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Minutes for HB2487 - Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice

Short Title

Providing immunity from prosecution for certain drug crimes when persons seek or provide medical assistance related to the use of a controlled substance.

Minutes Content for Thu, Jan 25, 2024

The Chair opened the hearing on HB2487.  Natalie Scott provided an overview of the bill.  (Attachment 1)

Representative Pat Proctor from the 41st District testified in support of the bill.   Representative Proctor said this bill is desperately needed.  It will remove an obstacle from people present with someone who is overdosing from not calling for help for fear of arrest and prosecution.  (Attachment 2)

Representative Jason Probst from the 102nd District testified in support of the bill.  Representative Probst said this is an important policy we can put in place to help families.  We owe it to Kansans to remove barriers to assistance.  We have to keep people alive long enough to get them into treatment.  (Attachment 3)

Representative Nick Hoheisel from the 97th District testified in support of the bill.  Representative Hoheisel asked the committee to not look at this bill as a soft on crime approach.  This is a pro-life bill that emphasizes the urgency of preserving life.  Kansas is one of two states without a good Samaritan law for drug overdoses.  (Attachment 4)

Ed Klumpp testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Kansas Sheriffs' Association, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police and the Kansas Peace Officers Association.  He said they support this bill with some conditions that are included in his written testimony.  It is important that people feel they can stay and help somebody in a medical emergency.  (Attachment 5)

Chrissy Mayer, Chief Community Based Services Officer with DCCCA testified in support of the bill.  She said this bill is needed to ensure people who experience an overdose are cared for while waiting for medical services to arrive.  Passage of this bill will save the lives of Kansans.  (Attachment 6)

Aonya Barnett, Director of Safe Streets Wichita Coalition testified in support of the bill.  She said that Safe Streets Wichita Coalition is in support of this policy change because it does create help for people who need it most. (Attachment 7)

Stuart Little testified in support of the bill on behalf of Behavioral Health Association of Kansas.  He said this bill is an important part of getting people into recovery.  (Attachment 8)

Amber Saale, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Saale shared her family's story of losing four members to illicit fentanyl within the past two years.  She said this law could be the difference between life and death for someone.  (Attachment 9)

Andy Burris, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Mr. Burris shared his family's story of losing their son due to fentanyl poisoning.  He said helping our friend, neighbor, or stranger is the American way and prays this bill will be passed.  (Attachment 10)

Sapphire Garcia-Lies, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Garcia-Lies shared her story of losing a family member due to an overdose.  She said the disease of addiction continues to devastate many families in Kansas and that this bill will lead to the preservation of many lives.  (Attachment 11)

Mindy Cox, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Cox shared her story of losing four people to illicit fentanyl.  She said we can make it easier for people to pick up the phone and dial 911 to get others help without the fear of being arrested themselves.  (Attachment 12)

Mitzi Groves, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Groves shared the story of her son's drug overdose and the legal ramifications that came with them calling 911 for medical assistance.  She said that Kansas is behind - it is one of two states that continues to prosecute drug overdoses which adds tragedy on top of tragedy.  (Attachment 13)

Jenni Ebert, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Ebert shared her story of losing her son to a fentanyl overdose.  She said there should not be a penalty for calling for help and trying to do the right thing to help someone in need.  (Attachment 14)

Kelly Garner, Private Citizen testified in support of the bill.  Ms. Garner shared her story of losing her daughter to a fentanyl overdose.  She said she believes users are afraid to talk to law enforcement about this drug for fear of repercussions against them which hampers law enforcement's ability to investigate cases.  (Attachment 15)

Written only proponent testimony was submitted by:

  • Robert Stuart, Executive Officer, Kansas Bureau of Investigation  (Attachment 16)
  • Kansas Dept for Aging & Disability Services and Kansas Dept of Health & Environment  (Attachment 17)
  • Jonathan Smith, Director, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health  (Attachment 18)
  • Tim DeWeese, Director, Johnson County Mental Health Center  (Attachment 19)
  • Joseph Sullivan, Chief of Police, Wichita Police Department  (Attachment 20)
  • Emily Brandt, Assistant Appellate Defender on behalf of the BIDS Legislative Committee  (Attachment 21)
  • Kristy Baughman, Executive Director, United Community Services of Johnson County  (Attachment 22)
  • Erin Attebery, Policy Chair & Intern, Kansas Public Health Association  (Attachment 23)
  • Rob Santel, Cross-Lines Community Outreach  (Attachment 24)
  • Dustin Hare, Public Policy Analyst, Wyandotte County Health Department  (Attachment 25)
  • Lisa Vayda, Private Citizen  (Attachment 26)
  • Amanda Bickley, Private Citizen  (Attachment 27)
  • Elizabeth Davis, Private Citizen  (Attachment 28)
  • Shannon Earnshaw, Private Citizen  (Attachment 29)

Emily Hage, President & CEO of First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention & Recovery testified as neutral on the bill.  Ms. Hage said they want Kansans to feel empowered to provide life saving assistance to friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.  Strengthening this law to protect bystanders responding to an overdose emergency is the right next step in the state's battle against the overdose crisis.  (Attachment 30)

Nicholas Reinecker, Private Citizen testified as an opponent to the bill - not without empathy for the people and families who have lost loved ones.  His opposition is because he feels the bill doesn't make sense as written and it tries to put a mask on society's current mandate.  (Attachment 31)

The Chair closed the hearing on HB2487.