Lawmakers begin modifying drunk driving laws

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TOPEKA — Kansas legislators are overhauling the state’s drunk driving laws to crack down on offenders and replace a defunct law that allowed police to compel suspects to blood alcohol testing.

The U.S. Supreme Court determined a warrantless breath test is permissible, but police would need to obtain a warrant to conduct a blood test.

Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering bills to clarify how officers should handle cases in which a suspect refuses testing. The bills also propose lowering penalties in certain cases where suspects refuse testing.

Dem. Sen. David Haley says the bill aims to “compel” suspected drunk drivers to take a test while protecting privacy.

Rep. Sen. Rick Wilborn chairs the committee. He says he hasn’t decided when he’ll schedule a vote or any further debate.

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