Home » Ky. Senate approves bill to strengthen penalties for repeat DUI offenders

Ky. Senate approves bill to strengthen penalties for repeat DUI offenders

Sessions cancelled Friday in anticipation of storm

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2016) — The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would strengthen penalties for habitual drunken drivers.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Parrett (D-Elizabethtown), would change what is known in legal circles as the “look back period” to 10 years from five years. What that means is that if someone is convicted of drunken driving multiple times in a 10-year period the penalties for the crimes can be increased. The bill would also expand the quarterly reporting window of pending DUI cases to 180 days from 90 days.

“For a lot of people, the first DUI is a mistake,” Parrett said during discussion of the bill on the Senate floor. “But the second one is not a mistake. The third, fourth and the fifth are big problems and we need to correct that.”

Parrett said statistics show that 99.6 percent of habitual drunken drivers’ DUI cases fall within a 10-year period.

If the bill becomes law, it would be named the Brianna Taylor Act. Brianna was 17 when she died in a car wreck in the summer of 2014 in Hardin County. The Elizabethtown High School graduate was on her way home from a fishing trip at the time of the crash.

Similar legislation was approved in the Senate last year but did not become law. SB 56, which was approved by the Senate on a 35-1 vote, will now go to the state House for consideration.

Human trafficking measures heads to House

Kentucky’s Attorney General would be given jurisdiction over the state’s human trafficking cases under a bill approved Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

Jurisdiction over these cases now lies with Kentucky’s Commonwealth’s Attorneys and county attorneys. House Bill 229 would expand that jurisdiction to the Attorney General’s Office to beef up investigation and prosecution of such cases, said HB 229 sponsor House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly (D-Paris).

“Too often we are finding (these cases) are not progressing through investigation and through to a conviction,” said Overl. She said HB 229 would help fix that.

Her comments were echoed by Attorney General Andy Beshear who joined Overly before the committee.

“I’m ready to go to work,” Beshear said. “My office is ready to go to work. We’re going to work every single day to make sure we get results.”

HB 229 now goes to the full House for consideration.

Police overtime bill clears House committee

Legislation that would mean more time off work for Louisville Metro police officers and overtime savings for the city has passed a House committee.

Under House Bill 149, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Donohue (D-Fairdale) Louisville Metro police officers would work 12-hour shifts totaling less than 80 hours over 14 days without triggering overtime pay per a city agreement with the Louisville area Fraternal Order of Police. Louisville police officers currently work 8-hour shifts for six days before getting two days off, said Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad who testified on the bill before the House Local Government Committee.

Conrad said HB 149 would allow officers to get more time off which he said means “less fatigue, less stress, and use less sick leave.” It would also, he said, help the city lower its costs.

“Without this change in state law we’d be required to pay overtime over the first week and then an officer would work less than 40 hours in the second (week),” said Conrad, who testified on the bill alongside River City FOP #614 President Dave Mutchler and Donohue.

“(This) puts more police officers on the shifts that we have so I think it’s beneficial to the community,” Donohue told the committee.

Rep. Arnold Simpson (D-Covington) asked if the city can revert back to 8-hours shifts if the outcome of the agreement is unsatisfactory. Conrad said yes, but it is unlikely that his department would want to return to 8-hour shifts.

HB 149 now goes to the full House for consideration.