Politics & Government

Governor asks for law letting dating partners get protective court orders

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear called on state lawmakers Wednesday to approve a bill that would let dating partners obtain protective and domestic violence court orders.

"It's time to pass legislation in the House and Senate that will provide the same protections for dating couples as the law currently provides for those who are married or those who live in the same residence," Beshear said, speaking at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda to publicize Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who is sponsoring the bill, said it would apply to all dating couples, including those of the same sex.

Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said the governor "supports the expansion of domestic violence laws to include dating couples as Rep. Tilley explained."

The measure has not been successful in past legislative sessions.

But Tilley said his committee will consider it Jan. 8, the second day of the 2014 General Assembly, and that Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, has told him that his committee will consider it. Westerfield could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tilley said dating couples should be protected in Kentucky as they are in other states.

"I am committed to doing all I can to make sure the commonwealth is on that list," Tilley said.

The Kentucky Domestic Violence Association said Kentucky is one of only three states that provides no protection for dating violence victims.

It said women between the ages of 20 and 24 are at greatest risk of intimate partner violence and that up to half of intimate partner violence occurs between unmarried individuals.

Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, also is working on legislation that would prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to tenants with domestic violence protective orders.