Louisville GOP Lawmakers File “Safer Kentucky Act”

A coalition of Republican legislators fed up with violence around Louisville have filed an omnibus bill aimed at stunting violent crime.

House Bill 5, also known as the Safer Kentucky Act, was filed on Tuesday, the 6th Day of the legislative session, which coincided with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Sponsored by Rep. Jared Bauman, R-Louisville, the bill calls for increased penalties for violent crimes like murder. The bill also includes language that would create a three-strikes provision for persistent violent felony offenders, a defined carjacking crime, language aimed at reducing recidivism, and an attempt to regulate unlawful camping by mandating local governments not to adopt or enforce a policy that prohibits unlawful camping (sections 17 through 20 of the bill).

“The first duty of any civilized society is to protect its honest citizens from those that prey on its innocent fellow citizens,” Bauman said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Crime is something that directly impacts every single Kentuckian, and it is with a deep sense of purpose and value that we put forward the critical reforms in the Safer Kentucky Act.”

The Act comes after increased crime in the Louisville area and has been publicly discussed since September of last year.

The Safer Kentucky Act includes multiple bills and provisions:

Targeting Violent Persistent Felony Offenders – “Three Strikes Law”

Enhancing the Penalty for Fentanyl Delivery Causing Overdose Death

Increasing the Penalty for Smuggling Contraband into a Detention Facility

Regulating Bail Funding Organizations – Madelynn’s Law

  • It prevents charitable organizations from furnishing bail of $5,000 or more.
  • It makes it unlawful to furnish bail, regardless of the amount, for a violent offense or for a person being held under a civil court order or warrant pursuant to Casey’s Law.
  • Requires photo identification for any person who posts bail.
  • Requires a charitable bail organization to maintain and make an annual report to the legislature and make it publicly available on the organization’s website.

The provision referred to as “Madelynn’s Law” to regulate bail funding organizations is named for Madelynn Troutt, a 17-year-old girl killed in a head-on collision with a man just hours after he was released from jail on bail posted by a nonprofit bail fund. The man was speeding down the wrong side of the road in a stolen vehicle.

Cracking Down on a Fleeing the Police – Jake’s Law

The provision referred to as “Jake’s Law” to crack down on a person fleeing the police is named for Jake Luxemburger, a 10-year-old boy who was killed instantly in a collision with a man who led the police on a chase while driving a stolen vehicle.

Strengthening Shopkeeper’s Privilege

Increasing Penalties for Attempted Murder

Requiring Parents to Attend Juvenile Court Hearings

Supporting Successful Re-Entry for Those Leaving Incarceration

Creating a Kentucky Statute for Carjacking

Increasing Penalties for Vandalism

  • Changes the felony amount of vandalism damage to $500.
  • Allows for charges to be a Class B misdemeanor if the defendant, prior to trial, effects repair or replacement of the damaged property, completes community service, or makes complete reimbursement in the amount of the damages.

Removing Early Release for Criminals Using Guns in Crimes

Improving Protocol for Involuntary Confinement for the Mentally Ill

Modifying Rules on Auction of Confiscated Murder Weapons

Combating Street Camping to Improve Rights of Property Owners

Enhancing the Penalty for the Murder of a First Responder

Reforming the Parole Board

Hardening Sentences for Adults Using Juveniles as Criminal Accomplices

Cracking Down on Drive by Shooters

Protecting Places of Business from Threats of Mass Violence

Addressing Threats or Plans of Violence Intended to Target Schools

  • Requires a school employee who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a person has made threats or plans of violence that are intended to target a school or students or who knows that a firearm is present on school property and shall immediately report the matter to law enforcement.

Updating Witness Intimidation Statute

Reducing Recidivism

Improving Protections for Victims of Domestic and Dating Violence

  • Increasing penalties for people who repeatedly violate orders of protection to a Class D felony.

Forty-five members of the House have co-sponsored the bill, and the sponsor expects more support in the coming weeks.