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Proposed Kentucky bill would protect drivers who hit protestors

Citywide protests have become increasingly common across the nation. Complaints against protestors range from their inconvenience to residents to their ideologies. When a protestor was killed after being hit by a car in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, however, a new question arose: what legal responsibility do drivers who hit protestors, who may be blocking the street intentionally, bear?

That's the question that a new bill proposed in the Kentucky state legislature aims to answer. This bill, sponsored by Rep. C. Wesley Morgan (R-Madison) and filed on October 24, would remove legal punishment (either civil or criminal) for a driver who hits a protestor and causes injury or death - provided that the driver does not intentionally hit the protestor, and that the protest involved does not have a permit.

Additionally, the bill would provide a penalty in the form of a Class A misdemeanor (the most serious type of misdemeanor) for any protestor who wears a hood or mask while participating, or who intentionally blocks traffic when no permit for the protest exists. According to Kentucky law, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison, in addition to possible fines and fees of up to $500.

Currently, Kentucky law does not make provisions for injuries incurred during protests but does address issues such as unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

The Kentucky legislature is scheduled to convene on Jan. 2.

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