A bill that was introduced back in September of 2023 has now been filed, and while it's labeled as anti-crime legislation, there are some very mixed opinions on what this new law could mean.

House Bill 5 aka the "Safer Kentucky Act"

The bill has a wide span of what it will cover, including the worsening distribution of illegal substances such as fentanyl. The controversial act is slated to have stricter policies and harsher penalties regarding drug trafficking, vandalism, evading law enforcement, attempted murder, and other crimes. What they are labeling a "three-strikes proposal" would crack down on repeat offenders. Once the individual accumulates three violent crime felonies, said person would spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"The first duty of any civilized society is to protect its honest citizens from those that prey on its innocent fellow citizens," Rep. Jared Bauman, R-Louisville, said Tuesday. "Crime is something that directly impacts every single Kentuckian and it is with a deep sense of purpose and value we put forth the critical reforms in the Safer Kentucky Act."

READ A SUMMARY OF HB5 HERE

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Direct impacts on homeless around the state

"HB 5" would be a serious new legislation brought down by state GOP lawmakers and is raising some eyebrows in terms of what this will mean for illegal homeless encampments. House Bill 5 would criminalize illegal campsites for the state's homeless population and those residing in undesignated areas. It would place a ban on street camping in the majority of public locations.

There will be some location exceptions, being areas that are deemed ok by the local government stating that the sanitation needs will be met. Mandates will also be implemented for any permanent housing provided by the state/local governments to enforce certain requirements for housing eligibility for its residents.

"Behavioral and rehabilitative requirements shall at a minimum include requirements that individuals utilizing such initiatives cease or refrain from the illicit use of controlled substances and excessive use of alcohol, consent to treatment of any mental health conditions, and refrain from any criminal activity," the bill includes.

Republican John Hodgson from Louisville stated on behalf of the bill,

"Studies show that somewhere around 70 percent or more of the unsheltered homeless population has either serious mental illness or drug abuse problems. Many of those individuals choose to not seek rehab. And there's nothing compassionate about leaving someone on the street with untreated mental illness and drug addiction,"

According to "safe travel-abroad.com", Louisville is the top-ranking most dangerous city in the state. This includes a violent crime rate of 6.9 incidences per 1,000 city residents.

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You Might Be From Kentucky If...

I'm sure there can be 50 versions of this concept, but we'll let the other 49 states deal with their own. We're here for the Bluegrass State.

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer

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