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Rep. Adam Smith: New Kansas law could effect local, home-owned carnivals

The following is from Kansas State Representative Adam Smith:

The bill impacting amusement rides has officially made it into law. I have continued my efforts to mitigate the impact of this legislation on our hometown carnivals and celebrations. Part of problem lies with interpretation of the legal document, and for that I sat down with the lead revisor responsible for drafting the language. He assured me that the intent of the law was for current experienced persons to be considered a qualified inspector. Under the new law, someone with five years experience with the amusements rides and two years experience inspecting the rides could be qualified. My concern is that they must require “satisfactory evidence” but there is no direction on what that may be.

For that, and many similar questions, I have been visiting with the Secretary of Labor. That department will ultimately be responsible for developing the rules and regulations for this new law. Since many volunteers do not have any documentation of their experience on the equipment, I encouraged the department to consider a signed statement from the individual, with a verification signature from an official on the amusement board, as satisfactory evidence. I have also strongly urged the Secretary to ensure that not every little hayrack ride and similar community excursions not be subject to the rules and regulations. The law was designed to provide safety regulations for amusement parks… I really don’t think the state wants to regulate every tractor and wagon that might haul a few kids around every once in a while for fun.

Another concern I have with the bill is timing. The new bill takes effect in less than two months, but there are no rules and regulations developed yet for anyone to comply with. Registration is required, but no registration forms have been developed. Permit are required, but no permits have been designed and printed. The new law basically says “follow the rules”, but those rules have not been written yet! There is a tremendous amount of work to do before this program can even get started.

Some of our area amusement associations run their rides for 4th of July celebrations with the county fairs soon follow later in the month. I find it extremely unlikely that the department will be in any position to enforce the new law that soon, or even have the rules and regulations developed and approved. The Secretary of Labor has echoed the same thoughts to me.

I will continue to follow this issue and be diligent in helping our small communities keep our amusement rides safe and affordable.

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