The Legislative Research Commission (LRC) posts General Assembly bills on its web site and provides summaries of them so readers can better follow state government. It usually does a very good job.
But the importance of word choice can be critical to the meaning in a bill summary. And sometimes the wrong word can lead to confusion about what a new law would do.
Take, for instance, this description of HB 46, pre-filed for the 2009 session:
A reader depending on the bill summary above may be led to believe that what is being prohibited is the use of a communications device (cell phone or pager) on a motor vehicle that is not almost an antique. The problem is the word “that,” which isn’t usually used to refer to a person.
Therefore a minor on a moped may find himself, if this bill were passed, subject to a fine for talking while riding even though he thought he was in the clear by virtue of operating, say, a twenty year-old vehicle.
In addition to the imprecise language, there are several elements of the proposed law that are missing from the LRC’s bill summary. Youthful drivers in the state might be better served by reading the following instead from KentuckyVotes.org:
KentuckyVotes is a free service provided by the Bluegrass Institute.