By Morgan Watkins
Couples getting married in Kentucky will fill out a new marriage license form starting July 15 when legislation that was sparked by the controversy over Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ actions last year takes effect.
Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples resulted in a debate over how to alter the state’s marriage license form. That discussion led to the approval of a measure that establishes a new document that doesn’t include the county clerk’s name and allows people to list themselves as a bride, groom or spouse.
The marriage-license bill isn’t the only one that is slated to become law on July 15. A slew of new measures will take effect in Kentucky that day, although a smattering of laws already were put into effect earlier this year as emergency measures.
One law that already took effect allows retired or off-duty police officers to carry concealed guns anywhere that an on-duty officer is allowed to carry them even if they don’t have a license.
Another requires the state forensic laboratory to gradually reduce the time it takes to test sexual assault kits down to 60 days or less by 2020.
People who repeatedly drive under the influence face stiffer penalties under yet another law that recently was instituted. Instead of determining sanctions based on how many DUI offenses someone has racked up within five years, the state’s so-called “lookback” or “washout” period now covers the past 10 years.
Here’s a list of other key measures that are about to become law throughout the state:
• Abortion: Women already are required to receive a medical briefing at least 24 hours before an abortion is performed, but this measure mandates that those meetings happen in-person or via video conference. In the past, many women conducted these consultations with their physicians by phone the day before the procedure.
• Alcohol sales: Distilleries will be allowed to pour bigger sample sizes for customers and can start selling their liquor not only by the bottle but also by the glass. Microbreweries will be pemitted to sell alcohol at small events such as fairs or farmers markets without having to use a distributor. The measure also OKs drinking alcohol on quadricycles, which are often referred to as party bikes.
•Bullying: Establishes a specific definition of bullying. Requires school boards to ban bullying and to implement procedures for identifying and investigating such incidents and for protecting those who report them from retaliation.
• Dog fighting:
Makes it a felony to knowingly own, breed, train or sell a canine for dog-fighting purposes.
• Elections: Lowers distance limitations on electioneering near polling locations. Allows voters to use ID cards issued by the state or federal government or even by a county as a form of identification when they cast a ballot.
• Expungement: People who are convicted of a broad range of Class D felonies will now have a chance to get their criminal records expunged if they don’t commit any other crimes for five years after they complete their sentences.
• Hair braiding: No longer requires people who do natural hair braiding to get a cosmetology license.
• Harassment: Makes it a misdemeanor for someone to communicate with another person by electronic means with the goal of intimidating, harassing, annoying or alarming them.
• Mugshots: Prohibits people from posting a mugshot online or in a publication and demanding payment if someone wants the photograph removed.
• Pensions: Creates a “permanent pension fund” that will sock away money to help cover any future financial needs that Kentucky’s underfunded pension systems have. Legislators already have agreed to pour $125 million into the new fund.
• Zip lines: Requires the development of state regulations for zip lines, including operational standards and both administrative and civil penalties for violations.