Archive for Friday, January 18, 2008

Tonganoxie couple to testify at legislative hearing

Dennis, Denise Bixby to talk in support of drug testing at serious accidents

January 18, 2008

Read HB 2617

To read a copy of House Bill 2617, click here

Legislation backed by the parents of a Tonganoxie teenager killed in a Valentines Day traffic accident will be the subject of a legislative hearing.

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for 3:30 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the old Supreme Court chambers, Room 313-S, at the Statehouse.

The legislation would require drug testing of people involved in accidents that caused property damage, serious personal injury or serious injury or death to another person.

House Bill 2617 was introduced earlier this month by the Special Committee on the Judiciary, which studied the legislation in the fall of 2007.

Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, said the bill was "a little different, a little broader" than what was proposed in the fall.

"I'd rather start out broader and pare it down as it works its way through," Wilk said.

Wilk and State Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, have helped Tonganoxie parents Dennis and Denise Bixby in their crusade for change in Kansas traffic laws since the Bixby's daughter, 19-year-old Amanda Bixby, was killed in an accident on Feb. 14, 2007

In the accident, officers initially cited Ricardo Flores, of Lansing, for vehicular homicide, failure to yield and driving without a license. Flores ran a stop sign and hit Bixby's car and another vehicle on U.S. Highway 24-40 just west of Basehor.

Later, prosecutors refused to pursue the vehicular homicide charge, saying the case didn't fit the definition of the law. Flores then pleaded no contest to failure to yield at a stop sign, speeding and driving without a valid license and was ordered to pay $228 in fines and court costs and spend six months on probation.

The Bixbys originally sought a tightening of the state's vehicular homicide law. But members of the special committee, citing the complexity of the law, declined to recommend changes in that law. Instead, they agreed to submit the proposed bill requiring drug testing for drivers in serious accidents.

Wilk said the Bixbys had agreed to testify at Tuesday's hearing.

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