Here are some of the new laws approved during the General Assembly’s 2018 session that will affect public safety and victims statewide:
Gang Bill – House Bill 169 makes gang recruitment a felony rather than a misdemeanor for adults and it stiffens penalties for offenders if gang activity is shown to be a factor in their crime. It also requires gang members convicted of violent crimes to serve 85 percent of their sentences before parole is an option. The bill’s primary sponsor was Representative Robert Benvenuti, of Lexington.
Revenge Porn – House Bill 71 creates a new section of our Penal Code’s Pornography Chapter prohibiting the distribution of sexually explicit images without consent. Referred to by some as the “revenge porn” bill, because it addresses the use of sexually-explicit photos or videos to humiliate the person photographed or to turn a profit for the person posting the photos online. The distribution of these images is a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses. Penalties would be even more severe if the images were posted for profit. The bill also allows for money damages in a civil court. An individual convicted under HB 71 is not required to register as a sex offender.
Police Body Worn Cameras – House Bill 373 Body worn camera recordings are subject to release under Open Records Laws, and this bill will exempt some footage from being publicly released based upon location and content. The following are specifically exempted in the statute: the interior of private homes and medical facilities, women’s shelters and jails, or if the recording shows a dead body, evidence of sexual assault, nudity or children protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Video recordings from dashboard mounted cameras or recording devices used in the course of clandestine investigations are not included under this new statute. For more information about Lexington Police Department Body Worn Cameras visit Lexington Police Department Body Worn Cameras.
Marsy’s Law will give crime victims true rights in the criminal justice system and will be on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment. While Kentucky already has a statute that provides rights to crime victims, Marsy’s Law will ensure that Kentucky crime victims have constitutional-level rights and protections similar to those given to the accused. For more information about Marsy’s Law visit Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, and then vote YES on November 6th.