By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT –Gov. Steve Beshear called on state lawmakers Wednesday to approve a bill that would allow dating partners to obtain protective and domestic violence court orders.
Beshear, speaking at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda to publicize Domestic Violence Awareness Month, said, “It’s time to pass legislation in the House and Senate that will provide the same protections for dating couples as the law currently provides for those who are married or those who live in the same residence.”
House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who is sponsoring the bill, said it would apply to all dating couples, including those of the same sex.
Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said the governor “supports the expansion of domestic violence laws to include dating couples as Rep. Tilley explained.”
The measure has not been successful in past legislative sessions.
But Tilley said his committee will consider it Jan. 8, the second day of the 2014 General Assembly and that Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, has told him that his committee will consider it. Westerfield could not be immediately reached for comment.
Tilley said dating couples should be protected, “something more than 40 other states already provide.
“I am committed to doing all I can to make sure the commonwealth is on that list.”
The Kentucky Domestic Violence Association said Kentucky is one of only three states that do not provide protection for dating violence victims.
It said women between the ages of 20 and 24 are at greatest risk of intimate partner violence and that up to 50 percent of intimate partner violence occurs between unmarried individuals.
Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, also is working on legislation that would prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to tenants with domestic violence protective orders.