TOPEKA — On April 2, Gov. Laura Kelly approved a bill that would amend and clarify a statute violation in regards to seat belt use.

Senate Bill 41 would amend the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways. The amendment clarifies that the violation of laws that require seat belt use by vehicle occupants ages 14 and older is considered a traffic infraction, not a misdemeanor.

Greg Smith, special deputy for government affairs of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, was the only testimony in support of this bill during committee meetings. Smith said the current statute is confusing and does not clearly specify if seat belt violations are misdemeanors or traffic infractions.

“This is a technical amendment,” Smith said. “It doesn’t change statute, but makes the intent of the statute clear.”  

According to the bill’s fiscal note, both the Office of Judicial Administration and the Department of Revenue indicated that enactment of SB 41 would have no fiscal impact on state revenues or expenditures.

Before Gov. Kelly’s approval of the bill, the Senate unanimously passed the bill 40-0 on the consent calendar. The House passed it 109-14.  

SB 41 will be in effect on July 1, 2019, after publication in the statute book.

Angel Tran is a University of Kansas senior from Wichita majoring in journalism.

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