KENTUCKY — On this week’s In Focus Kentucky program, we are continuing to keep you up to date on legislation that is moving in this year’s Kentucky General Assembly.

One of those proposed bills that is gaining a lot of attention outside of the state capitol is the Safer Kentucky Act, which is a wide-ranging public safety bill filed by Louisville Republicans who say they want to address violent crime in their home county and across the state. 

After multiple hours of testimony and debate, the omnibus anti-crime bill was approved by the Kentucky House of Representatives by a vote of 74-22 on Jan. 25.

The measure, House Bill 5, is sponsored by Rep. Jared Bauman, R-Louisville, and has 49 co-sponsors.

During this segment, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the state house weigh in on the 74-page bill that includes expanding criminal charges for certain offenses, creating a statewide ban on street camping and imposing a three strikes law for repeat violent criminals.

“So the point is to figure out how we can identify people who are committing violence, how we can catch people who are committing violence, and then how we can put them away for a long time to protect the rest of our community. So that’s the major thrust of it. There are a number of provisions in the safer Kentucky Act. One in particular that I’m proud of is if there’s three violent offenses, it’s not your traditional Three Strikes Law, which I do not generally support. Because some of those capture too low-level offenders. But if you if you commit three acts of violence against our peaceable citizens, then you go to prison for the rest of your life, which I think is good because we don’t want to give you an opportunity to have a fourth individual that you commit violence again.” explains House Majority Whip Jason Nemes, R-Middletown.

“It sounds like some ideas that have been tried and failed in the past. You know, I think a lot of them, increased penalties, which means increasing incarceration rates. And we already have one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. I believe, if Kentucky was its some country, it would rank No. 7 in the world for incarceration rates. We have, I believe, the highest rate of female incarceration in the country so and I don’t think there’s data that shows that incarcerating people really helps to limit crime and we know that it leaves a ton of recidivism,” said House Minority Whip Rachel Roberts, D-Newport.

“Back in December, crime was impacting every single Kentuckian and with this bill, House Bill 5, we are reasserting some basic and simple truths. And that is that criminals, not society, are accountable for their actions. And society has the right to protect itself from the criminal element. And so that criminal element has become an all too normal part of our world today, as we know, and across generations, we are failing to provide the necessary foundation for Kentuckians to achieve prosperity,” shared State Rep. Jared Bauman, R-Louisville.

You can watch the full In Focus Kentucky segment in the player above.