Governor signs three bills

In an effort to improve protections for child victims of sex crimes, Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 18 on Monday afternoon.

“Judges must interpret and apply the law with common sense and an understanding of the real world, especially in child sex crime cases,” Kelly said. “I was deeply troubled when a Kansas judge viewed a child victim as an aggressor when an adult commits a sex crime. I’m pleased to sign this bill eliminating the ability to reduce sentences for sex crimes in these cases.”

Previously, state law allowed judges to reduce the length of prison sentences from statutory sentence guidelines by finding that the victim of certain crimes contributed to the criminal conduct by being an “aggressor or participant.” Senate Bill 18 eliminates that reason for a downward departure in sentencing for sexually violent crimes when the victim is younger than 14 years and the offender is an adult. It also would make that departure factor unavailable when human trafficking victims are involved regardless of their age.

In addition, Kelly signed House Bill 2223, and Senate Bill 20.

Senate Bill 18
Senate Bill 18 also amends statutes regarding the crime of counterfeiting currency; access to presentence investigation reports; authority to enter into diversion agreements; out-of-state criminal history; appeals related to criminal cases; correction of illegal sentences; drug abuse treatment programs; probation violation sanctions; the penalties for the crimes of involuntary manslaughter and abuse of a child; a mitigating factor for sentencing when a victim is an aggressor or participant in the criminal conduct associated with a crime of conviction; and law enforcement notifications to domestic violence victims, as follows.

Note: Although the bill itself would be effective upon publication in the Kansas Register, numerous individual provisions, as noted throughout, would be effective July 1, 2019.

House Bill 2223
House Bill 2223 requires analyses and reporting of certain economic development incentive programs to be performed by the Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA) and the Department of Commerce. The bill also extends the maximum maturity on bonds issued to finance projects under the Kansas Rural Housing Incentive District Act.

Senate Bill 20
Senate Bill 20 extends judicial branch surcharges on various docket fees, creates law concerning tribal court judgments, and amends provisions regarding bonding in the statute governing the crime of cruelty to animals.