April 2017: The Legislative session ended on March 30th. Though 2017 was a short session, it felt quite long as the two Republican Chambers volleyed bills back and forth and then had some repartee with the Governor’s office. Ultimately, SB 120 passed and as of April 3rd, remains with the Governor’s Office to be signed, This bill offers limited criminal justice reentry reform and a significant victory that removes the inhumane practice of public registry for children adjudicated in other state’s juvenile courts on sex offenses should they move to Kentucky. We also saw passage of SB 195 which expands expungement for juvenile court felonies and misdemeanors. SB 42, sponsored by Senator Schickel passed and was signed into law. It permits the arrest and charging of someone for assault 4th degree at a hospital (including a hospital parking lot) by a police officer, even though the misdemeanor offense was not committed in the officer’s presence. HB 14, Blue Lives Matter bill that permits the labeling of a misdemeanor as a hate crime if done against police officers or fire and emergency medical personnel. Provisions increasing annual monies directed to law enforcement foundations were added in the final days of the General Assembly. HB 38 expanded our ostratization of registered sex offenders to include  prohibiting their presence on publicly owned playgrounds without permission of the playground managers.  HB 67 places limits on the use of autopsy photographs but still makes them available to defense counsel in homicide cases. HB 93, sponsored by Rep. St. Onge, removes from the elements of proof for first degree assault on a service animal that the animal was unable to return to work. HB 158, chiefly sponsored by Rep. Moser, amended KRS 218A.050 in defining Schedule I controlled substances. HB 200 permits the seeking of restitution when there is cruelty to horses. KACDL played a role in stopping HB 315 that would have grossly expanded the net to charge and convict persons of being part of a gang, and would have tripled the accused person’s punishment in most instances. Though the bill went through the House and appeared poised to pass the Senate, it came to a screeching halt in the last days of the session and was not given to the Governor. SB 91, opposed by KACDL, was vetoed by the Governor and then overridden by the Legislature to become law. This bill will make it easier to enforce mental health treatment and will likely be challenged as violative of Due Process. HB 374 expands on the use of federally mandated background checks for those work with minors. HB 502 expanded to three circuit judges the number in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, allowing for the appointment of a Family Court Judge in Daviess County. HB 333 was sent to the Governor on March 30th . It defines fentanyl, carfentenil and fentanyl derivatives and enhances penalities while allowing for retaining prior penalties if defense counsel can prove defendant has substance abuse disorder. KACDL also worked against SB 15, an effort to amend the Kentucky Constitution to include the Rights of Victims and reduce the rights of Defendants. Legislative leadership decided about a month into the General Assembly that they were not going to move constitutional amendments this session. Even so, the lobbying coalition, Marcy’s Law for ALL spent $56,968 with $40,000 of that for advertising. In the final days of the GA, Senator Westerfield filed an amendment to SB 15 that would ensure only private criminal defense lawyers can be held liable for failure to implement SB 15. More to come on this bill in the months ahead.

If any member or citizen has information to share regarding any of the Items of Focus or Items of Interest, please send communication to our Legislative Agent at legislation@kacdl.net.  You may express your interest to join the Legislation Committee on your Member Account page.

You can reach your local senator or representative by going to the links below or calling the legislative message line at  1-800-372-7181 and asking that a written message be left with your legislator.

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Senate.htm; http://www.lrc.ky.gov/House.htm;


Senate Judiciary 




LRC email or hyperlink (online form)

Joe Bowen


Daviess, Hancock and McLean


Danny Carroll


Ballard, Carlisle, Marshall and McCracken


Perry Clark




Ray Jones


Elliott, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan and Pike


Alice Kerr




Wil Schroder


Bracken, Campbell and Pendleton


Dan Seum


Bullitt and Jefferson


Robin Webb


Boyd, Carter and Greenup


Senate Leadership:

Senate President

Robert Stivers



Senate President Pro Tempore

David P. Givens



Majority Floor Leader

Damon Thayer



Majority Caucus Chair

Dan Seum



Minority Floor Leader

Ray S. Jones II



Minority Caucus Chair

Dorsey Ridley



Majority Whip

Jimmy Higdon



Minority Whip

Julian M. Carroll