By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A bill that would give domestic violence protections to dating couples passed out of a House committee on Wednesday for the fifth time in five years.
Kentucky is one of only two states that does not allow domestic violence protections for dating couples. Civil protection orders are only available in Kentucky to people who have been married, have a child in common or live together.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 0 in favor of House Bill 9, but five members opted not to vote on the measure. It now heads to the full House. Similar bills have died in the Republican-led Senate in previous years.
Opponents of the proposal have pointed out that dating couples may file criminal charges in cases of domestic violence. Supporters counter that allowing couples to work through the civil court system could save the state as much as $85 million a year. In addition, advocates say that civil protective orders are generally served immediately, are often taken more seriously by police, and may last for an extended time.