From organ donations to Patriot Penalty, legislation moves forward

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state House and Senate continued action Thursday, even if slowed in some cases by snow and ice that blanketed the area.

The Banking and Insurance committee passed legislation that will prohibit certain insurance coverage determinations based on the status of an individual being a living organ donor.

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“This bill is meant to encourage individuals to become organ donors without the worry that they will lose insurance coverage,” McPherson said. “This bill would not allow insurance companies to discriminate when offering, issuing, cancelling, amount covered, or pricing of insurance when it pertains to the living organ donation status.”

More than 6,000 Kentucky residents are currently on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant. There were 208 kidney donations from Kentucky in 2020 with 39 of those donations from living organ donors.

The legislation is headed to the House Floor.

Meanwhile, legislation filed by Rep. Bill Wesley aimed at ending the Patriot Penalty was passed on the House floor.

“It was an honor to present this bill today,” said Rep. Wesley. “The military is extremely important to preserve peace and security in the United States.”

HB 196 would protect deployed military service members from an increase on their auto insurance when they return home from active duty. This bill will ensure that an insurer shall not have the right to refuse to issue a policy of a motor vehicle liability insurance, or imposing an additional premium, solely because the person is uninsured if, during the period the person was without insurance, the person was on military service and absent from the Commonwealth.

Former Florida Senate Minority Floor Leader, Steve Geller stated, “I am surprised that this problem is still going on. I would have thought that this would have been part of a national trend that all states would have passed this by now.”

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

Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles praised the Kentucky House of Representatives for passing legislation Wednesday aimed at expanding eligibility for game meat donations.
House Bill 209, sponsored by Representative Jonathan Dixon, R-Henderson, would allow the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Agency, the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to receive and donate game meat for the purpose of food distribution and cooking demonstrations for those in need.
“I am incredibly grateful to my friend Representative Dixon for fighting for this legislation, which solves a problem identified as a result of our Kentucky Hunger Initiative,” Commissioner Quarles said. “The additional protections provided by this bill will allow the good people of Extension to continue educating clients at food banks about how to prepare donated wild game. I also want to thank Representative Samara Heavrin who carried this bill last year before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the legislative session. I hope that we get just as much bipartisan support in the Senate as we did in the House.”
The bill came about after the University of Kentucky’s Nutrition Education Program identified concerns about lawsuits associated with distributing meals with donated wild game at educational cooking classes for food bank clients.
“Our laws already allow game meat donation to non-profits so they can redistribute meat to families in need,” Dixon said. “This bill simply allows the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Agency, the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to take part in efforts to fight hunger. In addition, many of our extension agencies offer cooking classes and do tremendous work in educating needy families about ways they can make cost-effective healthy meals at home. It’s important we give these entities the support they need in that effort.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.