Highlighting several new laws
The new year marked the start of numerous new state laws which went into effect on Tuesday.
• A new law, enacted after several teens ran for the office of governor in the last election, states that candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, and state commissioner must now be at least 25 years old. Candidates for attorney general now must also have a Kansas law license.
• Kansas now joins 18 other states in providing legal immunity to people who believe a person or pet is in imminent danger.
Good Samaritans who break windows to get a child or pet out of a hot car will be now be protected from lawsuits.
• A Kansas law, challenged in court, bans telemedicine abortions, in which patients seeking abortion pills consult with doctors through teleconferencing. A Kansas judge ruled the law has no legal force because of how it is written.
• New Kansas license plates will allow The Special Olympics, City of Wichita, Choose Life, and various military operations to be represented on special plates.
• Law enforcement officers will now be prohibited from having sex during traffic stops or while an officer is detaining someone.
Surprisingly, before this law, Kansas was one of 33 states where consensual sex between police and people in their custody wasn’t illegal.
• People who participate in “swatting” will now face stronger penalties in Kansas.
Making a false emergency call that alleges violent criminal activity or immediate threats to a person’s life is now a felony. If the response to the false call results in physical harm or death, the crime becomes a more severe felony.
Using software or electronic devices to conceal the source of a false call is also a felony.
• A new law allows faith-based adoption agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs. The Kansas Department for Children and Families cannot block any foster or adoption agency from participating in its programs solely because it refuses to adopt or place children with LGBT individuals.
• Lobbyists attempting to influence the executive and judicial branches of government will now have to disclose their efforts.
Previously, only legislative lobbyists had to register and report how much they spend on gifts for officials.
• Emergency medical services workers will now be required to report suspected abuse and neglect of adults. The EMS workers in addition are required specifically to report possible abuse and neglect of residents of nursing homes and other medical facilities.
• Drivers must now slow down when passing garbage trucks collecting trash, under a new law that also requires drivers to move into an adjacent lane if one is available.
The new law also allows golf carts to be driven on the street at night if equipped with the same lights required for motorcycles. The golf carts must also have an emblem that notes they are slow-moving vehicles.