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Summary of New Laws from the 2018 Legislative Session—So Far

Posted By Joseph N. Molina III, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

 

This week we look at a few bills that have been signed by the governor. All bills will become effective July 1, 2018 unless otherwise stated. These are simple summaries drafted by the Kansas Legislative Research Department. You can find full summaries and/or the entire bill/law by visiting www.kslegilsature.org.

 

Criminal Law

Involuntary Manslaughter—DUI; Aggravated Battery—DUI; HB 2439

HB 2439 amends the definition of the crime of involuntary manslaughter to include the killing of a human being committed in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) while:

● In violation of any restriction imposed on such person’s driving privileges for DUI;

● The person’s driving privileges are suspended or revoked for DUI; or

● The person has been deemed a “habitual violator,” as defined in KSA 2017 Supp. 8-285, including at least one DUI violation.

Violation of this provision is a severity level 3, person felony. This new offense is added to the list of offenses for which juvenile records or files may not be expunged. It also is added to the list of offenses that the Department of Corrections is required to report when committed by a sex offender in the custody of the Secretary of Corrections.

Giving a False Alarm; HB 2581

HB 2581 amends law related to the crime of giving a false alarm. The common name of this proposal was the “Anti-Swatting bill”. The bill renames the offense as “making an unlawful request for emergency service assistance” and its definition is amended to include transmitting or communicating false or misleading information in any manner to request emergency service assistance, including law enforcement, fire, medical, or other emergency service knowing at the time there is no reasonable ground for believing assistance is needed.

The crime continues to be a Class A nonperson misdemeanor, except including false information that violent criminal activity or immediate threat to a person’s life or safety has or is taking place continues to be a severity level 7, nonperson felony, except in the following circumstances added by the bill:

● If bodily harm results from the response by emergency services, the offense is a severity level 6, person felony;

● Great bodily harm resulting from the response by emergency services is a severity level 4, person felony; and

● Death resulting from the response by emergency services is a severity level 1, person felony.

The bill clarifies use of an electronic device or software to alter, conceal, or disguise the source of the request or the identify of the person making such request continues to be a level 10, nonperson felony. The bill provides that it shall not be a defense that the person who suffered bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death contributed, or others contributed, to such person’s harm or death. Persons who make an unlawful request for emergency service assistance may also be prosecuted for any form of homicide.

 

Judiciary

Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act; HB 2457

            HB 2457 enacts the Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act (Act), which shall apply to all asbestos claims (as defined in the Silica and Asbestos Claims Act) filed on or after July 1, 2018.

            The bill requires the plaintiff to provide certain statements and materials no later than 30 days prior to the date the court establishes for the completion of all fact discovery. Specifically, the plaintiff is required to investigate, file all asbestos trust claims that can be made by the plaintiff, and provide a sworn statement indicating the investigation has been conducted and all possible claims filed. The plaintiff is required to provide all parties with all trust claim materials, accompanied by a custodial affidavit from the asbestos trust. If the plaintiff’s asbestos trust claim is based on exposure through another individual, the plaintiff is required to produce all trust claim documents submitted by or on behalf of the other individual to any asbestos trust to which the plaintiff has access. The bill also requires the plaintiff to supplement the information and materials within 30 days after the plaintiff, or a person on the plaintiff’s behalf, supplements an existing asbestos trust claim, receives additional information or materials related to such a claim, or files an additional asbestos trust claim.

Civil Asset Forfeiture; Kansas Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Repository; HB 2459

            HB 2459 creates, and amends law related to civil asset forfeiture, as follows.

The bill creates a new section within the Kansas Standard Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act (SASFA) requiring the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) to establish, on or before July 1, 2019, the Kansas Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Repository (Repository), which will gather information concerning each seizure for forfeiture made by a seizing agency pursuant to SASFA. The information gathered will include, but not be limited to:

● The name of the seizing agency or name of the lead agency if part of a multijurisdictional task force and any applicable agency or district court case numbers for the seizure;

The county where and date and time the seizure occurred, a description of the initiating law enforcement activity leading to the seizure, and the specific location where the seizure occurred;

● Descriptions of the type of property and contraband seized and the estimated values of the property and contraband;

● Whether criminal charges were filed for an offense related to the forfeiture and court and case number information of such charges;

● A description of the final disposition of the forfeiture action, including any claim or exemption asserted under SASFA;

● Whether the forfeiture was transferred to the federal government for disposition;

● Total cost of the forfeiture action, including attorney fees; and

● Total amount of proceeds from the forfeiture action, specifying the amount received by the seizing agency and the amount received by any other agency or person.

The bill requires the KBI to maintain the Repository and an associated public website and requires the KBI to promulgate rules and regulations before July 1, 2019, to implement the new section.

On and after July 1, 2019, each seizing agency must report the specified information concerning each seizure for forfeiture to the Repository, with the prosecuting attorney submitting information to the seizing agency within 30 days after the final disposition of the forfeiture, and the seizing agency submitting the required information to the Repository within 60 days after the final disposition of the forfeiture.

On or before February 1 of each year, beginning in 2020, each law enforcement agency (agency) must annually compile and submit a forfeiture fund report to the Repository. If the agency is a state agency, the report must include the agency’s state forfeiture fund balance on January 1 and December 31 of the preceding calendar year and the total amount of the deposits and a listing, by category, of expenditures during the preceding calendar year. If the agency is a city or county agency, the report must include the agency’s special law enforcement trust fund balance on January 1 and December 31 of the preceding calendar year and the total amount of deposits and a listing, by category, of expenditures during the preceding calendar year.

The reports for each agency must separate and account for deposits and expenditures from proceeds from forfeiture credited to the agency’s fund pursuant to the SASFA section governing disposition of forfeited property, deposits and expenditures from proceeds from forfeiture actions under federal law, and amounts held by the agency related to pending forfeiture actions under SASFA.

Civil Immunity for Entry into Vehicle to Remove a Vulnerable Person or Domestic Animal; HB 2516

HB 2516 creates law providing for immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle for a person who enters the vehicle, by force or otherwise, to remove a vulnerable person or domestic animal, if the person entering:

● Determines the vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the vulnerable person or domestic animal to exit the vehicle without assistance;

● Has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry is necessary because the vulnerable person or domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm;

● Ensures law enforcement is notified or calls 911 before or immediately after entering the vehicle;

● Uses no more force to enter the vehicle and remove the vulnerable person or domestic animal than is necessary; and

● Remains with the vulnerable person or domestic animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or a first responder arrives.

The bill defines “domestic animal” to include a dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and may be kept as a household pet. This does not include livestock, as defined elsewhere in statute, or other farm animals. The bill defines “vulnerable person” to mean an adult whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for such adult’s own care or protection is impaired or a minor. The bill defines “motor vehicle” by reference to the definition in the statutes governing vehicle registration.

Protection from Abuse Act; Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act; Transfer of Wireless Telephone Number; HB 2524

HB 2524 creates law allowing a court, at a hearing on a petition filed pursuant to the Protection from Abuse Act (PFAA) or Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault Act (PFSSAA), to issue an order directing a wireless services provider (provider) to transfer the billing responsibility for and rights to the wireless telephone number or numbers to the petitioner if the petitioner is not the account holder, to ensure the petitioner and any minor children in the care of the petitioner may maintain their existing wireless telephone numbers. The forms for the petition and order shall be prescribed by the Judicial Council and supplied by the clerk of the court.

 This order shall be a separate order directed to the provider and must list the name and billing telephone number of the account holder, the name and contact information of the person to whom the telephone number or numbers will be transferred, and each telephone number to be transferred.

If the order is made in conjunction with a PFSSAA petition, the court must ensure the petitioner’s address and telephone number are not disclosed to the account holder. If the order is made in conjunction with a petition filed under the PFAA, the court must direct that the petitioner’s information remain confidential if the court finds the petitioner’s address, telephone number, or both need to remain confidential.

 

Workers Compensation

Certain Death and Related Benefits Allowed by the Workers Compensation Act; Senate Sub. for HB 2184

Senate Sub. for HB 2184 increases certain death and related benefits allowed by the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

When an employee dies at the workplace, the Act allows for an initial payment to be shared between the surviving spouse and the dependent children. The spouse receives 50.0 percent, and the children, if applicable, receive 50.0 percent. The bill increases the initial payment from $40,000 to $60,000. After the initial payment, the Act generally allows for those dependents to receive weekly payments, subject to minimum and maximum amounts that are specified by law. Under the Act, a wholly dependent child may receive subsequent weekly benefits until the age of 18 or age of 23, provided the child is either incapable of earning wages or enrolled as a full-time student in a college or vocational institution. The bill clarifies that benefits for a dependent child 18 years old continue until May 30 of the child’s senior year of high school or until the child turns 19, whichever happens earlier. If a deceased employee leaves behind a spouse, dependent children, or both, then no other dependents or heirs may receive benefits under the Act.

The remainder of the bill revises certain minimum and maximum benefits payable for other individuals. Pursuant to the Act, other individuals who were wholly dependent upon a deceased employee’s earnings are eligible for a benefit. The bill increases the maximum benefit from $18,500 to $100,000. In situations where a deceased employee leaves behind persons who were partially dependent, the minimum benefit increases from $2,500 to $25,000, and the maximum benefit increases from $18,500 to $100,000.

The Act allows legal heirs to receive a lump-sum payment of $25,000, but they are exempt from receiving that benefit if there is a life insurance policy that was procured by an employer worth not less than $18,500 and with beneficiaries designated by the deceased employee. The bill increases the lump-sum benefit to heirs from $25,000 to $100,000. However, if the employer procured a life insurance policy in an amount not less than $50,000, then the benefit paid to the heirs is reduced by the amount of the life insurance, up to $100,000.

The maximum amount paid by the employer for burial expenses increases from $5,000 to $10,000. When a court-appointed conservator is necessary, the maximum costs paid by an employer increases from $1,000 to $2,500.

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