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It will be a bit more difficult for drug producers to get their hands on large amounts of a product needed to make methamphetamine, thanks to a law that goes into effect today.
Also in measures that become law today, passengers in large vans are no longer exempt from wearing a seat belt and thieves won't be able to sell stolen copper and other materials for quick cash at recycling centers.
Another bill allows Kentuckians to carry concealed weapons without a license on their property or place of business.
The new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year go into effect today.
According to a Legislative Research Commission news release, legislation approved becomes state law 90 days after a legislative session ends, unless the measure contains an emergency clause that makes it effective as soon as it is signed by Kentucky's governor. This year's regular session ended April 12.
A complete list of the laws that go into effect today, according to the LRC news release, is printed as a sidebar to this story.
Taylor County's senator and representative say they believe the bill aimed at making meth production more difficult is one of the most important of the state's new laws.
The law tightens rules on purchasing cold and allergy medicines that contain an ingredient commonly used to make meth. The monthly over-the-counter purchase limit of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in pill or tablet forms is reduced from 9 to 7.2 grams.
The law also sets a 24-gram yearly limit for residents.
State Rep. John "Bam" Carney, R-Campbellsville, said he voted against the bill because the majority of constituents he spoke to said they believe it punishes those who obey the law.
However, he said, he supports efforts to curb meth production and believes the law will help in that regard.
"There's no dispute that we must do everything we can to curb the meth problem," he said. "It's killing our families."
Carney said his only concern is that the law could be considered an infringement on residents' rights. He says he understands, however, that action must be taken to prevent meth production.
"It is a major epidemic for the commonwealth," he said.
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, said he believes legislation geared toward eliminating pill mills and the state's budget were two other important pieces of legislation approved during this session.
He said the meth bill, which he voted for only after the yearly purchase limit was doubled from 12 grams to 24 grams, shouldn't negatively impact those buying the medications for their intended use.
"We've been told, 99 percent of the people should be able to function fine with that amount," he said.
Higdon said gel cap and liquid forms of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine aren't restricted in the law.
"But it will crack down on those buying pseudoephedrine for cooking meth."
• Blue Alert - Establishes a statewide emergency alert system to catch those suspected of injuring a police officer. The "Blue Alert" system will use law enforcement communication systems, electronic highway signs and media to spread information to catch perpetrators after an officer has been reported wounded or missing.
• Coal Mine Safety - Enforces new rules for miners who fail drug or alcohol tests. Offenders will be ineligible to hold mining licenses or certificates for three years. Penalties are more severe for repeat offenders.
• Coal Truck Drivers - Designates the Monday of the fourth week in August as Coal Truck Driver Appreciation Day.
• Concealed Deadly Weapons - Allows Kentuckians to carry concealed weapons without a license on their property or place of business.
• Copper Theft - Ensures thieves don't get immediate cash for the stolen goods at recycling centers. Instead, after showing proof of ownership, a check will be mailed to those selling certain metals to recycling centers. The legislation will also ensure that recycling centers receive reports on recently stolen metal items in the area. The bill does not affect individuals recycling aluminum cans.
• Confederate Pensions - Removes from the law books outdated language regarding pensions for Confederate soldiers.
• Consumer Protection - Protects homeowners from being defrauded by providing a five-day grace period to cancel a signed roofing contract if the homeowner's insurance policy does not cover the repair work.
• Diplomas - Provides diplomas to students with disabilities who finish modified high school curriculums. The diploma will replace the certificate of completion the students currently receive.
• Emergency Room Safety - Allows officers to make arrests for misdemeanor assault with probable cause if the crime occurs in a hospital emergency room. Emergency rooms aren't currently exempt from the requirement that an officer must witness a misdemeanor assault in order to make an arrest.
• Ethics - Allows the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to share evidence with the state Personnel Board or the Auditor of Public Accounts if the information is needed for the agencies' investigations.
• For-Profit Postsecondary Schools - Establishes a new panel to regulate private for-profit colleges and universities in Kentucky.
• Meth Labs - Boosts efforts to stop production of methamphetamines by tightening rules on the purchase of certain cold and allergy medicines that contain an ingredient needed to make meth. The law decreases current monthly over-the-counter purchase limit of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in pill or tablet forms from 9 grams to 7.2 grams and impose a 24-gram yearly limit. A paper-tracking system will be replaced with a mandatory electronic system.
• National Guard Assistance Program - Makes Kentucky National Guard members eligible for financial assistance to help pay child adoption costs.
• Personal-Care Homes - Requires a medical exam that includes a medical history, physical examination and diagnosis prior to admission to a personal-care home.
• POW/MIA Flags - Requires Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flags purchased or displayed by public institutions to be made in the United States.
• School Facilities - Makes it easier for school districts to allow community access to school facilities for recreational use during non-school hours by protecting the schools from liability in cases where an injury occurs.
• Seat Belts - Expands Kentucky's seat belt law to include 15-person passenger vans. Current law only requires seat belt use in vehicles designed to carry 10 or fewer passengers.
• Speed Limits - Allows the Transportation Cabinet to increase the speed limit on I-69 in Western Kentucky to 70 miles per hour.
• Veterans' Licenses - Allows veterans to have their service printed on driver's licenses and state identification cards. The designations will make showing proof of service for various discounts and special services easier.
• War Memorial - Establishes a committee to oversee construction and upkeep of an Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial.
• Wild Hogs - Imposes more stiff penalties on those who release feral hogs into the wild, which experts say are a threat to farmland, natural habitats and human health.