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Attention Investors:

New state laws take effect this week

 The Kentucky General Assembly passed more than 200 bills during the 2024 session on issues like crime, autonomous vehicles, and childcare, with  most taking effect on Monday, July 12th. The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have special effective dates, are general appropriation measures, or include emergency clauses that make them effective immediately upon becoming law. Some of the measures set to take effect include:  

Autonomous Vehicles: House Bill 7 creates a legal framework in state statute for operating autonomous vehicles in Kentucky. The bill took effect July 15 except for one section related to platoons of vehicles, which does not take effect until August 2026. 

Child Care Subsidies: Senate Bill 240 clarifies that foster parents who work remotely can receive child care subsidies.  

Child Protection: House Bill 278 will ramp up the criminal penalties for offenders who sexually abuse, assault or exploit children. The bill also seeks to prevent people convicted of sex crimes or violent felonies from working in public schools. Another provision in the final bill will require age verification to access adult websites.  

Emissions Standards: Senate Bill 215 forbids state agencies from adopting or enforcing California’s emission standards on motor vehicles.  

Gas Stations: House Bill 581 prevents local governments from passing or enforcing rules that treat retail gas stations differently from electric vehicle charging stations.  

Health Care Background Checks: Senate Bill 145 will allow health care providers enrolled in the Medicaid program to conduct employee background checks through Kentucky’s child and adult abuse registries.  

Health Care Liability: House Bill 159 protects health care providers from criminal liability when a medical error harms a patient. The bill exempts harm resulting from gross negligence or wanton, willful, malicious or intentional misconduct. 

Juvenile Offenders: Senate Bill 20 seeks to curb youth gun violence. Among several provisions, it clears the way for juveniles to stand trial as adults if they use a firearm in the commission of certain felonies and they are at least 15 years old.  

Kindergarten Readiness: House Bill 695 will establish the Adaptive Kindergarten Readiness Pilot Project within the Kentucky Department of Education. The program will offer reading, math and science instruction through an online platform.  

Maternal Health: Senate Bill 74 aims to support maternal and infant health and reduce the high mortality rate for mothers in Kentucky. Several sections of the bill took effect, including one that will provide more information about breastfeeding and safe sleep to at-risk parents. Other sections will establish a state maternal fatality review team and require state Medicaid services to cover lactation consulting, breastfeeding equipment, and in-home and telehealth services.  Other sections of the bill will not take effect until 2025.   

Research Consortiums: Senate Bill 1 creates an endowment fund to support collaborative research consortiums among public universities in Kentucky. Administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education, the program will focus on research projects that seek to improve quality of life through medicine, health and economic development.  

Safer Kentucky Act: House Bill 5 aims to crack down on repeat, violent offenders. It will also allow prosecutors to file a manslaughter charge against anyone who sells or distributes fentanyl that causes a fatal overdose. Other provisions seek to curb unlawful street camping and set limits on charitable bail organizations.  

School Safety: Senate Bill 2 seeks to enhance school safety by allowing some veterans and former police officers to serve as school “guardians.” It also calls on school districts to assemble trauma-informed teams to improve mental health interventions.  

Youth Employment Programs: Senate Bill 128 allows nonprofit organizations to employ 12- and 13-year-olds for the purpose of learning life and employment skills. To participate, organizations would need to first receive approval from the state Department of Workplace Standards, and the work cannot exceed 18 hours a week

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