Today, we have been advised that House Bill 2424 on Officer Involved Deaths will be up for discussion on Tuesday February 18, 2020 at 3:30 pm in the House Judiciary Committee in room 346-South.
We have also learned that a second alternative bill House Bill 2667 has also been introduced by Rep. Resman from Olathe. This bill was just published today. They will both be addressed at the same time. I have uploaded both bills to STATE LEGISLATIVE UPDATES under Member Resources on this website.
We just learned about both this alternative bill and the hearing within the past 24 hours, so all of this is brand new information to us.
Our Lobbyist, John Pinegar is keeping us apprised of the developments as he learns about them. We continue to consult with the FOP State Attorney, Sean McCauley about the best ways to proceed. They both feel this is an important issue which you all may want to carefully examine.
However, if your local lodge wishes to have input on this or any of the legislation, please feel free to contact John Pinegar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 785-235-6245. You can send information to me and I will make sure he gets it.
The hearing was held on Tuesday. The committee heard testimony on both bills. There was both written and verbal testimony in favor, opposed and neutral on both bills.
The sponsor of HB 2424 stated that this was not an anti-Law Enforcement Bill. However, much of the testimony in favor of the bill misused the term "transparency" and equated anything non-transparent as mistrust in the Law Enforcement. They tended to group Law Enforcement/Investigations and Prosecution together. As you well know, these are separate. Most of the testimony in favor came from the families of persons who died during these type of incidents as well as press/media. They based their appeal on wanting more, if not all the investigative records because they did not trust in what they pre-conceived as lack of transparency.
Neutral testimony mostly came from State Agencies such as the KBI and League of Municipalities.
There was testimony in Opposition to these bills. Kansas State FOP joined the Kansas Sheriff's Association, The Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Police Officers Association, the Association of Kansas Prosecutors and several others in written testimony. The KACP and KSA gave written testimony.
There was a significant acknowledgement that there was a lot of work to be done on either Bill. The proponents of the bill’s final cast was that “something needs to be done.” There was a general thought that the issue should have review and revision in order to address some of the conflicts. It is unknown that this would come to fruition this year or not.
FOP Lobbyist, John Pinegar later talked to Representative Fred Patton, the Chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary who indicated he does not plan to take any further action on these bills this session and he will either ask the Kansas County and District Attorney’s Association to study the issue or refer the matter to the Kansas Judicial Council for Review.