General Assembly sends bill making hazing a felony to Beshear’s desk
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The 2023 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly only has a few days left, and lawmakers are prioritizing bills that they want to make it to the governor’s desk.
It’s a piece of anti-hazing legislation in honor of a University of Kentucky student who died in 2021.
Senate Bill 9 went before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, and a closer look was taken at what’s in the bill.
Lofton Hazelwood was 18 years old, a young Wildcat with a lot of life left to live. An investigation found that while pledging at the FarmHouse fraternity at the University of Kentucky in 2021, he died of alcohol poisoning after reportedly drinking 18 shots of hard liquor.
Currently, Kentucky law places the burden on universities and colleges to enforce the acts of hazing, with a maximum penalty of expulsion for the student. SB 9 seeks to add Kentucky to a list of 13 other states that have elevated the act of hazing to criminal status.
His parents were there as a committee substitute was presented that made some clerical changes and narrowed the scope of the bill.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, says it will prevent other senseless tragedies and send a clear message that hazing cannot and will not be tolerated. It passed through the committee with a 15 to 1 vote.
Senate Bill 9 also passed the full House Wednesday afternoon and will now head to the governor’s desk.
Meanwhile, the CDC recently released new statistics that say teen drinking is on the decline, but 27 percent of female teens currently drink alcohol compared to 19 percent of male teens.
In 2021, 23 percent of high school students had drunk alcohol in the last 30 days.
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