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Minutes for SB458 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Specifying that certain drug offenses do not give rise to forfeiture under the Kansas standard asset seizure and forfeiture act, requiring courts to make a finding that forfeiture is not excessive, restricting actions prior to commencement of forfeiture proceedings, requiring probable cause affidavit filing and review to commence proceedings, increasing the burden of proof required to forfeit property to clear and convincing evidence, providing persons involved in forfeiture proceedings the ability to request a jury trial, authorizing courts to order payment of attorney fees and costs for certain claimants and requiring the Kansas bureau of investigation to submit forfeiture fund financial reports to the legislature.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 13, 2024

Chairwoman Warren opened hearing on SB458

Jason Thompson provided overview of bill and stood for questions (Attachment 1)

Oletha Faust-Goudeau Senator, 29th District, State of Kansas, provided testimony in support of this bill.  She is asking for favorable support of SB458, sending relief to our constituents.  (Attachment 2)

Sam MacRoberts, Kansas Justice Institute, provided testimony supporting SB458.  His conclusion is forfeiture reform is necessary to increase governmental accountability, strengthening protections for innocent Kansans from potential government overreach, and minimizing asset forfeiture's biggest problems.  (Attachment 3)

Greg Glod, supports SB458 and after speaking with lawmakers and stakeholders, it became clear that although there are differences in policy, all wanted the same thing; allow police to effectively do their job and ensure innocent property owners don't have to fight bureaucracy. (Attachment 4)

Conferees stood for questions. Senator Olson asked if there was access to a public online website that holds information on seized assets.  Jason Thompson stated there was information available. 

Note:  Natalie Nelson, Kansas Legislative Research Department, provided the attached documents related to asset forfeiture requested by Senators Olson and Haley during the February 13, 2024 committee meeting.(Attachment 5),(Attachment 6) (Attachment 7) (Attachment 8) (Attachment 9) (Attachment 10) (Attachment 11)

Written-only testimony in support of SB458 was submitted by:

No neutral conferees.

Daniel Burrows, Chief Deputy Attorney General, testified in opposition to SB458.  The Attorney General supports asset forfeiture reform.  In the last year they have stopped thousands of dollars in unwarranted forfeiture allegations from moving forward.  The Attorney General supports the necessary reforms in HB2606, rather than SB458  (Attachment 14)

Edward James Bain, on behalf of Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission staff, stated that the KRGC is concerned about several of the recommended changes to the civil asset forfeiture laws in Kansas.  They have a strong record of fair dealing with claimants through negotiation.  The procedural safeguards already in place have been successful in preventing abuse by KRGC in seizures for gambling related offenses. (Attachment 15)

Tony Mattivi, Director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, is opposed to SB458, and like the Attorney General, supports the reforms in HB2606. However, if the Senate Committee on the Judiciary were to eliminate the provision of this bill that go beyond the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Asset Forfeiture, he would then urge adoption of the legislation. (Attachment 16)

Sheriff Jeff Easter, Kansas Sheriffs' Association (KSA), is not supportive with this bill as it is currently written.  KSA testified in the Special Committee on Civil Asset Forfeiture on areas of the subcommittee report that we agreed with and areas we did not agree with, regarding the subcommittee recommendations. (Attachment 17) 

Chief Darrell Atteberry, on behalf of Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, supports most changes suggested by the Judicial Council Civil Asset Forfeiture Advisory Committee in their December 1, 2023 report as they are represented in SB458.  But they do have some areas of concern that force us to take an opponent stance on the bill. (Attachment 18)

Chief Paul Schliffke, Past President, Kansas Peace Officers Association Legislative Committee, stated their opposition is based on 3 items of the bill and recommends changes. (Attachment 19)

Luther Ganieany, on behalf of Kansas Highway Patrol, provided testimony in opposition to the bill.  It was stated that raising the State's burden of proof will unnecessarily make the recovery of unlawful criminal profits more difficult.  Two additional reports were included with this testimony.  (Attachment 20), (Attachment 21), (Attachment 22)

The opponent conferees stood for questions.

Written-only testimony in opposition of SB458 was submitted by:

No further conferees. 

Chairwoman Warren closed the hearing on SB458

Meeting adjourned at 12:13 p,m.