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Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


New laws impacting jails, elections and open meetings go into effect

By Kayla Carter Smith, Policy Analyst
The new laws went into effect July 14.

The Kentucky Constitution requires that an act becomes law 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns unless the act contains a delayed effective date or an emergency clause that triggers the effective date as soon as the governor signs the bill or 10 days after passage. For the 2022 legislative session, the 90-day mark fell July 14. 

Among the new laws on the books, three important bills impacting counties that went into effect July 14 are described below. For a comprehensive list of bills affecting counties that passed during the 2022 legislative session, click here.

Jail fees charged to prisoners

HB 590 (Rep. Meredith) reinstates the ability of counties to assess a per diem amount to inmates for their housing while in the county jail.

Summary: A Kentucky Supreme Court decision last fall stopped the imposition and collection of the fee, costing counties valuable revenue for operations. This bill requires the fee to be paid out of the prisoner’s initial canteen account deposit and up to 50 percent of any subsequent deposit shall be used to pay the inmate’s per diem. If the prisoner is not convicted, they owe nothing more and will be reimbursed for any expenses already paid.


SB 216 (Sen. Mills) amends voting equipment statutes and candidate postings.

Summary: The new law requires that voting equipment is under video surveillance for 30 days after an election and cannot be connected to the internet. It requires posting candidate filings from the county clerk onto the Secretary of State’s and county clerk websites.

Open meetings

HB 453 (Rep. Dixon) amends open meetings laws for public agencies, including fiscal courts.

Summary: The bill excludes meetings of any selection committee to select a successful bidder for award of a local contract from the open meetings requirement. The bill also amends virtual meeting laws:

  • Regular meetings that are switched to virtual can remain a regular meeting if the meeting occurs on the same date and time as originally scheduled and the public agency provides notice to the public, including providing specific information on how the public can view the meeting electronically.
  • Fiscal court members who participate in a virtual meeting must remain visible on camera at all times when business is being discussed.
  • Fiscal courts will no longer be required to provide a physical location for the public to view virtual meetings unless two or more members are attending from the same physical location.

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