Bill aims to increase participation in jury system

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Legislation that would add people with state-issued personal identification cards to a pool of potential jurors passed the Senate Monday by a 35-0-vote.

“It will allow for a wider representation of our communities in our jury pool,” said sponsor Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, who introduced the legislation, known as Senate Bill 132.

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He said the idea of expanding the pool of potential jurors has been studied for years, but the time was right to act. That’s because another piece of legislation (Senate Bill 2) advancing through the General Assembly this session would provide a free state-issued ID card for individuals who are at least 18 and do not have a valid driver’s license. It currently costs $30 for that ID.

The administrative arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice compiles a county-by-county master list of prospective jurors for the entire state. Currently, it draws from people with driver’s licenses, tax rolls from individual returns and voter registration lists.

By law, a person summoned to jury service is required to be available for 30 court days. However, once a jury begins hearing a case, the jury will remain seated for the duration of that case. State law requires the summons to be issued at least 30 days before jurors are to report for service.

The list of potential jurors was last expanded by the General Assembly in 2002. SB 132 now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.