Governor signs bills allowing scooter regulations, creating suicide prevention coordinator

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Gov. Laura  Kelly on Thursday signed six bills, including legislation that creates a youth suicide prevention coordinator and lets local governments regulate electric-powered scooters.

Kelly signed a bill creating the position of youth suicide prevention Coordinator in the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

“In recent years, Kansas has seen a steady uptick in suicide among young people,” Kelly said in a statement.

“I’m pleased the Legislature took this step to reduce youth suicide. We must do more to raise awareness and support our young people with their mental health needs.”

The legislation also enacts other recommendations of the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force that convened last year.

It requires the coordinator to lead development and implementation of a website to promote youth well-being and suicide prevention.

The coordinator also must develop multidisciplinary strategies to addressing youth suicide, plan events to provide suicide-prevention training and share information on suicide prevention.

The bill passed the House unanimously and 39-1 in the Senate.

Here is a roundup of other bills the governor signed Thursday:

Electric Scooters

The governor signed a bill allowing local governments to regulate those popular electric-powered scooters. The bill also applies traffic regulations that govern bicycles to e-scooters. It also adds a fine of $45 for unlawful operation of an e-scooter. The bill passed the House 101-20 and unanimously in the Senate.

Scrap metal

The governor signed the scrap-metal bill, which among other things, delays by six months a number of provisions in the Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act. It was supposed to start on Jan. 1, 2020.

The provisions delayed until July 1, 2020 include a requirement for the attorney general to establish a central database for the law.

It also delays the ability of the attorney general to fine a violator between $100 and $5,000.

The bill, which makes other substantive changes in the law, passed the House 110-11 and unanimously in the Senate.

Local taxes

The governor signed legislation making changes in local sales tax authority for Dickinson, Jackson, Russell, Thomas, Wabaunsee and Finney counties. The Senate passed the bill 33-7. It passed the House on a 98-26.

The bill increases the maximum local sales tax rate that could be imposed by Thomas County to 1.75 percent from 1.50 percent so long as all taxes levied in excess of 1 percent are earmarked for a courthouse, jail, law enforcement center, or another county administrative facility. Voters must approve the tax increase.

The bill also extends from five years to ten years the sunset on any 0.5 percent tax imposed by Russell County for economic development initiatives or public infrastructure projects.

The bill renews sales tax authority for Jackson County to impose a countywide sales tax of 0.4 percent to finance public infrastructure projects. The increase needs voter approval.

The bill allows Dickinson County to impose a countywide sales tax of 0.5 percent to finance roadway construction and improvements. The tax needs voter approval. It would sunset after 10 years.

The bill extends the authority of Wabaunsee County to impose a 0.5 percent retail sales tax for an additional period not to exceed 15 years so long as it’s approved by voters.

Emergency medical services

The governor signed a bill establishing background check procedures for emergency medical service workers applying for certification. The bill authorizes the Emergency Medical Services Board to require applicants for certification to be finger printed and to submit to a state and national criminal history background check. The bill passed unanimously in the House and 39-1 in the Senate.

Statute cleanup

The governor signed a bill reconciling amendments to laws that were changed more than once during the current and previous session of the Legislature. The bill repeals one version and, if needed, amends the continuing version with noncontradictory amendments. It creates a single version of the statute with all amendments.