to fix the state's bankrupt Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which faces a nearly $732 million deficit. House Bill 359 would have decreased unemployment benefits and increased taxes on employers.

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