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Minutes for HB2088 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Requiring visual observation of an alleged victim of child abuse or neglect as part of an investigation.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 1, 2021

Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HB2088.  Matt Sterling, Office of Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview on the bill (Attachment 9).

Chairperson Barker recognized Representative Ruiz as a proponent of HB2088 (Attachment 10).  Representative Ruiz stated that HB2088 makes it mandatory for a person living in a home where a child is being abused to report the abuse to the authorities unless they themselves are being abused or do not recognize the abuse. 

Chairperson Barker recognized Tanya Keys as a proponent of the bill (Attachment 11).  The Department for Children and Families (DCF) supports HB2088 which requires DCF and law enforcement to visually observe an alleged victim of child abuse or neglect during the course of an investigation of the report and document that observation.  In instances when DCF and law enforcement are jointly investigating a case, both will be required to visually observe the child.

Chairperson Barker asked if there were any other proponents to HB2088.  Judy Conway, the grandmother of Adrian Jones who died in 2015 as a result of child abuse, testified as a proponent before the Committee but did not provide any written testimony.

Chairperson Barker stated that there was written proponent testimony from Lori Ross, FosterAdoptConnect (Attachment 12) and Rachel Marsh, Children's Alliance of Kansas (Attachment 13).

Chairperson Barker recognized Ed Klumpp who testified in opposition to HB2088 (Attachment 14).  He stated that the law enforcement agencies he represents have concerns about the practical application of this law without reasonable exception.  Legislating investigative practices as a requirement in every case is fraught with unintended consequences and costs. It can open the agency up for liability even when best practices have been followed in such cases.  Questions were asked by Representatives Ruiz, Howe, Miller, and Waggoner.

Chairperson Barker noted that there were no other opponents, but there was written neutral testimony from John Goodyear (Attachment 15).

Chairperson Barker closed the hearing on HB2088.

Chairperson Barker stated that HB2087 will be worked at tomorrow's meeting.  Additional bills may be worked later in the week.  He does not anticipate having a meeting on Friday.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:55 a.m.