Eight Amish men charged with failure to use a slow moving vehicle emblem were back in court Friday, but were once again given an extension by District Judge Sue Carol Browning at the request of county attorney Joe Ross.
The eight men have been cited over the past six months in the Auburn area for refusing to put a orange and red reflective slow moving triangle on their buggies, claiming it is against their covenant with God to do so.
The men already received an extension back in January at the request of Ross because of a senate bill introduced January 4 by seven Kentucky state senators, including Joey Pendleton, who represents Logan County. Senate Bill 75 allows reflective tape to be placed on slow-moving vehicles as opposed to the orange and red triangle. Ross expressed how he felt the judicial system should give the Amish charged time to see if the introduced legislation will pass or not.
“Throughout this process we have encouraged the Amish to contact Frankfort if they were unsatisfied with the law that nether the judge nor I can change. I feel it is only fair to allow the time needed to see if this recent action will apply,” said Ross.
Ross and others thought they would know the outcome of the legislation by the first extension deadline Friday; however, the bill is currently in the House of Representatives awaiting its push to the House Transportation Committee. The bill has already passed both the senate floor and its transportation committee unanimously.
The eight Amish men charged in Logan County are part of an Old Order Amish group. They, along with others in Kentucky, have run into problems with the law by not putting the triangle on their buggies, with some even being sent to jail in Graves County.
According to Albert Mast, a member in the Auburn area group, 18 Amish men from Logan County, Leitchfield, Mayfield and a visitor from Ohio, traveled to Frankfort during one of the bill’s passings and felt very confident.
“It looks like it’s in our favor,” said Mast.
The group traveled by bus, which is what Mast says is their form of transportation when they have to travel far. The Auburn area Amish got a ride to Bowling Green and caught a Greyhound bus to Louisville where they boarded a Miller’s Traveling bus on to Frankfort. Cost for the trip was $100 a piece.
“They told us it would give more support if we showed up,” said Mast, adding that they talked with a senator and he told them the bill would go through without trouble.
Rudy Miller, another Auburn area Amish said they were treated very very well while in Frankfort. “Everybody was really friendly,” said Miller.
Both Miller and Mast said they would have no problem with the reflective tape and lanterns the bill is requiring. A large amount of the Amish in the Auburn area already have the tape and lanterns on their buggies.
“We would do the 100 inches of tape and the lanterns, no problem,” said Mast.
The bill states as an alternative to the slow-moving vehicle emblem, one inch-wide white or silver reflective tape may be used on moterless slow-moving vehicles as follows: The rear of the vehicle shall be covered with a minimum of 100 square inches of the reflective tape. The reflective tape on the rear of the vehicle shall, at a minimum, outline the entire rear of the vehicle. Each side of the vehicle shall be covered with a minimum of 36 square inches of reflective tape and the highest point of the left front of the vehicle shall be covered with a minimum of 25 square inches of reflective tape.
Also included are two reflective lanterns, one on either side of the rear of the vehicle, showing white to the front of the vehicle and red to the rear of the vehicle, with the lantern on the left side of the vehicle situated at least 12 inches higher than the lantern on the right.
Senator Pendelton says he is happy the bill is now on it’s way to the next step and feels very confident it will become law soon. According to Pendleton there is an emergency attached to the bill to speed it along considering there are several individual cases in the state involving the Amish community pending the outcome of this bill.
When asked how much prayer and God played a part in the introduction and success of the senate bill thus far, Mast said, “That’s the only place help comes from.”