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Recent Amendments to the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts
Posted on September 4, 2018 by Morgain Patterson in Open Meetings/Open Records

Recently, the Kentucky Office of Attorney General sent out a communication notifying Mayors and City Attorneys of legislation that amends the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts. The information contained the following summaries:

On April 26, 2018, HB 592, amending the Open Meetings Act, KRS 61.800 to 61.850, took effect.  The legislation amended KRS 61.826 to allow public agencies to conduct any meeting through video teleconference.  Prior to the amendment, closed sessions of public meetings could not be conducted through video teleconference.  The legislation also amended KRS 61.826 to require a public agency to precisely identify a primary location of a video teleconference meeting where all members can be seen and heard, and the public may attend in accordance with KRS 61.840.  Prior to the amendment, the statute required the notice to identify all video teleconference locations as well as which, if any, location was primary.

On July 14, 2018, HB 302, amending the Open Records Act, KRS 61.870 to 61.884, became effective.  That legislation amended KRS 61.810 to include selection committees established under KRS Chapters 45A and 56 as exceptions to the open meeting requirements until the award of the contract or cancellation of the procurement.  HB 302 also amended KRS 61.878 to exclude “communications of a purely personal nature unrelated to any governmental function” as a public record.  The legislation also amended KRS 61.878 to include information identifying members of selection committees and records of the procurement processes established under KRS Chapters 45A and 56 as exceptions to the open record requirements.  It also amended KRS 56.8169 to clarify that KRS 61.810 and 61.878 apply to the selection process for built-to-suit contracts.

These legislative changes trigger a duty for Mayors to distribute publications to each official and member of every legislative body, board, commission, authority or committee. This includes special districts “located within their jurisdiction” regardless of whether it is a joint board, i.e. tourism commission or code enforcement board. In the case of a joint board, the Mayor must distribute the publications to those board members appointed by the city. “Your Duty Under the Law” and “Managing Government Records” are the publications that Mayors must distribute. The Mayor may also assign a designee with that task, however the duty to distribute the publications ultimately falls to the Mayor. Within 60 days of the receipt of the information from the Attorney General, the Mayor must distribute the publications.

But wait, there is more. With elections closing in, it is important to remember that Mayors are also saddled with the duty to distribute these publications to newly elected officials and newly appointed board or commission members. Again, the magic number is 60. Within 60 days of when the term of office begins (January 1 for newly elected officials and the next meeting for new appointees) the Mayor must distribute the publications.

Attached are the pdf versions of the updated publications.

Even though the Managing Government Records document has not been updated since August 2015, the statute does not differentiate between that and the newly minted Your Duty Under the Law. If either is amended, both must be distributed by the Mayor.

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Body-Worn Camera Open Records Requests
Posted on August 14, 2018 by Courtney Risk Straw in Police Department

Body-Worn Camera Open Records Requests

House Bill 373, a KLC Initiative passed during the 2018 session, created a new law that reduces the burden on cities in complying with open records requests involving body-worn camera recordings.  Now, KRS 61.168 and KRS 61.169 govern disclosure of body-worn camera recordings.  Prior to the changes, the body-worn camera recordings were treated like any other public record.  The new statutes balances continued transparency of law enforcement agencies with citizens’ right to privacy and the burden on cities in complying with the requests.

More detail on the changes may be found in the Legislative Update.

The following flow chart walks through the statute to help you determine what may or may not be disclosed under the new statute.  While this chart provides general guidance, each disclosure determination will be very fact-specific.  Make sure to consult your city attorney or KLC Legal Services for additional assistance.

When releasing body-worn camera recordings to an attorney pursuant to KRS 61.168(5)(d) and 61.169, cities may utilize the Affidavit In Support of Limited Release of Body-Worn Camera Recordings.  The Affidavit User Guide and other information can be found here, as well as a Word version of the affidavit.    


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Reminder on Quota Retail by the Drink Change
Posted on August 14, 2018 by Chris Johnson in Alcohol Beverage Control

Quota Retail by the Drink Change

As of June 7, 2018, quota retail drink licenses are now treated the same as all other alcohol licenses that cities may issue due to the regulatory repeal of 804 KAR 9:050.  This means that any city that does not have a limitation on the number of quota retail by the drink licenses placed upon them by statute, like the City of Ashland does, may issue these licenses in the same manner that any other alcohol license sought from the city is issued. 

In the last legislative session, Senate Bill 110 codified the quota system as to quota retail package licenses leaving the status of quota retail drink licenses relatively unchanged.  Therefore the regulatory repeal now means that the license is treated the same as the other 28 city alcohol licenses that a city may currently issue under KRS 243.070.  

Should you have any questions, please contact the KLC Legal Department at 800-876-4552

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Background Checks for Youth Programs
Posted on June 26, 2018 by Morgain Patterson in Human Resources Blog

EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2018:

BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR YOUTH PROGRAMS

After each legislative session, every city carefully reviews the KLC Legislative Update to make a color-coded chart denoting effective dates any new requirements for cities right? Well, in the real world, you have us to remind you instead.

In 2017, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted SB 236 to require background checks for youth programs. Many of our cities are impacted by this statute. KRS 194A.382 prohibits any youth camp that receives public funds from employing, contracting or utilizing as a volunteer a person who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a minor or a sex crime, who is a violent offender, or who the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has determined to have abused or neglected a child. As explained in KLC’s 2017 legislative update, effective July 1, 2018, prior to employing, contracting with or allowing a person to volunteer, a youth camp receiving public funds must:

1. Obtain from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet a national and state criminal background check of the applicant, contractor or volunteer prior to the individual’s presence at the camp or involvement in any program of the camp; and

2. Require applicants to obtain a letter from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services stating the individual is clear to hire based on no findings of substantiated child abuse or neglect found through a background check of child abuse and neglect records maintained by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

  Of course, this begs the question of what is a youth camp? KRS 194A.380(4) defines a youth camp broadly as follows:  “Youth Camp” or “camp” means:

  1. Any camp required pursuant to KRS 211.180 to obtain a permit to operate; and
  2. Any program offered, whether free or for a fee, for recreational, educational, sports training, or vacation purposes to children under eighteen (18) years of age that a child attends outside the presence of his or her parent or legal guardian.

In our conversations with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, KLC confirmed that this definition includes local government parks and recreation programs and youth sports programs that receive public funds. Public school districts, private schools, child-care centers, child-caring and child-placing agencies, foster care, relative caregiver services and adoptive homes governed by KRS Chapter 199 and babysitting or child-care arrangements made by a child’s parent or guardian occurring in a private home are all exempt from these requirements. Note, for programs run by other entities on city property, the entity running the program is responsible for obtaining the necessary checks. But, programs run by a city are covered by the statute.

The statute requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to promulgate administrative regulations and adopt forms for youth program operators to use. Unfortunately, this regulation has run into a few snags and will not be final until at least August of 2018. So what can a city do when the statute will be in effect before the regulation?

KLC recommends requiring potential employees, contractors and volunteers at youth programs to obtain a criminal background check and abuse/neglect checks using the following forms:

  1. The Kentucky State Police Request for Conviction Records – Employment/Professional License
    http://kentuckystatepolice.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/employment_rev11_10.pdf
  2. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Youth Camp Employee, Contractor, or Volunteer Central Registry Check
    http://manuals.sp.chfs.ky.gov/Resources/sopFormsLibrary/DPP-156 Central Registry Check.doc

The city operating the youth camp should retain these forms along with the employee, contractor or volunteer application. Please note that there are open records implications for criminal records and abuse/neglect records. Call KLC with any questions on what to release.

Finally, a city operating a youth camp covered by these requirements must post a sign at each camp it operates. The sign must state the following:

State law requires a national and state criminal background check and a letter from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services stating the employee is clear to hire based on no findings of substantiated child abuse or neglect found through a background check of child abuse and neglect records as a condition of employment or involvement in this program.

These requirements are mandatory on any city or other entity operating a covered camp. Anyone who owns or operates a covered youth camp and who knowingly allows an individual who has been convicted of or has entered a guilty plea to a sex crime or criminal offense against a minor, who is a violent offender, or who has been found by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to have abused or neglected a child shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for each subsequent offense.

KLC will continue monitoring and awaiting the adoption of regulations and will continue updating our members on changes regarding the youth camp requirements. Please contact Morgain M. Sprague at msprague@klc.org or (859) 977-4212 with any questions.

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KLC is offering to facilitate a meeting for cities interested in discussing opioid damages litigation as a class.
Posted on April 3, 2018 by Morgain Patterson in Opioid Litigation

“…junk (opioids) is the inoculation of death that keeps the body in a condition of emergency.” Burroughs, William S., JUNKIE: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict.

Kentucky is one of the states most severely impacted by opioid drug abuse. As early as 1998, prescription drug abuse in Kentucky was sufficiently severe as to spur policy-makers into creating the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (KASPER). With this system, policy-makers sought to monitor the medical use of controlled substances to dissuade prescription drug abuse. KASPER is a vital tool in providing data on prescription drugs. However, it has not been enough to prevent the death of many Kentuckians.

Since 1998, legislation requiring employers to select insurance policies that funds substance abuse treatment, expanding KASPER to make the data available to public safety persons, restrictions on prescription drug prescribing, and state funding for substance abuse treatment have all been signed into law in an effort to address Kentucky’s severe substance abuse problem. By 2000, despite these efforts to discourage prescription drug abuse, four Kentucky counties reached an overdose rate of more than 20 per 100,000 people. That number tripled in 2014 as 64 of Kentucky’s counties matched that overdose rate.  https://www.healthy-ky.org/res/images/resources/Full-Substance-Use-Brief-Final_12_16-002-.pdf. Substance abuse data is collected based upon county of residence, thus city specific data is not available.

Substance Abuse substantially impacts our cities in Kentucky. In recent decades, cities have dedicated significant portions of every budget to counter the impact of the opioid epidemic. Initially the costs were simply the man hours spent by emergency responders combatting drug-related crime and rescuing neglected children. As the epidemic progressed, cities dedicated more resources to social services and public safety, floundering in the effort to save ravaged communities. Costs to the cities include lost productivity for workers, increased insurance costs, workers’ compensation claims, and unemployment insurance costs for effected employees, contamination remediation for drug affected properties, safety equipment for city workers to avoid needle sticks, etc.

Municipalities throughout the United States have suffered significant monetary losses, similar to those in Kentucky, linked to the opioid addiction epidemic. Recognizing that the pharmaceutical industry bears a significant amount of the blame[1], hundreds of local governments, insurers and other plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in seeking monetary damages in federal court. In Kentucky, over 50 counties have filed suit for damages.

Multi-party lawsuits seeking damages caused by the opioid epidemic are best litigated by lawyers who specialize in class action cases. Last year, a litigation group approached KLC seeking to represent municipalities interested in joining the lawsuit filed in federal court in Cleveland. After several meetings with the group, KLC retained the group to recover damages from losses sustained in our workers’ compensation insurance department for opioid prescriptions. There are no up-front costs to KLC; instead, the litigation group recovers its fees if it is successful in winning the case. This type of fee arrangement is called a contingency fee.

KLC is offering to facilitate a meeting for any group of cities interested in discussing whether to pursue this type of litigation as a class.

For more information regarding drug abuse policies please see the following:

 https://odcp.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

http://cdar.uky.edu/

Please contact Morgain M. Sprague, Director of Municipal Law and Training with any questions at (859) 977-4212.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Eiselt, Erich, “Too Much of a Bad Thing: Municipalities and the Opioid Curse.” Municipal Lawyer: The Journal of Local Government Law March-April 2018: pp. 6-15. Print.

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City Information Reporting Deadline for City Clerks - January 31
Posted on December 21, 2017 by Andrea Shindlebower in Reporting Requirements

City Information Reporting Deadline for City Clerks -- January 31

KRS 83A.085 requires the city clerk to provide to the Department for Local Government (DLG) a list containing the names of the mayor, legislative body members, and the following appointed officials who are serving as of January 1 of each year:
a. City clerk;                                                                                   
b. City treasurer;
c. City manager;
d. City attorney;
e. Finance director;
f. Police chief;
g. Fire chief; and
h. Public works director.

In addition, the clerk should also provide the correct name of the city, mailing address for city hall, telephone number of city hall and the name and telephone number of either an elected or appointed official to serve as a contact person that may be reached during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The form http://kydlgweb.ky.gov/Documents/Cities/City%20Official%20Updates%20FORM%20FY%202018-revised2-17.xls provided by DLG identifies the information needed. This information must be received by DLG no later than January 31 of each year.  The Kentucky League of Cities is also requesting that this information be sent to KLC, so that we will also have the most accurate information.  Information on how to submit this form for both entities is below.

Cities and Special Districts Branch
Email: dlg-csd@ky.gov
Department for Local Government
1024 Capital Center Drive, Ste. 340
Frankfort, KY 40601

Elizabeth Schepens
Email: eschepens@klc.org
Kentucky League of Cities
100 East Vine Street, Ste. 800
Lexington, KY 40507

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