Each year, new laws and amendments to current laws are introduced and implemented. As 2021 is approaching, there are some laws that Kentucky residents should be aware of. The new year will bring law changes to how the election process works in the state, how the 2021 session will start, and also upcoming bills that lawmakers are trying to pass.
When you’re up to date on the laws in Kentucky, you have more understanding of how the state works, what your rights are, and this can help you make sure your right are protected. When 2021 arrives, be sure to look out for these new laws.
During the 2020 election, changed voting hours and redistricting were subject to emergency actions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures were put in place to help the government’s efficacy. There are now proposals to keep those emergency actions in place and turn them into state law.
The legislation is being called the Kentucky Voters’ Bill of Rights. Included on this bill of rights are: early in-person voting, absentee ballots that don’t require an excuse to use one, a cure process for correcting absentee ballots, extending voting hours to 7 p.m., automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, repealing straight-ticket voting, advance notice if a polling place changes, restoring voting rights for felons, expanding felony expungement, and citizen input when redistricting happens.
This could possibly mean future elections will have a slightly different process. Make sure to stay up to date with this bill so you’ll know if this will apply to you as a voter.
2021 Session Start Date
The 2021 legislative session will begin on January 5, 2021. The General Assembly’s calendar also shows that March 30 is the final adjournment. Since this is an odd-numbered year, the legislative session will occur in two parts. You may be wondering why the start date isn’t occurring until the fifth.
The first four days of the year will be for members to do organizational work. During this time, bills will be introduced, legislative leaders will be elected, committees will be organized, and other important tasks so the legislative process can run smoothly will also be completed.
After this period, February 2 marks the second part of the session. On March 17, there is a recess period where lawmakers can review bills sent to them. They will consider if they’re going to support the bill or veto it. March 30 is the last date of the session.
Other Upcoming Bills Kentucky Residents Should Look Out For
There are two bills that are looking to limit the governor’s executive orders during a state of emergency, BR 66 and BR 130. Kentucky was in a state of emergency because of the ongoing pandemic. The state had recently undergone a mask mandate because the governor passed an executive order to do so. For 30 days, residents of Kentucky who were in public had to wear a mask.
The bills that are seeking to limit this power aim to have the General Assembly have a part of this process. There’s also a proposal for executive orders to expire after 14 days. The expiration after this period of time could be extended if Kentucky legislature approves it.
The lawmakers who support this bill are saying that the governor’s power for state of emergencies is typically for short-term emergencies. This could be the aftermath of a bad storm where people need immediate relief. The stress of the pandemic has stretched for nearly all of 2020 and they believe there should be different laws in place for this kind of situation.
On the other side, there is concern about the time limit on executive orders. If the General Assembly needs to be brought into a session, that’s 138 members. This could cost taxpayers if this is necessary each time.
While there is support and skepticism of this bill, all lawmakers will be able to hear the reasoning behind the bill and see if they approve of its proposed changes. The elected officials in charge will do what they think is best for the residents of Kentucky.
The General Assembly has 100 bills that have already been filed to be reviewed in the next legislative session. There are plenty of issues for residents to look out for and follow.
At Golden Law Office, we want to help residents of Kentucky stay updated on the laws of our state. It’s important to be well-informed so you can head into 2021 knowing what to expect from the state government. If you have any questions, reach out to us here.