By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The House passed a bill Monday that would make it easier for the federal government to track and block permits for those who have been declared mentally ill.
House Bill 308 requires Kentucky to notify the FBI when a court commits people to a mental institution or otherwise finds them mentally incompetent. The FBI would add the names of those people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, used by federally licensed gun dealers to screen their customers.
Federal law prohibits the sale of guns to anyone “adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution.” However, Kentucky is one of many states that does not notify the FBI when its courts make such decisions.
“The problem is that there is not a good clean reporting process,” said Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, and the bill’s sponsor. The House approved the bill 97-1.
The House on Monday also unanimously passed House Bill 4, which would allow the state to sue government contractors that knowingly defraud the state. The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg,would also allow whistle blowers that come forward a portion of the money recovered.
The bill would establish the Kentucky False Claims Act, mirroring a federal law that allows citizens to sue for fraud and recover damages on behalf of the government. Damages would be tripled. A similar bill passed the Senate in early January. However, Senate Bill 11 limits the false claims act to Medicaid contractors.