Senate Bill 196 will boost Kentucky’s adventure tourism industry by allowing the state to enter into agreements with private property owners for the use of their land for recreational activities. The agreements would allow property owners to permit public use of the land without facing liability issues they otherwise would.
Brandon Smith, the senator representing the 30th District, said the increased protection for property owners could allow more land to become available for adventure tourism.
“Landowners that have some of the most beautiful pockets of Kentucky tucked away have not opened their land to the public because they don’t want to get sued,” he said.
Smith, the bill’s sponsor, said the new bill will give more people the opportunity to see some of Kentucky’s ‘hidden treasures’.
“It is giving us a chance to go around the state and open up some beautiful property that a limited amount of people have been able to see until now,” Smith said. “The bill gives people a chance to see a lot of Kentucky they didn’t know was out there.”
Senate Bill 58, regarding stiffer penalties for those being cruel to dogs and cats, was also approved.
“This bill generated a lot of interest. We have a lot of people that are pet owners and love their pets,” Smith said. “A lot of people think legislators don’t listen, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The calls and support of this bill were greatly appreciated.”
Senate Bill 58 will increase penalties for those who torture dogs or cats. Causing physical injury to a dog or cat as a result of torture would be a Class A misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail, while causing serious physical injury or death would be a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison. Currently, all torture cases involving a dog or cat are Class A misdemeanors for a first offense.
“These animals have very little say about the way they are kept and treated,” Smith said. “We have an obligation to keep and treat these animals kindly.”
Both of the new laws will go into effect July 15. Other new bills slated to go into effect on July 15, include:
•• House Bill 202 will ban the sale, purchase or use of alcohol vaporizing devices, which can be used to inhale intoxicating fumes of alcohol;
•• Senate Bill 203 will require more frequent inspections of amusement park rides and prevent anyone under 18 from operating the rides;
•• House Bill 139 will allow 16-year-olds who weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood with written parental or legal guardian consent. The bill was crafted to help address blood shortages.