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Kansas Lawmaker Legislative Issues

Kansas Lawmaker contains two issues of special interest to the middle school and junior high school student.

Driver Licensing for Teenagers

Teenage driving regulations are currently being debated by many in the state of Kansas. The legislature is considering raising the age for an unrestricted license from 16 to 17 and requiring 50 hours of supervised driving experience before a license is issued to a teenage driver.

The supporters of these changes cite the large numbers of young people injured and killed in auto accidents. Opponents say that farm youth will be prevented from driving in situations which benefit the farm family livelihood, and that certain teenagers will be unduly penalized, such as mothers with young children and those that are employed.

Consensus on this issue is difficult to reach. Special interest groups have differing views. Parents line up on opposite sides of the issue as well as the students themselves. This issue presents the ideal motivator for the young person to learn about the legislative process, which ultimately determines what the law regarding teenage driver's licensing will be.

Community Service

This issue centers around a proposal that would require all graduates of an accredited high school in the state of Kansas to satisfactorily complete a community service class. This class would provide volunteer service to the local community by each student. The student would serve without monetary compensation for the purpose of benefiting the student's community.

Supporters of this legislation say that students who volunteer raise their grades in other classes and will become contributing members of the society at large. Opponents say that this is an unfunded mandate to schools causing budgetary and fiscal problems, and that it violates students' constitutional rights.

Researching this issue allows students to assess the benefits of performing community service, balanced against fiscal issues for schools and individual constitutional rights. The young person will be motivated to learn about the legislative process by which this proposal could become the law in Kansas and by which they ultimately would be governed.