Bill signing ceremony occurred during annual Prevent Child Abuse ‘Pinwheel Planting’
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2023) – This morning at the state Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear joined First Lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, leaders of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, lawmakers and advocates to declare April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Governor also signed into law three bills to help protect children from abuse.
The group also planted thousands of “pinwheels for prevention” in the garden on the front lawn of the Capitol. The blue and silver pinwheels help educate communities and raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. The Governor also joined Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky’s “Lean on Me Kentucky” pledge campaign, which encourages Kentuckians to help their neighbors in times of need and to seek help when they need it.
“As a dad to two young kids, I believe there’s nothing more important than protecting our children,” Gov. Beshear said. “Unfortunately, far too many kids in our commonwealth suffer from abuse and neglect – but we all can be a part of the solution, helping support education and prevention.”
Senate Bill 229
Sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, the bill strengthens reporting requirements when Kentuckians have reason to believe a child has been abused, neglected or is a victim of human trafficking.
House Bill 78
Sponsored by Rep. Kim Banta of Ft. Mitchell, the bill clarifies the legal definition of incest to make sure more people are protected from this hideous crime.
“HB 78 provides law enforcement and criminal justice system the tools it needs to protect our most vulnerable from sexual abuse. No one wants to think of such a brutal act, but it does indeed happen and the perpetrators must be held accountable in order to allow victims to heal,” Rep. Banta said. “This measure passed both the House and Senate without a single dissenting vote. I appreciate the Governor bringing attention to it and hope that victims of incest see this as overwhelming support for them.”
Senate Bill 80
Sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll of Benton, this bill ensures that registered sex offenders can’t come within 1,000 feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, publicly owned or leased playground, or licensed day care facility.
Even before his time as Governor, Gov. Beshear – along with First Lady Britainy Beshear – was an ally in the fight to protect children from abuse. As attorney general, his office arrested record numbers of child predators and trained thousands of Kentuckians to recognize, report and prevent child abuse and human trafficking.
Then-Attorney General Beshear created the Office of Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention. During that time, he and Mrs. Beshear worked with community partners to open the Hope Gallery – a collection of artworks on display at the Capitol that featured images created by children served by Maryhurst Family Scholar House, Volunteers of America and Silverleaf.
Their work has continued in the Office of the Governor. Last year, the First Lady spoke at a blue ribbon ceremony to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month and led a panel at a conference for the National Coalition for the Prevention of Human Sex Trafficking.
Gov. Beshear has also signed multiple bills into law that protect children from abuse and that go after abusers, including bills that increased punishments for adults who possess, view or distribute child pornography; that extended the statute of limitations for misdemeanor sex offenses against children; that strengthened background checks for employees and volunteers who work with children; and that increased the amount of time incest offenders spend in prison.