Although the 2016 General Assembly ended back in April, its effects will be felt in mid-July, when a bevy of laws go into effect.
Most new laws are given a 90-day window for state agencies and other offices to prepare for their implementation. Here’s a rundown of some of the major laws that will take effect on July 15.
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.
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.
Election Regulations: Reduces electioneering restrictions to 11 feet from polling locations (used to be forbidden within 300 feet). Allows voters to use any county, state or federally issued identification card for voter ID.
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.