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Rep. Gail Finney,

KS 84th Dist.

The legislative session for 2015 has been extremely busy and moving along pretty fast as we try to manage our State’s self-inflicted financial woes.

Again this session I am serving on the House Appropriations, Corrections and Juvenile Justice, and Transportation and Public Safety Budgets Committees. On Appropriations I have fought to try and keep $14.5 million dollars from being swept from our Children’s Initiative Key Fund and enough money in our state Disaster Fund in case of another major emergency such as the Greensburg tornado incident in May 2007. On the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, I introduced three major bills: Body Cameras for Law Enforcement (HB2137), Civil Asset Forfeiture, and a Sexual Assault Protection bill (HB2147).

The body camera bill requires law enforcement officers statewide to be equipped and wear body cameras while on duty. This bill was also introduced on the Senate side and recently a hearing was held. I strongly believe the use of body worn cameras (BWC) statewide will be a win-win for our citizens, law enforcement officers, and law enforcement agencies in the State of Kansas. It could serve as a tool to protect both the police and the public, and be a safeguard against abuse of power. Body cameras would help make a positive difference in the public trust and assist our officers. If implemented and utilized correctly, the camera recordings will be able to show exactly what happened, what was said, the actions or inactions, and making sure we have more accountability and transparency.

The Civil Asset Forfeiture bill requires someone to be convicted of an offense before their assets can be seized or forfeited and taken away by law enforcement or the government. Kansas civil forfeiture laws place an excessive burden on property owners while also providing a strong profit incentive for law enforcement agencies.  The government need only show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property meets the forfeiture definition.  Once that burden is met, a property owner bears the burden of showing that his interest in the property is not forfeitable.

The Sexual Assault from Protection Act bill will incorporate protections for sexual assault victims into the existing Protection from Abuse Act (PFAA) and the Protection from Stalking Act (PFSA). This bill closes a loop hole for victims whom have been sexually assaulted once but unable to get a protection order underneath the current statute because they are not in a relationship with the perpetrator or have not been repeatedly stalked. These victims need safety and protection – just as domestic violence and stalking victims do. This bill was drafted with support of the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Prior to the beginning of the session I pre-filed and re-introduced the Cannabis Compassionate Care Act bill (HB2011) and introduced a Distinctive License Plate bill (HB2013) for the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as the State Representative for the 84th District.