Legislation creating state civil and criminal penalties for acts of terrorism is headed to the Kentucky Senate.
The bill establishes the crime as a capital offense punishable by imprisonment for life without probation or parole. The measure also allows victims of terrorism to file for civil damages against a terrorist or terrorist group.
Campbellsville Senator Max Wise brought the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. “This just puts into statute, defining actually what is an act of terrorism, who is a terrorist, and to strengthen those laws for those victims if an incident like that were to ever, God forbid, happen in Kentucky.”
Although voting in support of the bill, Pike County Senator Ray Jones said under current law, victims already have a right to sue offenders. “It doesn’t change existing law at all and, in fact, could limit, under the language of this bill, the rights of a terror victim to recover punitive damages,” noted Jones.
The eastern Kentucky lawmaker says that could happen since a provision in the bill states anyone filing an action is entitled to three times actual damages or $50,000, whichever is greater.