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Nov. 17, 2017
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Minutes for SB179 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Amending human trafficking and related crimes; creating certain new crimes; requiring certain training for commercial driver's license applicants; addressing offender registration, expungement of juvenile adjudications and victim compensation.

Minutes Content for Tue, Mar 7, 2017

Jason Thompson gave a brief on the bill saying that the bill concerns human trafficking related crimes, and then he went on to explain that it creates certain new crimes, requires certain training for commercial driver's license applicants, and addresses offender registration, expungement of juvenile adjudications, and victim compensation.

At the conclusion of the brief there was a discussion about the rule of lenity, which concerns interpretation of ambiguous statues.

Chairman Wilborn then directed the Committee to the next order of business.

Proponents:

Attorney General Derek Schmidt shared his support (Attachment 1) of SB 179 saying that this bill is intended to help Kansas move to the top tier of states, in an effort to combat human trafficking. He explained that the bill offers support for victims, targets demand for unlawful sex with children, partners with truck drivers to combat human trafficking along roads and highways, and further refines the criminal laws used to combat human trafficking related crimes. Attorney General Schmidt admitted that support for victims can be challenging because of the nature of the crime, talking further about expunging records for minor victims and changing the name of the hotline. He concluded that the bill was intended to improve collection of fines: he suggested however, that there is still overhauling of the fines structure that should be considered.

During the discussion period, concerns were addressed that included victims gaining financially from other victims, age allowances, licensing, and deterrence.

Pat Colloton shared support (Attachment 2) for SB 179, highlighting that in 2013, the state board was created under the Attorney General to coordinate efforts statewide. She mentioned the difficulty of training persons that might come into contact with a victim of trafficking such as a medical professional, indicating that medical professionals likely see victims before law enforcement for a number of reasons. Ms. Colloton concluded by reminding the Committee that the board that was created has been effective and this bill improves the coordinated efforts to combat trafficking and to provide a path for victim recovery.

Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm began by sharing (Attachment 3) that she has had almost 25 years of personal, professional, and direct practice in issues pertaining to human trafficking. She went on to express her support for addressing the problems with human trafficking. Dr. Countryman-Raswurm also expressed her concerns including the criminalization of victims and survivors in the corrections system and ensuring minors who are trafficked are not put on the sex offender list. She concluded that she has been working with the Attorney General's Office to offer an amendment SB 179 and would fully support the amendment.

Kylla Lanier began her testimony in support (Attachment 4) of the bill, by first sharing a story about a truck driver who intervened in an Recreational Vehicle (RV) trafficking setup by calling in a tip. She then expressed how important the trucking industry is in fighting trafficking. She concluded by suggesting that Truckers Against Trafficking could lower or eliminate costs that were referred to the Committee in the fiscal note.

Marc Bennett offered testimony (Attachment 5) in support of SB 179 by saying that this offers support to victims. He explained his cooperation in helping to create this legislation and then went on to describe some of the reasoning behind specific sections. Mr. Bennett used the example found under New Section 1 that gives the same penalty for buying or selling people, to the buying and selling of drugs. He also clarified changes to new section 6, speaking to the victim being threatened or coerced. He concluded that he supports the amendments that have been proposed by the Attorney General.

Chairman Wilborn noted the written proponent testimony offered by Shared Hope International (Attachment 6).

Neutral:

Chairman Wilborn pointed out testimony offered by Lisa Kaspar (Attachment 7), the Director of the Division of Vehicles within the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Chairman Wilborn closed the hearing.