TOPEKA – (July 27, 2011) – The U.S. Department of Justice has approved recent upgrades to the Kansas sex offender online registry, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
The Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking this week notified Schmidt that they have reviewed Kansas’ updated offender registry laws and have determined the state has “substantially implemented the provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).” SORNA was enacted by Congress in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Kansas is the 10th state to achieve substantial compliance with SORNA.
“This announcement is great news for Kansas,” Schmidt said. “Kansas will be safer as a result of changes to the offender registry that were enacted this year, and it’s now clear we will be doing our part among all the states in implementing the national standards for registering sex offenders and getting information out to the public.”
The overhaul legislation was the product of more than a year of work by the Offender Registration Working Group that included public safety officials from many agencies. In January, Schmidt backed it as his top legislative priority for the year. The measure, Senate Bill 37, passed the House of Representatives 118-0 and the Senate 38-1. Governor Brownback signed the bill into law on May 25.
As a result of the federal approval of the new Kansas laws, Kansas will remain eligible for its full share of federal public safety grant money. If Kansas had not changed its law to comply with federal requirements, it would have been subject to a reduction in federal grant funding as a penalty.
The new law will require offenders to register more frequently. It also shortens the amount of time allowed for offenders to re-register after moving to a new address, increases the length of time some offenders remain on the registry, and increases penalties for repeatedly failing to register. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s Offender Registration Unit maintains the online registry and was tasked with implementing the new law.
“Kansas communities have been made safer through the cooperative efforts of the Kansas Offender Registration Working Group, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Offender Registration Unit, Attorney General Schmidt and the Kansas Legislature,” said Kirk Thompson, whom Schmidt has nominated as the new director for the KBI. “Achieving compliance with SORNA is a major accomplishment for which all citizens of our state should be proud.”