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Minutes for HB2011 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Removing the authority of the secretary of state to prosecute election crimes.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 17, 2021

 

Chairperson Patton opened the hearing on HB2011.  Natalie Scott provided an overview of the bill.(Attachment 5) Ms. Scott stood for questions.

Proponent

Clay Barker (Attachment 6) explained that for several years, local officials did not prosecute accusations of voter fraud due to limited resources and higher profile crimes. The reasoning was understandable and served as the basis for the previous secretary to seek prosecutorial power. However, unlike his predecessor, Secretary Schwab is a businessman, not an attorney and believes the resources of the Office should concentrate on administering the hundreds of specific statutory duties delegated to the Office of Secretary of State and ensuring Kansas elections continue to be secure and trustworthy. The mere continued possession of prosecutorial authority can make the Secretary of State a target for litigation based on a claimed threat of potential prosecution. Additionally, criminal prosecutions require lawyers and staff with specialized skills and experience. The Office of Secretary of State lacks this expertise and criminal prosecutions are generally beyond its capabilities and limited resources. His office believes HB2011 is a good bill to allow the Attorney General and his office to prosecute this crime and his office would assist with factual analysis of the potential crime.

 

Written Proponent

  • Derek Schmidt, Kansas Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General (Attachment 7)

Chairperson Patton asked if there were any additional testimony. Being none, he closed the hearing on HB2011.