TOPEKA – (October 31, 2018) – A committee of state senators today gave unanimous initial approval to the appointment of Richard Samaniego of Wichita to serve as chair of the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Board, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
The Senate Confirmation Oversight Committee today voted to allow Samaniego to begin serving as chair of the Crime Victims Compensation Board. Samaniego’s appointment is subject to a final vote of the full Senate when the Legislature convenes next year. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for November 8.
“Today’s action will allow Richard to begin serving in the role as chair of the Board,” Schmidt said. “I thank Richard for his willingness to serve in this position to assist crime victims throughout the state, and I appreciate the Senate’s willingness to move his confirmation forward.”
Schmidt nominated Samaniego to the position in August after the previous chair, Suzanne Valdez, of Lawrence, announced her retirement. Valdez served as the Board’s chair since 2010.
Samaniego is an attorney with Gibson Watson Marino LLC, where he practices family law, estate planning and probate law and represents municipalities in South Central Kansas. He previously represented corporate and nonprofit organizations, including the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, before the Kansas Legislature and other state government agencies.
Samaniego is active in the Wichita Bar Association, including serving as chair of its Legislative Committee. He is also a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the East Wichita Rotary Club, and the Wichita Crime Commission. He received a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Texas and his law degree from Washburn University School of Law.
“I’m extremely honored to be appointed by Attorney General Schmidt to serve on the Crime Victims Compensation Board,” Samaniego said. “I look forward to working with the attorney general’s office and the Board to help improve the lives of crime victims in Kansas.”
The state’s three-member Crime Victims Compensation Board determines claims by victims of violent crime who are eligible for financial assistance through the Crime Victims Compensation program. The program was established in 1978 to help crime victims pay for their unexpected expenses such as medical treatment, mental health counseling, lost wages, dependent support and funeral expenses. It is funded by a portion of assessed court costs and fines, inmate wages, parole fees and restitution paid by convicted offenders as well as by federal funds.
The board is supported by staff in the Division of Crime Victims Compensation in Schmidt’s office. By law, the board chair must be an attorney.
For more information about the Crime Victims Compensation program call (785) 296-2359 or visit the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/cvcb.