Bill increasing criminal penalties for crimes during natural, man-made disasters advances

Thieves looking to steal property in an area impacted by a natural or man-made disaster will face harsher penalties under Senate Bill 179.

The Kentucky House of Representatives approved the measure Tuesday.

During a declaration of emergency due to a natural or man-made disaster, those guilty of assault, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and robbery, will face stiffer punishments.

For example, first-degree burglary would become a Class A felony, second-degree burglary would become a Class B felony, and third-degree burglary would become a Class C felony during a declaration.

The House approved an amended version of SB 179 by an 84-10 vote. The Senate approved the original version of SB 179 by 34-1 vote on March 8th.

The Senate will have to vote to concur on the changes made to the bill by the House before it can be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.