Document Type

Article

Publication Date

July 2017

Abstract

Routinely cited in briefs, often the subject of legal arguments, and dutifully followed by Kentucky judges, the Kentucky Revised Statutes seem more a force of nature than something with a date of origin. Yet on October 1, 2017, the not-quite-a-baby-boomer known universally as the “KRS” celebrated its 75th birthday.

This article describes the long process to revise Kentucky's statutes that started in 1936 when the General Assembly created a committee to weed out repealed and obsolete laws, and to reduce the length (and heft) of the massive Carroll’s Kentucky Statutes used in state courts. The need was obvious; that very year saw stories about how poorly drafted laws had inadvertently stripped the mayors of Lexington and Paducah of their power to appoint police court judges and hampered the Railroad Commission’s ability to regulate common carriers. Meanwhile, lawyers grumbled about the cost of Carroll’s and New Deal-era reformers were repulsed by the backwardness of a statute book bulging with hundreds of obsolete laws.

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