New laws impacting everything from copper theft to coal mine safety will go into effect July 12. Across Kentucky, meth makers will have a harder time obtaining ingredients and the safety of law enforcement officers will be enforced with the passage of these new laws.
In a news release from Robert Weber with the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, he said, “House Bill 390 will help curb theft of copper and other valuable metals by ensuring thieves don’t get immediate cash for the stolen goods at recycling centers. Instead, after showing proof of ownership, a check will be mailed to those selling certain metals to the recycling centers. The legislation will also ensure that recycling centers receive reports on recently stolen metal items in the area so they can be on the lookout. The bill does not affect individuals recycling aluminum cans.”
Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird said this bill can be “a great thing as long as the establishments that take in metal abide by the law.”
“The thieves will become more creative,” said Lipfird. “Here’s the thing about a crime, you can’t take a person’s ability or desire to commit the crime, you can only take away their opportunity. It all comes back to people being responsible for their properties. It’s hard to guard a power station on top of a mountain. It has the potential of being a good thing as long as the recycling centers participate and there is punitive damage to those who don’t participate.”
In Senate Bill 3, Weber said with the approval of this bill efforts will be boosted to stop production of methamphetamine by tightening rules on the purchase of certain cold and allergy medicine that contain an ingredient needed to make meth.
“The legislation will decrease the currently monthly over-the-counter purchase limit of ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine in pill or tablet form from 9 grams to 7.2 grams and impose a 24 gram yearly limit,” said Weber. “The measure will also replace the paper-tracking system currently in place for the purchase of medicines containing ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine with a mandatory electronic system that will allow more real-time tracking.”
Lipfird said he hopes this new law does not affect the “good honest people who have medical issues and need this medication.”
“I live in the coal fields and I’m allergic to dust,” said Lipfird. “I don’t use this type of medication, but some people do use it for allergies.”
In House Bill 385, the new law will enforce new rules for miners who fail drug or alcohol tests. The law states offenders will be ineligible to hold mining licenses or certificates for three years. Penalties are more severe for repeat offenders.
“The key thing for this new legislation is the safety of miners,” said Dick Brown, spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. “For all miners, who are above and below ground, knowing they and their co-workers are operating in a safe environment and that the state is serious about enforcing its rules and regulations regarding drug use and abuse on the job, this certainly gives the Mine Safety and Review Commission and the office of Mine Safety and Licensing much more ability to get serious about this issue. It lets miners know certainly the state is serious about drug abuse on the workplace.”
House Bill 484, going into effect July 12, will allow Kentuckians to carry concealed weapons without a license on their property or place of business.
Lipfird said he agrees with the passing of this bill because a citizen’s home is “their castle.”
“You should be able to defend your castle and not fear that law enforcement is going to be able to come into your house and arrest you because you have a concealed weapon on you when it’s your property or castle,” said Lipfird.
Senate Bill 32 will establish a statewide emergency alert system to catch those suspected of injuring a police officer. Weber said the “Blue Alert” system, which is modeled after the Amber Alert system, will use law enforcement communication systems, electronic highway signs and media to spread information to catch perpetrators after an officer has been reported wounded or missing.
Lipfird said this bill is a “good thing if used properly.”
“With any new technology and law, there will have to be some infrastructure work done, I’m sure, because you’re dealing with so many different types of communication systems,” said Lipfird. “Police officers, when they are needed are angels from God, any other time they are considered a necessary evil.”
Lipfird said the new Senate Bill 89, which expands Kentucky’s seat belt law to include 15-person passenger vans, for him personally, he believes is a “good law and he wouldn’t mind seeing the law expanded to include school buses.”
“God forbid a school bus started rolling over, but if it did kids would be thrown all over the place,” said Lipfird.
The current state law only requires seat belt use in vehicles designed to carry 10 or fewer passengers.
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