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Flag law, others take effect in KY

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. flags flying over government
buildings in Kentucky will have to be made in America beginning on
Thursday.

That's the day most of the more than 100 new laws created by the
state legislature earlier this year will take effect, including one
that bans sex offenders from social networking Internet sites and
another that requires home health agencies to conduct criminal
background checks on employees.

The flag law drew widespread support in both the Senate and
House, passing both chambers without a single dissenting vote.
Lawmakers who ushered it through the legislative process said while
it sent an important patriotic message, it also was intended to
protect American jobs in textile factories that manufacture the
Stars and Stripes.

"So much of our strength is in our workers, and, when a flag
flutters in the wind, it has that additional meaning if its made in
the United States," said state Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore,
chairwoman of the House military affairs committee.

Other states, including Minnesota and Tennessee, have passed
similar laws since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, after which
Americans rushed out to buy flags in a show of patriotism. Domestic
manufacturers couldn't keep up with demand, opening the door for
imported flags.

Sales of imported flags surged from $1 million a year to nearly
$52 million a year in the weeks that followed the attacks.
Washington lawmakers took action, requiring the Defense Department
to buy American-made textiles and the Veterans Affairs Department
to use American-made flags for burials. And in the city where
Congress meets, only U.S.-made flags fly over the nation's Capitol.

Still, more than 8,000 other federal buildings - courthouses,
post offices, border stations and office buildings, among others -
are under no such obligation. That's because the U.S. has gone to
great pains to hammer out trade deals with other countries and
can't impose new limits after the fact.

The ban on sex offenders on sites like Facebook and MySpace is
aimed at preventing sex offenders from stalking children online.
Attorney General Jack Conway pushed for passage of the law, which
also requires registered sex offenders to report their e-mail
addresses, screen names and other online identities just as they're
required to provide their physical addresses.

The law requiring background checks for employees of home health
agencies also extends to any other personal service business that
sends employees into private homes. The law also bans the hiring of
anyone who has been convicted of abuse, drug crimes or sex crimes.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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