Senate bill would allow parents to surrender newborns to authorities
By HANNAH SWANK
KU Statehouse Wire Service
TOPEKA — In what he called a “friendly amendment,” Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, said he appreciated the addition to HB 2577 concerning the newborn infant protection act.
The bill heard on the Senate floor Monday allows a parent to surrender an infant 45 days or younger to an on-duty employee at a fire station, city or county health department or medical care facility.
Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, proposed an amendment to expand the list of locations where an infant could be surrendered to include police stations, sheriff’s offices and law enforcement centers.
Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, said when the bill was originally introduced, legislators didn’t contemplate all the possible places for the purpose of safe-harboring children.
“I would hope to not only adopt this amendment, but in future years, to look for other places where a mother in distress could leave her child that would be considered a safe place,” Haley said.
In addition to the expansion of safe places for struggling parents to surrender infant children, the bill also ensures the anonymity of the parent or person surrendering the child unless there is reasonable suspicion for abuse.
The Senate passed HB 2577 as amended and the bill will move forward for final action.
Hannah Swank is a University of Kansas senior from Topeka majoring in journalism.