Bill aimed at bolstering child safety laws advances

FRANKFORT – The state Senate passed a measure on Wednesday designed to give added protection to children with life-threating allergies and babies of struggling new parents by a 37-0 vote.

Known as House Bill 148, it would require the state Cabinet for Health & Family Services to write regulations allowing for licensed day cares or baby sitters to get prescriptions for epinephrine autoinjectors, commonly known by the brand name EpiPen. It is a medical device for the injection of a measured dose of adrenaline commonly used for the treatment of anaphylaxis.

An amendment to HB 148 would expand Kentucky’s Safe Infants Act of 2002 by allowing parents of newborns to have up to 30 days to surrender their baby at a state-approved “safe place” without facing criminal charges. Current law gives parents 72 hours after a child is born to leave the baby at safe place.

The amendment would also add churches or other places of worship to the list of approved safe places where an infant could be surrendered. The current law only includes hospitals, police stations, firehouses and emergency medical services (EMS) providers.

Under the Safe Infants Act, parents remain anonymous and cannot be pursued or prosecuted unless an abandoned infant shows signs of abuse or neglect.

“This bill is endorsed by many of our religious groups,” said Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, “and I think it is a very positive piece of legislation.”

A bill that would similarly expand Kentucky’s Safe Infants Act passed the state House of Representatives by a 92-1 vote on Jan. 25 and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee three days later.

HB 148 now goes back to the House for consideration of changes the Senate made to the bill.


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