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Minutes for HB2424 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Police officer-involved death of a person; mandatory investigation; report open if no criminal charges; Kansas open records act change.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 18, 2020

Natalie Scott provided an overview of HB2424.(Attachment 1) Ms. Scott stood for questions.

Representative David Benson testified in support of the bill.(Attachment 2) Representative Benson believes this is not a partisan issue. It is patterned after a Wisconsin bill and would set up transparency in the process for all involved parties. He went over three components of the bill which are explained in his attached testimony. He believes this will build trust of our law enforcement agencies, stating Kansas has great law enforcement agencies and this bill is not needed because of any wrong doing but allows closure to families involved.

Sheila Albers testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 3) Ms. Albers, whose son was killed in a police shooting, wants more transparency with and after the investigation.

Mark Schmid testified in support of the bill.(Attachment 4) Mr. Schmid is representing the citizen advocacy group that was formed after the shooting of Ms. Alber's son. The group wants to see that investigative practices are the best possible. They feel there are improprieties with law enforcement agencies investigating themselves.

Chairperson Patton allowed Linda Finch to testify without any submitted testimony.

The membership was given the opportunity to ask questions of all the proponent conferees.

Chairperson Patton directed the membership to review the written proponent and neutral testimony in their bill folders.

Proponent Written

Neutral Written

  • Tom Hongslo provided testimony that was neutral for HB2424.(Attachment 9)

Amanda Stanley provided testimony in opposition to the bill. (Attachment 10) Ms. Stanley stated the Kansas Open Record Act, KORA requires two investigators from agencies other than the agency where the investigated officer is employed. Any major policy change should consider how it interacts with other bills being considered and protecting public privacy should be maintained.

Kirk Thompson provided testimony in opposition to the bill. (Attachment 11) Mr Thompson stated the KBI, as an investigative agency, has significant experience in this field and have well developed procedures for conducting investigations into these critical incidents. Investigations are currently led by investigators from an outside agency which is the norm in Kansas. One of the KBI's biggest concern is allowing information from people who are testifying, in confidence, to be made public record. That in itself would discourage future testimonies making resolution more difficult. Also allowing information to become public infringes on the right to privacy of others.

Chief John DeFore provided testimony in opposition to the bill. (Attachment 12) Mr. DeFore stated that some of the elements of the bill are already in place. He disagrees with investigation material being made public and that it is full of problems for all involved.

Sheriff Jeff Easter provided testimony in opposition to the bill. (Attachment 13) Sheriff Easter pointed out numerous problems with the bill which is detailed in his attached testimony.

Kim T. Parker provided testimony in opposition to the bill. (Attachment 14) Ms. Parker requested this piece of legislation and its multiple proposals be sent to the KCDA's currently established Best Practices Committee to deliberate and consider industry standards and best practices and report back to the body it's recommendations.

Chief Darrell Atteberry stood in for Chief Douglas Schroeder who was able to provide his testimony. (Attachment 15) Mr. Atteberry provided testimony in opposition to the bill. He explained the bill has many unintended consequences, so much that he does not believe it can be altered or revised in a way that would make it acceptable. His main concern is for the safety of witnesses, victims and the officer involved. The attachment is the original submitted by Mr. Schroeder.

The membership was given the opportunity to ask questions of all the conferees who testified against the bill.

Chairperson Patton directed the membership to review the opponent testimony in their bill folders.

Opponent Written

Chairperson Patton closed the hearing.