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Here’s What Passed The 2016 General Assembly…And What Didn’t

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The 2016 General Assembly achieved its main goal—passing a two year state budget—at the last minute of the session, but the legislature also passed well over 100 laws that have been signed by Gov. Matt Bevin so far.

Bevin has ten days to veto bills once they’ve reached his desk. He also has the power to strike out portions of bills through his line-item veto power.

Unless they’ve been designated “an emergency,” new laws will take effect 90 days after Bevin signs them–mid-July for most.

Here’s a rundown of some of the major bills that passed this session, and some that didn’t make it.

Passed Into Law

Budget: The $21 billion plan cuts state spending by about 9 percent over the next two years. Several programs are exempted from the cuts including the Department of Veterans Affairs, public school funding, Medicaid and financial aid for higher education. State troopers get a pay raise under the bill and funding to state colleges and universities will be cut by 4.5 percent.

Pension Permanent Fund: Establishes a new fund to save money for future infusions into the state pension systems. The state budget set aside $125 million for the reserve, with plans to add potential surpluses and windfalls from lawsuit settlements as well.

DUI Look-back Expansion: Increases the “look-back period” for driving under the influence from five years to 10. Those convicted of DUI multiple times over that period face escalating penalties.

Felony Expungement: Allows people with some class D felony convictions to clear their records if they stay out of trouble for five years after completing their sentences. Applies to 61 Class D felonies, which make up about 70 percent of Class D felony convictions.

Informed Consent: Requires women seeking an abortion to have an in-person or video conference meeting with a doctor 24 hours before the procedure.

Rape Kits: By July 2018, this law requires the state forensic lab to test rape kits within 90 days. By 2020, the time period is shortened to 60 days. The state budget sets aside $1 million for fast tracked testing, and local law enforcement agencies are required to develop policies for handling rape kits and notifying victims of the progress.

Public-Private Partnerships: Allows private companies to front money for state projects in exchange for assessing “user fees” upon completion (think tolls on a highway).

Marriage Licenses: One marriage license form with options to fill in “bride” “groom” or “spouse.” Removes county clerk’s names from the form

Zip Line Regulations: Requires the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to develop safety standards and penalties for zip line courses.

Hair Braiding Deregulation: Exempts natural hair braiders from having to obtain a cosmetology license to operate in Kentucky.

Mugshot Removal: Forbids posting mugshots to a website or publication and then requiring payment to remove them.

New Alcohol Rules: Increases the amount of beer or wine microbreweries and wineries can produce. Allows distilleries to sell liquor-by-the-drink and sanctions drinking on quadricycles, also known as “party bikes.”

Off-Duty Concealed Carry: Allows off-duty and retired police officers to concealed carry firearms without a license.

Dog Fighting: Forbids possessing, breeding and selling dogs for the purpose of dogfighting, making it a felony.


Local Option Sales Tax: Would have allowed local governments to add up to 1 percent onto the state sales tax to fund local development projects.

Marsy’s Law: Would have established a system to notify victims when an accused perpetrator makes bail.

Pension Transparency: Bills that would have reorganized the management of the state pension systems and made lawmaker pensions subject to open records requests failed to get traction.

Campaign contributions: Would have increased the amount individuals can donate to political candidates from $1,000 to $2,000 per election.

Abortion Laws: Bills that would have required doctors to describe a sonogram image of a fetus to a woman prior to an abortion and eliminated the state’s contribution to Planned Parenthood passed the state Senate but weren’t taken up by the House.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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