Senate OKs eviction bill, committees approve livestock, firefighters, Guard, Madison airport measures

0
662
Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, speaking in support of Senate Bill 11, a measure dealing with intentional damage to rental property.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Legislative committees and the House and Senate picked up the pace Wednesday as state lawmakers moved into the second part of the 2021 session with several proposals clearing committees.

A measure to discourage tenants from damaging rental properties during an eviction passed the Kentucky Senate by a 28-8 vote.

- Advertisement -

The measure, known as Senate Bill 11, would clarify current criminal mischief statutes by creating a category in Kentucky’s criminal code exclusively for damaging rental properties. It wouldn’t increase the penalty, said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who introduced the bill.

“I think this bill is even more important this year than last year because so many landlords in our commonwealth are struggling,” Schickel said, in reference to a similar bill passed out of the Senate last session. “Most landlords are very small business people.”

Senate Minority Caucus Chair Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, rose to speak against the bill. He said tenants today could be held criminally liable under the state’s current criminal mischief statute.

“We don’t need to single them out,” he said of tenants. “We don’t need to treat them as if they are somehow … pariahs.”

Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, said he agreed tenants could be charged under the current criminal mischief statute, but that he supported SB 11. He explained the measure would help property managers more easily identify people with a history of trashing rental units when vetting prospective tenants through criminal background checks.

“This bill as it is today would give another tool to our landlords,” Schroder said.

Even short bills can have a large impact.

Rep. Matthew Koch, R-Paris, described House Bill 229, an act relating to the protection of livestock, as a “little bill with a big impact” during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting.

HB 229 would make someone guilty of criminal mischief for intentionally or wantonly causing damage to livestock— including cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, alpacas, llamas and buffaloes. Currently, the law only pertains to cattle.

Under the legislation, an offender would be:

  • Guilty of first-degree criminal mischief for causing $1,000 or more worth of damage. The offense is a class D felony and carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.
  • Guilty of second-degree criminal mischief for causing $500 to $1,000 worth of damage. The offense is a class A misdemeanor and carries a penalty of 90 days to one year in jail.
  • Guilty of third-degree criminal mischief for causing less than $500 worth of damage. The offense is a class B misdemeanor and carries a penalty of 90 days in jail.

Koch, who is a horse farmer, said HB 229 came to be after a horse shooting in Woodford County last year.

“We need to put some teeth to this to help protect those livestock,” Koch said.

The House Judiciary Committee approved HB 229 unanimously.

The bill now heads to the House Floor for consideration.

The House Committee on Local Government approved legislation that would empower the Kentucky Fire Commission to develop regulations governing their ability to provide financial relief for fire fighters diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders by a licensed or certified mental health professional.

House Bill 44 is sponsored by Representative Kim Banta of Ft. Mitchell.

“Our men and women of the Commonwealth that run toward danger deserve House Bill 44,” Banta said. “We owe it to our brave firefighters to do everything we can to give them the resources they need after they have sacrificed much of themselves because they were protecting us.”

This program would be funded through the fire commission just as law enforcement coverage is provided through the KLEPFF program.

HB 44 will now head to the House Floor where it will be considered for passage in the upcoming days of the 2021 Regular Session.

To review co-sponsors and specific details of the measure, please visit the Legislative Research Commission website or follow the link here.

The House Committee on Local Government also approved a bill that would create an advisory council which will create a Recovery Ready Certification. The council will be tasked with coming up with programs, standards and provide guidance to communities in developing a Recovery Ready Ecosystem in their communities.

House Bill 7 is sponsored by Representative Adam Bowling of the 87th District.

“I am thankful my colleagues see the need for this bill,” Bowling said. “The goal of HB 7 is to make sure communities have the tools in place to help people who have substance abuse problems and to continue to help this Commonwealth that is so ravaged by this epidemic.”

By putting this council in place, state and local governments can better collaborate and facilitate a strategic dialogue in the development of programs to spend limited available funds on recovery.

HB 7 will now head to the House Floor where it will be considered for passage in the upcoming days of the 2021 Regular Session.

To review co-sponsors and specific details of the measure, please visit the Legislative Research Commission website or follow the link here.

The House Committee on Local Government also signed off on legislation permitting the City of Richmond, the City of Berea, and Madison County to expand the existing six member airport board to eight members, allowing Eastern Kentucky University two board appointments.

House Bill 158 is sponsored by Representative Deanna Frazier of Richmond.

University appointments will be nominated by the university president for confirmation by the board of regents. As is currently required, all appointments will require joint approval by each entity on the board.

The legislation is now headed to the House Floor where it will be considered for passage in the upcoming days of the 2021 Regular Session.

To review co-sponsors and specific details of the measure, please visit the Legislative Research Commission website or follow the link here.

The Banking and Insurance committee passed legislation that would help more service members learn about their benefits through involvement of the Adjutant General, who would provide opportunities for Kentucky National Guard members to enroll in and upgrade life insurance, receive program briefings during trainings and drills, among other provisions.

The legislation is now headed to the House Floor where it will be considered for passage in the upcoming days of the 2021 Regular Session. Details of the measure can be viewed at legislature.ky.gov.

Legislation filed by Rep. Bill Wesley aimed at ending the Patriot Penalty also was discussed in the Banking and Insurance committee meeting Wednesday.

“It is an honor to be the primary sponsor of House Bill 196,” said Rep. Wesley. “Workers’ compensation affects every worker and employer in our country, and it’s important that we effectively put forth policies that ensure employers can continue to invest in their workforce, while ensuring employee benefits are sustainable and accessible.”

Founded in 1969, NCOIL is a national legislative organization of all 50 states, represented principally by legislators serving on their states’ insurance and financial institutions committees. NCOIL writes Model Laws in insurance and financial services, works to preserve the state jurisdiction over insurance, and serves as an educational forum for public policymakers and interested parties.

The Workers’ Compensation Committee has recently adopted model laws for the states on Best Practices to Address Opioid Abuse, Drug Formularies, Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Rates, Structured Settlements, and Coverage Acts for construction industry workers and messenger couriers.

“It’s important for employers and for workers to have consistent workers’ compensation laws from state to state,” said Wesley. “NCOIL is a centralized legislative body for all states, where lawmakers can carefully evaluate the changing workforce and provide consistent policy.”

The legislation is now headed to the House Floor where it will be considered for passage in the upcoming days of the 2021 Regular Session. Details of the measure can be viewed at legislature.ky.gov .