New laws include measures on education, veterans and tort reform
Contact: Woody Maglinger
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 27, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin, joined by state legislators and constituents, today ceremonially signed nearly a dozen pieces of recently enacted legislation at the State Capitol. Among the acts signed were House bills (HB) 128 and 161 and Senate bills (SB) 4 and 79.
Gov. Bevin has called the General Assembly’s 2017 regular session “the most successful in Kentucky history.” “The members of the House and Senate came together and passed legislation at a rate and significance that will transform the commonwealth for generations to come,” he said.
HB 128 allows public schools to offer an elective social studies course on the Bible that teaches biblical content, characters, poetry and narratives and their impact on today’s world.
“Whether someone is a believer or not, the Bible is an important part of our culture, and is key to understanding contemporary society,” said primary sponsor Rep. D.J. Johnson. “Thanks to this legislation, Kentucky’s students will now have the opportunity to learn about the Bible from a historical perspective, if they so choose.”
HB 161 requires the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet to set aside a minimum of 3 percent of the value of all state contracts for goods and services for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
“Our nation’s heroes are the cornerstone of our society, and it is important that we provide them with viable economic opportunities,” said Rep. Johnson, who also sponsored HB 161. “While it is obviously tragic when our citizens become disabled while serving their country, we owe it to them to promote small business opportunities that will improve their livelihood.”
SB 4 requires peer review of medical malpractice complaints by medical review panels before medical malpractice cases can go to court. A complaint can bypass the panel and go directly to court only by agreement of all parties.
SB 79 allows patients to enter into contracts with their primary care provider that spell out services to be provided for an agreed-upon fee over a specific period of time. The “direct primary care membership agreement” would not require a patient to forfeit private insurance or Medicaid coverage.
“With the final passage of Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 79, Kentucky has taken a small step towards stemming the flow of medical practitioners out of our state,” said Sen. Ralph Alvarado, who sponsored both acts. “The lack of health care providers in our commonwealth can be largely attributed to the litigious-friendly climate in which we have found ourselves in recent years due to the absence of tort reform. I hope that both of these bills will encourage the medical community to reconsider our state for their practices, and I look forward to the implementation of these laws and further reformation of this broken system.”
Gov. Bevin also ceremonially signed the following pieces of legislation today:
- HB 277 allows individuals to serve on a local board of education if they have an aunt, uncle, son-in-law or daughter-in-law employed by the school district.
- HB 183 provides a basis for overhauling Kentucky’s alcoholic beverage laws by eliminating outdated, duplicative and unnecessary language.
- HB 112 protect landlords from liability if a tenant’s dog bites someone.
- SB 50 allows school districts to use a “variable student instructional year,” requiring the same hours of instruction required by existing law but allowing for fewer school days than the minimum of 170 days required by existing law.
- SB 218 updates and streamlines the state’s industrial hemp production program, first established in 2014.
- HB 237 provides grocery stores, restaurants and other organizations liability protections when donating food products.
- HB 238 provides protections for students who are enrolled at Kentucky proprietary institutions, in the event of a school closure.
The full text of each of these new laws is available on the website of the Legislative Research Commission.