New state laws go into effect today

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By The Staff

New laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2009 regular session go into effect today (Thursday).

That means home health agencies in Kentucky will soon be required to conduct criminal background checks on employees, sex offenders will be banned from Facebook, and flags purchased by state and local governments must be made in the U.S.A.

Some of the biggest items of the session, such as the approval of revisions to the state budget, contained emergency clauses and are already in effect. Most of the 101 bills approved this year, however, are slated to go into effect today. 

Among the new laws that take effect today include: 

• Agricultural products. Senate Bill 84 will require state agencies purchasing agricultural products or Kentucky-grown products to make annual reports to state lawmakers and the Department of Agriculture on the types, quantities, and costs of the products.

• Animal protection. House Bill 301 will prohibit the removal of identification tags or electronic tracking devices from dogs unless approved by the pet’s owner or is necessary to treat an injured animal.

• Donations. SB 8 requires for-profit entities that collect donated items for resale to place a sign on the collection bins stating that the collections are not charitable in nature and do not qualify for a charitable deduction.

• Driver’s licenses. HB 39 exempts 17-year olds who have enlisted in the military from being required to obtain an intermediate driver’s licenses and exempts individuals over age 18 from graduated driver’s licensing requirements.

• Excused absences. HB 124 will allow children wishing to see parents or legal guardians serving overseas in the military who have been granted leave to do so without being penalized for missing up to 10 days of school.

• Flags. SB 33 requires all U.S. and Kentucky flags purchased by state and local governments to be made in the U.S.

• Mine safety. HB 185 allows an electrical trainee to perform electrical work in a mine if under the direct supervision of a certified electrician.

• Online activity of sex offenders. HB 315 bans convicted sex offenders from MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites where minors are allowed. It also requires them to register their e-mail addresses, screen names, and other online IDs with state authorities.

• Personal services. SB 22 requires home health agencies and other personal service businesses to conduct criminal background checks on their employees and bans anyone convicted of abuse, drug crimes, or sex crimes from being hired.

• Road weight limits. SB 47 will allow farm trucks transporting agricultural items to exceed gross weight provisions by 10 percent on all highways, except interstates.

• Violent and sex offenders. SB 148 will prevent violent offenders and registered sex offenders from serving on school site-based decision-making councils. It also prohibits such offenders from entering the property of a school or day care unless they receive permission from school or day care officials.

• Wildlife protection. SB 81 bans out-of-state deer and elk from being imported unless they’ve been tested for chronic wasting disease.