Common Ground: Bipartisan Victims' Rights Bills

04/09/2018 05:40 PM

The 2018 Session seems to have been filled with partisan bickering—fueled by protests and attacks on the opposite party.

For outsiders looking in it seems as if Republicans and Democrats in Kentucky don’t agree on anything. However, there were several bills signed into law this session that received bipartisan sponsorship, and passed unanimously through both chambers.

As Pure Politics has reported, this was a big year for victims’ rights as several bills aimed at protecting victims sailed through both the House and Senate. This week’s Common Ground focuses on several of those bills.

Senate Bill 109, key sponsor was Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, but two Democrats, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, and Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, added their names as co-sponsors. This bill changes the definition of rape and sodomy to ensure all body parts are included in the law defining rape and sodomy. Kentucky law had previously only included penile and foreign objects.

Senate Bill 68 is another bill that racked up wide bipartisan support and sailed through both chambers without a single no vote. This bill, named “Jeanette’s Law,” clarifies divorce law making it so the victim of domestic violence is not required to pay the legal fee of their abusive partner in divorce proceedings when the spouse is in jail for crimes against the victim.

House Bill 70 , the bipartisan measure seeks to prevent sex offender registrants from coming into contract with minors online or through any other means of electronic communication.

House Bill 71, is another measure that deals with protecting victims online. This bill received a variety of bipartisan sponsors, and relates to revenge porn. The bill makes is a Class A Misdemeanor for someone to post or distribute sexually explicit images without consent, any offender who repeats the crime could be charged with a felony.

Finally, House Bill 120 says that material containing child pornography or anything of a sexual nature related to a minor may only be stored if the material must be used as an exhibit during trial.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, spoke about the feeling of working across the aisle to help with victims’ rights.

“The wait is sometimes painfully long, but when the results come through and you are able to pass a bill and a lot of people stand up together to do it, Republicans Democrats, everybody, man the reward is enormous. Because you know you’ve made a difference, we’ve all made a difference,” he said.

All of these bills have been signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Watch the segment:

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

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