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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Governor signs 22 more bills into law

  • TOPEKA – Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Friday that he had signed 22 bills into law, which brings the total number of bills signed this week to 35 and the total number signed during the 2014 legislative session to 140.
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  • By Evan Dunbar
    KU Statehouse Wire Service
     
    TOPEKA – Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Friday that he had signed 22 bills into law, which brings the total number of bills signed this week to 35 and the total number signed during the 2014 legislative session to 140.
    The governor has signed a variety of different bills, ranging from gun legislation to increased minimum sentences for first degree murder.
    Some laws have gone into effect immediately, and some will go into effect in July. Here are some of Kansas’ new laws that have, or will come into effect this year:
    *House bill 2490 was signed into law Wednesday, and will take effect immediately. This bill mandates a “Hard 50” minimum sentence – a sentence of 50 years in prison without parole for those convicted of premeditated first-degree murder. Defense attorneys will now have to argue for a lesser sentence, where previously prosecutors had to argue for an increased sentence. Also, the bill makes a sentence of 25 years in prison without parole the standard for murders committed during another felony or attempted murders that would have carried a Hard 50 sentence if they had been successful. The bill prohibits the governor from changing a death sentence to anything other than a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. Previously the governor had been allowed to change death sentences to prison terms of no lower than 10 years. The governor cannot change a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole to a lesser sentence.
    *House bill 2578 was signed on April 23, but does not go into effect until July 1. This bill will prevent local governments from enforcing local gun ordinances and will make gun laws identical throughout the state. Additionally, local governments cannot regulate the open carrying of firearms. The bill also prevents municipalities from requiring employees to disclose whether or not they have a concealed carry license and cannot discriminate against them if they choose not to. The bill adds new posting requirements for buildings where the open carrying of firearms can be prohibited. The new provision “makes it a violation of this statute to carry an unconcealed firearm into a building that was conspicuously posted according to the new requirements and posted in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Attorney General.”
    *Senate bill 367 was signed Friday and will take effect July 1. This bill, also known as the “student privacy act” protects students whose data is kept in any database maintained by the department of education from being freely disclosed. Student data may be disclosed to: 1. The authorized personnel of an educational agency that requires such disclosures to perform assigned duties; 2. The authorized personnel of the state board of regents who require such disclosures to perform their assigned duties; and 3. The student and the parent or legal guardian of the student, provided the student data pertains solely to such student. The bill also prohibits school districts from collecting biometric data from a student, or using “any device or mechanism to assess a student’s physiological or emotional state, unless the student, if an adult, or the parent or legal guardian of the student, if a minor, consents in writing.” The bill also prohibits the administering of any test, questionnaire, survey or examination that contains “any questions about the student’s personal beliefs or practices on issues such as sex, family life, morality or religion, or any questions about the student’s parents’ or guardians’ beliefs and practices on issues such as sex, family life, morality or religion,” unless the student’s parent or guardian is notified that the test, survey, questionnaire or survey will be administered, and “the parent or guardian of the student gives written permission for the student to take this test, questionnaire, survey or examination.”
    Page 2 of 2 - *The Senate substitute for House bill 2448 was signed Tuesday, and will take effect immediately. This bill makes Kansas one of 24 states that has passed “Katie’s Law.” “Katie’s Law” was a federal law first proposed in 2010 that provides “funding for the minimum and enhanced collection of DNA during felony arrests.” This bill allows law enforcement to collect DNA immediately during the booking process unless a sample is already on file. The bill also states that “if a conviction against a person, who is required to submit such sample, is overturned, expunged or a verdict of acquittal with regard to such person is returned, the Kansas bureau of investigation, upon petition by such person, shall expunge both the sample and the profile record of such person.”
    *The Senate substitute for House bill 2693 was signed Tuesday and will take effect July 1. This bill allows individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license from a community or technical college if the institution requests to the state to be allowed to administer the required tests. Priority will be given to schools that already have a truck driver training course in place before July 1. The bill also allows for tests to be waived if a person “provides evidence of military commercial vehicle driving experience.”
    Evan Dunbar is a University of Kansas senior majoring in journalism from Houston, Texas.
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