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New Kentucky Laws Go On The Books Today


By JOE BIESK
Associated Press Writer

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Clogging is already Kentucky's state dance, the Appalachian dulcimer is the state instrument and "My Old Kentucky Home" has been the official state song for years. As of this week, add bluegrass music to the list. Along with its fiddles and banjo twang, bluegrass will become Kentucky's official music when most new laws passed by the 2007 General Assembly take effect Tuesday.

"Bluegrass music is 100 percent true Kentucky music," state Rep. Teddy Edmonds, who sponsored the bill that made the designation, said.

Lawmakers passed 121 new laws while in session this year. The bulk of those take effect on Tuesday, although some had emergency stipulations that put them in effect with the governor's signature and others had different specified start dates.

Beginning Tuesday, breast-feeding mothers can get temporarily excused from jury duty. And, the state Transportation Cabinet will have the authority to raise speed limits on some roads up to 70 mph.

Transportation spokesman Doug Hogan said it was still uncertain exactly when the change would take place, but it was possible it would be after the Fourth of July holiday.

Convicted sex offenders will be required to register their Internet identities with the state, and cell phones will be off-limits to school bus drivers while they're driving students. It will be illegal for flower shops to misrepresent in directories where their businesses are located, and funeral directors must provide a military burial rights fact sheet for deceased veterans.

It's appropriate for Kentucky to designate bluegrass as its official music since Bill Monroe, who is considered to be the genre's father, was born in Ohio County, said Gabrielle Gray, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro.

"We've known all along that this was our state music," Gray said. "We've known that this was our heritage."

In the 1930s and 1940s, Monroe melded different musical components to form bluegrass music. He named his band the Bluegrass Boys in honor of his home state, and the genre was eventually labeled after his band, said Fred Bartenstein, a bluegrass historian.

Kentucky adopted Monroe's song "Blue Moon of Kentucky" as its official bluegrass song in 1988.

Also...

- It becomes a felony for someone to participate in human trafficking.

- Cell phones will be off-limits to school bus drivers while they're driving around pupils.

- It will be illegal for flower shops to misrepresent where their businesses are located.

- Funeral directors must provide a military burial rights fact sheet for deceased veterans.

- State Transportation Cabinet will have the authority to raise speed limits on some roads up to 70 mph.

- Kentucky's minimum wage will increase from $5.15 to $5.85. By July 2009, the minimum wage will reach $7.25.

- Family members of dead or disabled military veterans will have state education benefits available.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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