Amish buggy legislation wins final passage in Ky.

Mar 27, 2012, 11:37 PM

Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky’s General Assembly gave final passage Tuesday to legislation that would exempt the Amish from a longstanding requirement that they affix bright orange safety triangles on their slow-moving buggies.

Lawmakers, in a debate watched by other states with sizable Amish populations like Kentucky, were left to weigh religious rights against traffic safety.

House legislators, voting 75-21, approved a bill that would allow the Amish to use reflective silver or white tape on the backs of their horse-drawn buggies _ instead of orange traffic triangles normally required for slow-moving vehicles. The Senate had unanimously passed the bill last month and the measure now goes to Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear hasn’t publicly signaled where he stands on the bill, which would take effect immediately if he signs it into law.

Several Amish farmers had served jail time in Kentucky for refusing to use the triangle emblems. They objected on religious grounds that the triangular shape represents the Trinity, which they are not allowed to display, and also called undue attention to them against the norms of their religion.

In Amish communities nationwide, fatal collisions between automobiles and buggies aren’t uncommon. The most recent one in Kentucky involved a SUV that crashed into the back of a buggy in Cub Run last November, killing the 18-year-old Amish driver, according to authorities. Several months earlier, officials reported, a tractor-trailer ran into the back of buggy near Hopkinsville, killing an Amish child and injuring three others.

Sen. Ken Winters, R-Murray, said he considered the final passage of the bill a victory for religious liberty.

“We’ve been able to accommodate a major issue in their lives,” said Winters, a retired Baptist college president who represents a growing Amish community in his mostly rural western Kentucky district.

Rep. Fred Nesler, D-Mayfield, was the most outspoken of a group of rural lawmakers who opposed the measure. He said that while the reflective tape would work well at night by reflecting car headlights, it does nothing to make the buggies visible during daylight hours.

“My objection to is a safety issue,” Nesler said.

Winters said tests have proven that the reflective tape makes the buggies visible up to 1,000 feet away.

Winters said the Amish already have been doing what the legislation requires by voluntarily outlining the backs and sides of their buggies in the reflective tape, as well as putting the tape on the front left corners of the buggies. They’ve also adopted a provision of the bill that sets parameters for lanterns used on the buggies, requiring one on the left side to be a foot taller than the one on the right.

An eclectic coalition, including tea party activists and religious leaders, had pressed for the legislation.

“It’s important to me because, I’m not Amish, but one day the government could attack my beliefs, and I would want the Amish to stick up for me,” said Mica Sims, a Lexington tea party activist.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
1 day ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
1 day ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
1 day ago
FILE - An employee works in the battery assembly hall at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., ...
Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession. Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — […]
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)...
Associated Press

Pope Francis discusses his health, critics and future of papacy

In his first interview since the death of retired Pope Benedict XVI, Francis tells The Associated Press he plans to continue for as long as he can as bishop of Rome
2 days ago
Eric Sham visits a makeshift memorial on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 for those killed in a mass shoot...
Associated Press

US Secret Service releases report on mass attacks

A new report on mass attacks calls for communities to intervene early when they see warning signs of violence.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Amish buggy legislation wins final passage in Ky.