Lawmakers share plan with legislative committee to criminalize hazing

Two Kentucky lawmakers plan to file legislation in 2023 to make hazing a crime in the Commonwealth.
Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, and Rep. Jonathan Dixon, R-Corydon, testified before the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary this week alongside the parents of 18-year-old Lofton Hazelwood. Hazelwood, a University of Kentucky student and Henderson native, died of alcohol toxicity at a fraternity house last year. The bill will be known as Lofton’s Law.
Mills and Dixon’s proposed anti-hazing legislation defines hazing as an action which endangers the mental or physical health of a minor or student for the purpose of recruitment, initiation into, affiliation with or enhancing or maintaining membership or status within any organization.

Activities that would be considered hazing under this law include causing, coercing or forcing a minor or student to violate federal or state law; consume any food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, drug, tobacco product or other controlled substance; endure physical brutality, endure sexual brutality and other activities that endanger the person’s physical and mental health.
Under this proposed legislation, a person would be guilty of first-degree hazing, a class D felony, if he or she intentionally or wantonly participates in hazing that results in serious physical injury or death. A person would be guilty of second-degree hazing, a class A misdemeanor, if he or she recklessly participates in the act of hazing.

As of Oct. 20, Mills and Dixon have not submitted an interim working draft related to anti-hazing for the 2023 legislative session. During the interim, the Kentucky General Assembly cannot take any action on legislation. The 2023 legislative session begins Jan. 3.

The next Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary meeting is currently scheduled for Nov. 3 at 11 a.m.

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