FRANKFORT, Ky. – Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2021 session will go into effect on Tuesday, June 29.
New worker safety regulations are among the new laws taking effect. House Bill 475 will prohibit, starting on July 1, the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board from adopting or enforcing occupational safety and health administrative regulations that are more stringent than the corresponding federal provisions.
The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have a special effective date, are general appropriations measures, or include an emergency clause that makes them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2021 Regular Session occurred on March 30, making June 29 the effective date for most bills.
Other new laws taking effect:
Education — House Bill 563 will give families more options when deciding where to send kids to school and will assist families with the cost of educational expenses. The bill will allow the use of education opportunity accounts, a type of scholarship, for students to attend out-of-district public schools or obtain educational materials and supplies. For students in some of the state’s largest counties, the scholarship funds could be used for private school tuition. Individuals or businesses who donate to organizations that issue education opportunity accounts will be eligible for a tax credit. The legislation will also require a board of education to adopt a nonresident pupil policy by July 1, 2022, to govern terms under which the district allows enrollment of nonresident pupils and includes those pupils in calculating the district’s state funding.
Elections — House Bill 574 will make permanent some of the election procedures implemented last year to accommodate voting during the pandemic. The measure will offer Kentuckians three days – including a Saturday – leading up to an election day for early, in-person voting. It will allow county clerks to continue to offer ballot drop boxes for those who do not wish to send their ballots back by mail. It will also counties to offer voting centers where any registered voter in the county could vote.
Ethics — Senate Bill 6 will create standards for ethical conduct for transition team members of all newly elected statewide officeholders. The standards include identifying any team member who is or has been a lobbyist. It will require disclosure of current employment, board member appointments and any non-state sources of money received for their services. It will also prohibit the receipt of nonpublic information that could benefit a transition team member financially.
Public records — House Bill 312 will revise the states open records laws. It will limit the ability of people who do not live, work or conduct business in Kentucky to obtain records through open records laws. These restrictions do not apply to out-of-state journalists. The legislation specifies that open records requests can be made via email. It also calls for a standardized form to be developed for open records request but does not require its use. It will allow the legislative branch to make final decisions that can’t be appealed regarding decisions on open records requests it receives. The bill will allow government agencies up to five days to respond to open records requests.