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.

DUI bill sent to conference committee

TOPEKA – The House on Monday voted to send a bill creating the Kansas DUI Commission and amending some of the state’s drunken driving laws to a conference committee.

The committee – of three House members and three Senate members – will work to develop a compromise bill.

The Senate inserted the measure into House Bill 2096 and the House wanted to study the bill more.

In addition to the commission and amending some laws, the bill also creates statewide driver improvement clinics.