Senate approved a consumer protection bill that would prohibit prices for
basic needs such as food, fuel and housing from being raised more than
10 percent during a state of emergency or national threat. It now heads
to Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
which previously passed the House, is intended to protect consumers from
excessively inflated prices, known as “price gouging,” when the U.S. threat
level is at its highest point – “severe” – or when a state or federal emergency
has been declared, Louisville’s WHAS TV reported. Similar laws are
in place in 25 states.
bill, violators would face fines of up to $5,000 for a first offense. The
fine could be as much as $10,000 for subsequent violations. The legislation
would, however, allow prices for these goods, or services such as repair
work, to be increased by slightly more than the 10 percent limit if necessary
to cover additional supplier, labor or material costs.
Thompson, D-Owensboro, the bill’s sponsor, said consumers now have no protection
in the law from price gouging during difficult times.
protect Kentucky families from those unscrupulous people who would try
to take advantage of them in times of emergency,” Thompson said. “It puts
in place something that’s missing today, and that is a system whereby families
have some recourse.”