Daily Archives: April 20, 2009

New law allows alcohol at events like River Festival

WICHITA — It’s too late for this year, but next year revelers at the Wichita River Festival might be able to drink alcohol as they wander the festival.

A bill that allows special events to serve alcohol and wine within event boundaries will go into effect July 1 after it was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

The city of Wichita pushed the idea as a way to enhance social events.

“I’m very pleased to see it going through,” said Mayor Carl Brewer.

The change will allow the city more flexibility in the events it hosts, he said, adding he hoped it would help Wichita attract various activities.

CityArts is already working to organize an event that will use the new law, he said.

Janet Wright, president and chief executive officer of Wichita Festivals Inc., which runs River Festival, said the group is still deciding what it wants to do under the law next year.

Right now, those who want to drink at the festival have to go to a cordoned-off beer garden.

“Everyone gathers in one particular spot to stand and drink because that is all you can do in that spot,” she said.

With the new law, beer drinkers could be allowed to wander the festival while quaffing their brews, she said.

“It’s not just about drinking — it is about the whole experiences,” she said, adding organizers would be careful not to damage the festival’s family-friendly atmosphere.

Home wine shipments legal now in Kansas

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed into law legislation allowing Kansans of drinking age to order up to 12 cases of wine a year to be shipped directly to their homes.Many states allow the practice, which has led to the popularity of online wine shipments and wine-of-the-month clubs. But Kansas was – until this year – leery of uncorking a law that some lawmakers feared could lead to underage alcohol consumption.

That led to a curious law a few years ago that allowed consumers to order out-of-state wine and have it shipped directly to… their liquor store.

This year, several lawmakers argued that few 18-year-olds would order expensive California wines and risk having their parents intercept the shipment.

The bill signed today by Sebelius also allows wine producers to sell their vintages at farmer’s markets, so long as the market has been approved by the state’s alcohol control officials.

The new law also allows restaurants to store unfinished bottles of wine for customers.

— David Klepper

Governor signs bill creating DUI commission, stiffer penalties for repeat offenders

TOPEKA – The governor on Monday signed into law a bill aimed at fixing the state’s drunken driving laws and strengthening penalties for drivers who repeatedly drive while intoxicated.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, signed Senate substitute for House Bill 2096, which creates the Kansas DUI Commissio to review the state’s laws, compare them with other states and suggest changes.

The commission, which will include legislators, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers, will submit an initial report by the start of the 2010 Legislative session and a final report by the 2011 session.

The new law would require county or district attorneys to check with the Division of Motor Vehicles regarding offenders’ history of driving under the influence and to check their criminal history with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation before proceeding with charges. That change will go into effect July 1.

Among other provisions, the proposal would also create stiffer penalties for people convicted for a third time of drunken driving and require they participate in an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program. That change would take place July 1, 2010.

Palin supporters organize against Sebelius confirmation

Sebelius NominationThe Huffington Post says “an online community of female supporters of Gov. Sarah Palin is launching a last minute campaign to derail the candidacy of Kathleen Sebelius for the secretary post at the Department of Health and Human Services.”

The Post goes on to say:

Team Sarah, which was founded to support and mobilize for the McCain-Palin ticket and claims tens-of-thousands of members, blasted out a petition on Monday morning urging members to “flood the phone lines” in opposition to Sebelius’ candidacy.

Sebelius’s nomination is set to come to a vote before the Senate Finance Committee this Tuesday, April 21. The nomination is expected to pass through the committee and ultimately the Senate, though on Friday the terrain got a bit rougher, when ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized the Kansas Governor for understating the amount of money she raised from doctor who performs abortions — likely the same revelation offending the Team Sarah members.