Our View: New laws will impact many

Published 12:45 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

Although disputes over the state employee pension system and in-house scandals dominated headlines during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 session, a host of laws that will directly impact citizens were approved. Most went into effect over the weekend.

The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature except in specific cases. Adjournment was on April 14, making July 14 the effective date for most bills.

Here are some of the laws that took effect that will impact the largest segment of Kentucky citizens:

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— Abstinence education: Senate Bill 71 requires the inclusion of abstinence education in any human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases curriculum in Kentucky high schools.

— Bicycle safety: House Bill 33 requires drivers to keep their vehicles at least three feet away from bicyclists during an attempt to pass. If that much space isn’t available, drivers must use reasonable caution when passing cyclists.

— Breweries: House Bill 136 increases what breweries can sell onsite to three cases and two kegs per customer. The new law will also allow breweries to sell one case per customer at fairs and festivals in wet jurisdictions.

— Dyslexia: House Bill 187 requires the state Department of Education to make a “dyslexia toolkit” available to school districts to help them identify and instruct students who display characteristics of dyslexia.

— Financial literacy: House Bill 132 requires Kentucky high school students to pass a financial literacy course before graduating.

— Foster care and adoption: House Bill 1 took steps to reform the state’s foster care and adoption system to ensure that a child’s time in foster care is limited and that children are returned to family whenever possible. It will expand the definition of blood relative for child placement and ensure that children in foster care are reunified with family or placed in another permanent home in a timely manner.

— Prescription medicines: Senate Bill 6 requires pharmacists to provide information about safely disposing of certain prescription medicines, such as opiates and amphetamines.

— Price gouging: Senate Bill 160 clarifies laws that prevent price gouging during emergencies. The bill specifies that fines could be imposed if retailers abruptly increase the price of goods more than 10 percent when the governor declares a state of emergency.

— Teen marriage: Senate Bill 48 prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from marrying. It will also require a district judge to approve the marriage of any 17-year-old.

Although none of these laws monumentally change our daily lives, most are positive changes that will make minor improvements to the lives of Kentuckians.