TOPEKA – (May 25, 2011) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today praised Governor Sam Brownback’s announcement that he has signed into law legislation to overhaul the Kansas offender registry.
“This reformed law will make Kansas safer by helping keep Kansans better informed about registered offenders who live in their neighborhoods,” Schmidt said. “The legislature deserves credit for enacting this overhaul this year, and I appreciate the governor’s decision to sign it into law.”
The overhaul legislation is the product of more than a year of work by the Offender Registration Working Group that included public safety officials from many agencies. In January, Schmidt backed it as his top legislative priority for the year. It passed the House of Representatives 118-0 and the Senate 38-1. Governor Brownback announced today that he has signed the bill into law.
The measure, Senate Bill 37, makes numerous changes to the online offender registry maintained by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and available to the public. Key changes made to the registry include:
Improving the accuracy of the registry by requiring certain sex offenders to register more frequently, and reducing the time to register and update from 14 days to 3 days after the offender changes address.
- Making the registry more user-friendly by better grouping offenders by the type of conviction – sex offenders, violent offenders and drug trafficking offenders.
- Making the registry more complete by prohibiting certain sex offenders from expunging their convictions while they remain on the registry. This prevents the “bootstrapping” approach of an offender using an expungement as reason to be removed from the registry early.
- Increasing criminal penalties on offenders who repeatedly fail to register, thereby encouraging registration and increasing the accuracy and completeness of the information on the registry.
- Increasing the length of time serious and repeat offenders must register.
The overall effect of enacting this legislation will be to bring Kansas into substantial compliance with the requirements of the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Federal law requires compliance by late July of this year, and Kansas will be among the first 10 states to comply.
The Kansas offender registry is available online at the attorney general's Website, www.ksag.org, or at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's website, www.accesskansas.org/kbi. Schmidt encourages Kansans to log on and become informed about any offenders who reside in their neighborhoods.