FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Another flurry of bills Wednesday in the House late Wednesday night as the 2019 General Assembly is nearing its close.
One of them was a bill requiring anyone who dispenses a drug that can cause a chemical abortion to report it to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, was the House floor manager for the Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson. Bentley reminded his colleagues it doesn’t ban abortions, it only mandates a report.
“This is to ensure Kentucky’s database of all abortions is correct,” Bentley said. “An annual report will be published, with the number of abortions performed. The report will also include the type of abortion performed. It will not include any information that might lead to the identification of the woman.”
The report would also be uploaded to the Cabinet’s website, where it would be publicly available to view.
In addition, doctors would educate women on chemical abortion reversal drugs.
Rep. Nancy Tate, R-Meade County, said the language of the bill was constitutional. “It violates no one’s rights, as the information gathered remains anonymous.”
Opponents of the bill, like Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, called it interference in the relationship between a woman and her doctor. In addition, she stated the science that you can reverse a chemical abortion is false. “This requiring health care professionals to give false and misleading information to women and their families.”
The bill passed the House 75-19.
Abortion gender bill
A House bill that would make it a felony to perform an abortion based on a fetus's gender, race, color, national origin or disability received final passage by a vote of 32-4 today in the Kentucky Senate.
“To many, the right to extinguish or eliminate the life of an unborn child because of their gender, race or possible physical or mental disability is reminiscent of the evil social philosophy of eugenics,” said Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, who carried the bill in the Senate. “House Bill 5 recognizes and confirms all human life has intrinsic value.”
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty, R-Belton, will now go to the governor’s desk. It also contains an emergency clause, a provision in a bill that it become effective immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature rather than 90 days after adjournment.
Tax exemption bill
A measure sponsored by Rep. Regina Huff, R-Williamsburg, to restore the state income tax exemption back to $41,100 won easy approval. It had been reduced to $31,100 last year as part of a tax reform measure that was approved by the General Assembly. One member stated she had gotten more emails on the issue than anything else over the past year.
That bill passed 94-0 and heads to the Senate, although it is unclear whether there is enough time for it to pass that chamber before lawmakers adjourn.
Bill banning bestiality
Another one of the high-profile bills winning final adoption, was Senate legislation to ban bestiality in Kentucky. Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, was the House floor manager for the measure, which is sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville.
He told his colleagues, “Kentucky ranks last in animal abuse laws and is one of only three states without a bestiality law. If you are convicted, it will be a Class D felony on the violator.”
That is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, offered an amendment to the bill. “If an owner is not the bad actor, then the owner gets his animal back. Without this change, it’s a very bad bill and I can’t support it. With it, I’ll ask for your support.”
The amendment was adopted, and the bill passed 97-0. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence on the House change.
Caller ID bill passes
Legislation that would ban spoofing phone numbers that appear on Caller ID, also received final approval from the House. The sponsor, Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, told his colleagues the Senate passed a friendly amendment, “It protects the actual network provider in the event of unforeseen litigation.”
The House approved the amendment and gave the bill final passage, 94-0. It now heads to the governor.
Lawmakers meet again on Thursday, which will be the 29th day of the 30-day session. They will then go on their veto recess, until returning for one day, March 28.