A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ky. House passes bills on election issues, battlefield preservation and sexual assault victims rights

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The Kentucky House passed five bills Monday, dealing with such topics as elections, battlefield preservation and the rights of sexual assault victims.

House Bill 388, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, deals with elections. It would change when county board of election members are chosen so that their first election would not be during a Presidential Election year. It would also allow registered independents to serve as precinct election officials, allow more than one precinct to share election officials if they are in the same building and allow absentee ballots to be verified but not counted on the day before an election.

House members passed five bills on Monday on election issues, battlefield preservation and rights of sexual assault victims. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

House Bill 319, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Elliot, R-Danville, would create the Kentucky Battlefield Preservation Fund.

“Kentucky has significant battlefield sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, which were important to the formation of our nation,” he told his colleagues. “Places like Logan’s Fort in Stanford, Blue Licks Battlefield near Mount Olivet and Perryville Battlefield in my district are important sites that need to be protected.

“Nearly 90 percent of the Perryville Battlefield is preserved, and 100 percent is achievable, giving Kentucky the only battlefield of the Civil War to be 100 percent secure.”

His bill would allow the Kentucky Heritage Council to work with non-profits when state funds are available to match gifts, grants or federal funds to protect battlefields and sites associated with the Underground Railroad, which was used to transport escaped slaves to freedom.

House Bill 356, dealing with the rights of sexual assault victims, grew out of a case where a northern Kentucky girl was raped by a man twice her age in the state of Ohio, according to sponsor, Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas.

“The young girl, while residing in Kentucky. gave birth to a child conceived as a result of the Ohio rape,” Fischer said. “The man was later convicted of sexual assault in Ohio and is now seeking custody and visitation rights in the Kentucky Family Court system.”

In 2015, the General Assembly gave victims like her the right to deny visitation and custody to the convicted perpetrator, but only for Kentucky cases. HB 356 would extend that right to out-of-state convictions too.

All three measures passed by identical 84-0 votes and now head to the Senate.

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