New Kansas Safety Law Could Shut Down Some Amusement Rides

July 26, 2017

A new amusement ride law would affect more than a dozen counties in western Kansas that have home-owned carnivals and rides.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill in April following the death of a 10-year-old who rode a giant water slide in Kansas City. The boy was the son of Kansas House Speaker Pro Tem, Scott Schwab, R-Olathe.

The new standard includes more expensive insurance and having rides examined by a certified inspector, the Hutchinson News reported.

The Kansas Senate passed a subsequent bill postponing the amusement ride law until January 2018. Kansas House Majority Leader Don Hineman, R-Dighton, said criminal penalties won’t go into effect until then, giving small, rural rides a chance to operate this year.

Carrie Handy of the Lane County Amusement Association said there likely will be no rides at their fair next year unless some changes are made to modify the law.

“We have inspected them (rides) locally and then we personally stick our kids on the rides first,” Handy said in response to the new inspection rules. She also said the rides operate with volunteers and that having all of them get trained and certified would pose a challenge.

“The rides still need to be inspected, and there needs to be adequate insurance,” Hineman said, adding that volunteer grandparents often run the rides.

Hineman said he anticipates that some of the small counties will group together to achieve efficiency, which hopefully would reduce the cost. Some have already started by sharing the cost of inspectors.

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