New focus on ride regulations after toddler is shocked at carnival

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Kansas lawmakers debate over putting tougher laws into place to regulate carnival rides. A toddler is fighting for her life after being shocked at a west Wichita carnival Friday, May 12. 

Friends and family of the 15 month old girl want changes in inspections for carnival rides. Lawmakers say they are pushing for safety, but can't decide on what the regulations should look like.

Josselin Sedivy was with her husband and two children the night the child was shocked. Her husband was one of several who stepped in to help. At the time no one knew what happened. "We just saw the little girl unresponsive and everybody freaked out and was trying to help her, " Sedivy said. 

Later they discovered the child was holding on to one of the metal guard rails that surrounded one of the rides. According to Westar she was zapped by 290 volts of electricity. 

Recently the Governor signed a bill requiring amusement park rides be inspected by certified inspectors, but the bill could be delayed because some ride operators say they need more time. 

"The timeline was too aggressive for them to respond and be able to operate this year, so that one year delay would really be helpful to them," House Majority leader Don Hineman said. 

This latest incident could have an impact on when the bill does into effect.

"We want to make sure the public is as safe as possible before using this equipment, so I see no reason why to delay it," House Minority leader Jim Ward said.

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Kansas regulators are asking for an extra year to implement new amusement park rules that lawmakers passed in reaction to a boy's death last year on a water slide.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee met Thursday afternoon and advanced a bill making tweaks to the new law. The bill also would delay the law's implementation until July 1, 2018, rather than this July.

Schlitterbahn to dismantle giant Kansas waterslide

Committee Chair Rep. John Barker says the Department of Labor and some county fair operators were concerned about implementing the law so quickly.

GOP Gov. Sam Brownback signed the law less than three weeks ago. It requires that amusement rides be inspected annually by a qualified, outside inspector.

Department of Labor Communications Director Barbara Hersh said late Thursday afternoon that the agency would comment later.

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