Glasgow State Rep. Talks About High-Profile Bills

WBKO – Bowling Green, KY

Posted: 6:26 PM Mar 17, 2009
Last Updated: 7:44 PM Mar 17, 2009
Reporter: Daniel Kemp
Email Address: daniel.kemp@wbko.com

Kentucky lawmakers say a lot happened in a short amount of time during this year’s General Assembly.

Two high-profile bills that made their way through both the House and Senate this year came under the sponsorship of State Representative Johnny Bell, who represents Barren and part of Warren County.

Waiting for the governor sits a bill preventing cyber-stalking and a bill that would monitor payday lending.

They’re two bills passed that Representative Bell thinks will have a big impact across the state.

“Overall, the session went real positive. We were able to pass some substantial bills,” Rep. Bell explained.

Of those, a bill protecting children from sexual predators.

“We’ve got an ongoing problem with people who want to undertake that type of illegal activity,” Bell said.

Sponsored by Rep. Bell, the bill lets law enforcement into places like Facebook and Myspace.

It’s one that gained bi-partisan support, including a push from State Senator David Givens and Attorney General Jack Conway, who’s pushed the bill for two years.

“We’ve got to get to these kids. We got to get to these teachers and principals and let them know of the dangers lurking out there,” Conway said. “It’s a bill that will protect our children and I think that’s very important,” Rep. Bell added.

Another type of illegal activity Bell says the state is seeing?

Predatory lending.

Lawmakers estimate out of three-million payday lending loans a year in the Commonwealth, 30-percent of them are illegal.

That’s 900,000 illegal loans taking place in the state, and Bell says his payday lending bill would prevent that.

“Each payday lending industry will have to have a computer there that will have to be wired in to the office of the DFI in Frankfort, and that will be monitored as far as the data that’s coming in,” he said.

The bill would track information about people who borrow short-term loans from payday lenders, and if an individual has two loans in excess of $500, then that cycle of loans is rejected.

“It will give us the tool to enforce the law we already have on the books,” Bell said.

That plan also blocks new companies from doing business in the payday loan industry in Kentucky.

Both the House and Senate have passed the bill, but it’s unclear if the governor will sign off on it.

Bell says he does look for the governor to sign his cyber-stalking bill into law next week.

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