Topeka Bounty hunters would have to notify local law enforcement before trying to apprehend a fugitive but could enter homes without knocking under a bill approved Friday in the Senate.
Sent to the House on a 35-5 vote, the legislation also would prohibit convicted felons from working as bounty hunters or bail bondsmen.
The same ban would apply to anyone convicted in the previous 10 years of several other offenses ranging from assault on a law enforcement officer to a crime involving moral turpitude or "dishonesty."
Proponents of the legislation -- chiefly law enforcement agencies -- contend Kansas needs a definitive law on who may legally pursue bail-jumpers and fugitives.
Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to allow people convicted of some nonviolent felonies to work as bounty hunters. He argued that people who have been rehabilitated through the penal system should be qualified to hold such a job.
But the Senate gave broad support to an amendment by Sen. Phil Journey to allow bounty hunters to enter a house unannounced in search of a fugitive.
Forcing bounty hunters to knock or identify themselves before going into a home eventually would get someone killed, said Journey, R-Haysville. A knock at the door could give a fugitive time to flee through another door or, worse, to grab a gun and open fire, he said.
Sen. Ed Pugh, R-Wamego, voted against the bill, saying it had "schizophrenic tendencies." and required bounty hunters to have a better background than some Kansas school teachers.
Bounty hunters bill is SB 299.
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Kansas Legislature: http://www.kslegislature.org