TOPEKA – (May 18, 2011) – Kansas will be a safer place to live because of the legislature’s actions this year, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today. Schmidt commended the legislature on passing important public safety legislation during the 2011 session.
“From strengthening the Kansas Offender Registry so Kansans can clearly see who lives in their neighborhoods to making our streets safer from drunken drivers, a legacy of the 2011 legislative session will be a safer Kansas,” Schmidt said. “Legislators of both political parties, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, have served Kansans well this year.”
Three of Schmidt’s legislative recommendations were enacted:
- Overhauling the Kansas Offender Registry to make it more accurate and to better track violent offenders. The measure, Senate Bill 37, was recommended by the Offender Registration Working Group, and was advocated by the Attorney General as his top legislative priority. The new bill will bring Kansas into substantial compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act.
- Reducing the number of times child victims must testify in order to civilly commit sex predators after their criminal term has been served. Since taking office in January, Attorney General Schmidt has made a priority of improving the state’s capacity to successfully prosecute civil commitment proceedings, to keep violent sex predators who are likely to re-offend away from society. This change in law, in House Bill 2071, will further improve the state’s ability to do so.
- Strengthening Kansas forfeiture law. House Bill 2010 added electronic solicitation, mistreatment of a dependent adult, forgery, identity theft and other crimes to the Kansas Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act. This will allow prosecutors the authority, with a court’s permission, to seize the assets of criminals who engage in these crimes.
The legislature also enacted other important public safety legislation including:
- Deterring copper theft. The theft of copper and other metals is a significant problem that can cause substantial damage and loss to Kansas businesses and individuals. The new legislation, House Bill 2312, will strengthen penalties for metal theft and will make it harder for thieves to sell stolen metals.
- Strengthening DUI laws. The measure, Senate Bill 6, was the result of a two-year commission that reviewed Kansas DUI laws. The measure strengthens the law in several ways. One key provision will establish a central database at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to track DUI convictions so prosecutors will have accurate information about prior convictions. The penalties for DUI convictions are based, in part, on the number of prior offenses.
All of the measures will become law if signed by Governor Sam Brownback.