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March 30, 2020
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Minutes for SB62 - Committee on Transportation

Short Title

Substitute for SB 62 by Committee on Transportation - Allowing police vehicle drivers to engage in certain actions without using audible and visual signals and also allowing certain actions by drivers.

Minutes Content for Tue, Mar 12, 2019

Staff explained the bill and answered questions.  The Chairman recognized Ed Klumpp as the proponent. (Attachment 1) Mr. Klumpp said this issue had been raised several times and more frequently in recent years.   According to Mr. Klumpp, Sub for SB62 would authorize exceptions, in narrowly defined circumstances, to the rules of the road in the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways by the driver of a police vehicle. He said other states have implemented similar statutes and this proposal was fashioned after the South Carolina statute.  He said they believed these exceptions are reasonable and are in line with common and acceptable police practices and are proposed with proper balance with officer responsibility to act in a reasonable and safe manner. 

After all questions were answered the Chairman drew the Committee's attention to Written testimony submitted in support of SSB62 by the Kansas Highway Patrol.(Attachment 2)

Chairman Proehl recognized Doug Anstaett as the first opponent to SSB62.  According to Mr. Anstaett his associations had two main concerns. (Attachment 3) The first concern was about transparency in that this bill gives permission to law enforcement to choose not to use lights and sirens under certain circumstances.  Their second concern was about safety based on the danger such a new policy would pose to innocent bystanders.

The next opponent was Tom Warner. (Attachment 4) According to Mr. Warner this bill gives police officers discretion to determine if a law enforcement action will be impeded by using lights and sirens.   He said this bill also provides immunity from certain traffic laws while operating without lights and sirens.  Mr. Warner said he believes SSB62 is not in the interests of the public or the law enforcement community because it compromises safety and should not be passed.

The last opponent to speak was Callie Jill Denton. (Attachment 5) According to Ms. Denton they believe this legislation is premature until the Kansas Supreme Court rules in a case that deals with law enforcement officer discretion.  She said this bill does not address the concerns KTLA raised in the Senate.  She said current law serves law enforcement and the public well and this bill is a step in the wrong direction. Ms. Denton said KTLA rejects any proposal that undermines the remedies of innocent bystanders.

The Chairman asked if there were any other proponents, neutrals or opponents who wished to speak.  There were none so after all questions were answered Chairman Proehl closed the hearing on SSB62.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Because the Committee was late leaving the House Floor and therefore late starting the Committee meeting there was not enough time to hear SB97 or do Final Action as planned.  The Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 13th and hear three bills including SB97.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business before the Committee the meeting was adjourned.