Changes in Kansas Law
Important Information for Parents, Students & Community Members
The last Kansas Legislation session brought many new laws, which were signed by the governor. Several of these laws took effect on July 1, 2009 and affect both students and parents. I will summarize two of these laws, which I feel are the most valuable to the readers on this webpage. You can access the full list of new and changed laws by going to www.kletc.org. You will then click “2009 Legislation”. The state statutes will be listed with the title. The state statutes can then be researched at www.kslegislature.org.
“Hosting Minors Consuming Alcohol”
Prior to July 1, 2009 this law stated, “Unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcoholicliquor or cereal malt beverage is intentionally permitting a person's residence or any land, building, structure or room owned, occupied or procured by such person to be used by an invitee of such person or an invitee of such person's child or ward, in a manner that results in the possession or consumption therein of alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages by a minor.” The House of Representatives changed the wording of this statute to read, “Intentionally or recklessly”. There has been some discussion as to what deems reckless behavior. The best answer I’ve got to that questions is Kansas Law KSA 21-3201(c) defines reckless conduct as, “Conduct done under circumstances that show a realization of the imminence of danger to the person of another and a conscious and unjustifiable disregard of that danger.” As with any criminal case, a judge will have to determine what constitutes “Reckless” according to this statute. This law is intended to apply to situations where adults recklessly leave access to alcohol on their property resulting in under age persons possessing or consuming alcohol. This law may also make it easier to prosecute the adults for unlawful hosting when intent cannot be established.
“Graduated Drivers Licensing”
The new licensing laws have four key changes to the former licensing system. The first change requires every teen to hold a learner’s permit for 12 months before obtaining a restricted or a full license. The second change limits teen driver to no more than one non-sibling passenger under the age of 21 during the first six months of full licensing. The third change limits late-night driving to 9:00pm during the first six months of full licensing unless driving to and from work or school. The forth change prohibits the use of cell phones while driving until teens complete the six-month period of passenger and late-night driving restrictions. An exception is in place for reporting emergencies.Kansas law has penalties in place for violating these new provisions. A driver who violates these new provisions will face a 30-day license suspension for the first violation, a 90-day suspension for the second violation, and a one-year suspension for the third violation.
The new provisions for “Graduated Drivers Licensing” do have a grandfather clause in place. This clause states that teens entering the licensing system prior to January 1, 2010 will fall under the current licensing guidelines rather than the “Graduated Drivers Licensing” guidelines.