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Domestic Violence Legislation Back In Front Of Lawmakers

Advocates for expanding domestic violence protections to couples in dating relationships are gearing up to press lawmakers on the issue once again in 2015 and Gov. Steve Beshear plans to make it a priority during the final year of his administration.

Efforts to grant the protections to dating couples go back a decade in Frankfort, but supporters have yet to successfully shepherd a bill through the General Assembly. Now, as Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs executive director Eileen Recktenwald tells cn|2 Pure Politics, advocates see the Commonwealth trailing the rest of the country.

"We're the last state, according to some folks, that doesn't have a measure that protects dating violence victims, so we're very interested and we've been trying for several years to get that to happen," she says.

But this year’s twin versions of the bill, submitted by Democratic Rep. John Tilley and Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield, are likely to encounter some of the same resistance similar measures have faced in the past.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers, again speaking with cn|2: "People say there are not protections for a young lady or a young man who are in a dating situation if violence occurs or is threatened or fear takes place? Well, there is. It's called a criminal warrant."

Tilley counters that civil protections against domestic violence are needed to provide immediate emergency protective orders . He and Westerfield say they’re hopeful 2015 could be the year the legislation gains enough support to pass.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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