From the AG's Web Site.
FRANKFORT, KY (August 31, 2005) - In response to skyrocketing gasoline prices, Attorney General Greg Stumbo today called upon Governor Ernie Fletcher to implement a state price gouging statute to prevent profiteering by gasoline suppliers and retailers.
“We’re seeing prices above $3.00 per gallon in Kentucky and are getting dozens of phone calls from consumers concerned about high gasoline prices,” Stumbo said. “I am asking Governor Fletcher to use the authority granted to him by the General Assembly to implement the statute (KRS 367.374) which was designed to prevent profiteering during times of emergency such as Hurricane Katrina. With this new tool, our Consumer Protection Division will, for the first time, have clear authority to investigate and prosecute unconscionable pricing practices.”
Under the statute, KRS 367.374, the Attorney General is authorized, during a declared state or national emergency, to enforce price gouging protections for essential consumer commodities including gasoline and other motor fuels.
Upon the Governor’s declaration that the law is in effect, the Department of Emergency Management notifies the public and businesses. The law was passed as HB 471 during the 2004 legislative session under the sponsorship of Representative Tommy Thompson of Owensboro. The legislation was proposed after the experience of price increases following the Central Kentucky ice storm during which the Attorney General’s Office received numerous complaints of higher prices for various consumer products.
Under the statute, no person may sell listed consumer products including gasoline “for a price which is grossly in excess of the price prior to the declaration of emergency and unrelated to any increased cost to the seller.”
Violators are subject to civil penalties of $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for subsequent offenses.
The price gouging statute, once implemented by the Governor, remains in effect for the duration of the emergency and may be extended for 30 days.
During an afternoon press conference held by Governor Fletcher, he signed a state of emergency order. “We are pleased with the Governor’s decision,” Stumbo said. “I will see that the law, forbidding price gouging, is enforced and consumers are protected.”