From Concealed Carry To Pregnant Workers’ Rights, New Kentucky Laws Go Into Effect Thursday

Jun 26, 2019

Credit J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Nearly 200 bills passed out of the Kentucky legislature this year and most of them will go into effect on Thursday.

The new laws include a “constitutional carry” provision that allows people to concealed carry guns without a license, job protections for pregnant workers and an expansion of Kentucky’s expungement law that allows people to get some low-level felony convictions cleared from their criminal records.

Laws generally go into effect 90 days after the conclusion of the annual legislative session.

Measures that include “emergency” clauses went into effect immediately when they are signed by the governor — such laws this year include a $106 million package of tax breaks and a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

There were 786 bills introduced during this year’s legislative session. Only 198 made it across the finish line.

Next year’s legislative session starts on January 7 and lawmakers will be tasked with writing Kentucky’s two-year budget.

Here are some of the new laws that go into effect on Thursday:

‘Constitutional Carry’

Kentuckians won’t need to take an eight-hour training course or undergo a background check in order to carry concealed firearms anymore with the passage of Senate Bill 150. Previously, the state only allowed individuals to carry firearms in public without a permit if they were openly displayed.

According to the Giffords Law Center, Kentucky is the 15th state that allows people to carry concealed weapons in public without a permit.

Abortion ‘Reversal’

Doctors will be required to tell patients seeking a medically-induced abortion that the procedure could be reversed if they take the hormone progesterone under Senate Bill 50. The measure was added to a bill that requires doctors to report all medically-induced abortions to the state.

Research on the effectiveness of a so-called abortion a reversal is inconclusive.

Pregnant Worker Protections

Employers will be required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant workers under Senate Bill 18 unless doing so would be an undue hardship or if they have fewer than eight employees.

Reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees can include temporary light duty for, more frequent or longer breaks and private space to express breast milk that isn’t a bathroom.

Expungement Expansion

More Kentuckians who have low-level felony convictions will be able to have their records cleared under Senate Bill 57.

Previously, only 61 Class D felonies were eligible for expungement, but the new law expands eligibility to all Class D felonies with exceptions for crimes like stealing while in public office, and sex and child abuse.

The new law requires people to wait five years after they have completed their sentences to apply for expungement. It also reduces the application fee from $500 to $250 application fee and allows prosecutors to object to clearing records.

Strangulation

Strangulation will be added to Kentucky’s list of Class D felonies under Senate Bill 70, similar to the minimum standard that’s already on the books in 45 other states.

Bestiality

Senate Bill 67 makes it a Class D felony to have sex with an animal. The law requires people convicted of bestiality to attend a treatment program and allows courts to take away violators’ animals for up to five years.

Kentucky is one of the last states to explicitly ban bestiality. West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii and Washington, D.C. still don’t ban it.

Solar Panel Changes

Senate Bill 100 changes how people with solar panels on their houses get compensated for putting energy back onto the power grid. Currently, households receive credits equal to the retail rate of power. Under the changes, the Public Service Commission will set the rates. Those already participating in the program — and those who sign up in the next year — get to keep their rates for the next 25 years.

Caller ID Fraud

Telemarketers will be banned from misrepresenting their name or phone number on caller ID under House Bill 84. The law also creates increasing fines for subsequent violations and allows people to file lawsuits against violators.

This story has been corrected. It previously included Senate Bill 85, which will expand Kentucky's DUI interlock device program. That law won't take effect until July 1, 2020.