TOPEKA, Kan. (April 6, 2018) – Last Monday, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a bill into law implementing strict reporting requirements for all asset forfeitures in the state. The bill takes a first step that could lead to substantive reforms.
The Committee on Judiciary introduced House Bill 2459 (HB2459) on Jan. 11. The new law requires Kansas law enforcement agencies to report the date, location, and value of asset seizures. They also must disclose whether or not criminal charges were filed. Additionally, police departments must keep a careful accounting of asset forfeiture proceeds, including information on how the money is spent. The law requires Kansas law enforcement agencies to also report any cases passed off to the federal government.The information will be available on a public website.
Although HB2459 doesn’t reform Kansas asset forfeiture laws, it does lay a foundation to do so in the future. By increasing transparency, HB2459 will allow Kansans to actually see the reality of asset forfeiture. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best antiseptic. Transparency often creates the momentum needed to drive future change.
When the Institute for Justice tried to get asset forfeiture data from the Kansas State Police, it …
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