Topeka More sexual, violent and drug offenders will likely be required to register with the state under the current version of amendments to the Kansas Offender Registration Act.
On Tuesday, the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard testimony for and against proposed amendments to the registry. Expansions include violators convicted in municipal courts and juveniles convicted in other states. The amendment also requires offenders to register when they are convicted. Currently, they register when they are sentenced or make a plea.
Lawmakers are expanding the registry to comply with the federal Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act. Under SORNA, violators register at local sheriff’s offices several times a year to create a national database.
Opponents raised issues with the amendments, such as adding municipal drug violators and keeping low-risk offenders on the registry. Jennifer Roth, of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said nearly half of the registrants are drug and violent offenders, not sexual.
Drug offenses that require registration are manufacturing of methamphetamine, possessing precursors to methamphetamine and distribution of a controlled substance besides marijuana.
Chairwoman Pat Colloton, R-Leawood, said she wanted to remove drug offenders from the registry. But she said it would be difficult to do so during an election year when candidates do not want to appear soft on crime.
“Does it make sense to include these people in here either from a use of resource or encouraging in recidivism? No,” she said. She said municipal drug violators would probably be left out of the final version of the amendment.
Colloton said the committee will finalize the bill and present it to the House floor.