Principal Research Analyst
Managing Research Analyst
In 2019, the Legislature passed HB 2290 establishing the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission (Commission), composed of 16 voting members and 3 nonvoting members, including legislators, Judicial Branch personnel, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement personnel, and other stakeholders. The Commission was required to analyze, review, and study various criminal justice topics as specified by the bill. The Commission submitted an interim report to the Legislature in November 2019 (http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/CommitteeReports/2019CommitteeReports/KS-CriminalJustRefmComm-cr.pdf) and a final report and recommendations in December 2020 based on the charge in HB 2290 (http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/Resources/Documents/Justice-Reform/Report_KCJRC_2021.pdf).
In 2021, the Legislature passed HB 2077, amending the charge of the Commission with respect to the topics of diversion and supervision; adding a public defender member; removing statutorily required study topics; and extending the final report deadline to December 1, 2021.
2021 Legislation Related to Commission Recommendations
Six bills were prefiled for introduction by the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice that were similar to recommendations made by the Commission. Each of the six bills were filed in both the House and the Senate: SB 3, HB 2026; SB 4, HB 2027; SB 5, HB 2028; SB 6, HB 2030; and SB 8, HB 2031. Of those bills, HB 2026 became law, which also included the provisions of HB 2027.
Seven bills sponsored by other members or committees (HB 2192, HB 2193, HB 2215, HB 2275, HB 2350, HB 2361, HB 2370) were related to legislative recommendations made by the Commission in the 2021 Session; the contents of three of these bills were enacted (HB 2192, HB 2193, HB 2275). In addition to bills recommended by the Commission, several bills including provisions discussed by the Commission in 2020 were requested by the Kansas Sentencing Commission.
2021 Interim Commission Activity
Following its practice in the 2020 Interim, the Commission organized itself into subcommittees in June 2021 to study and make recommendations regarding diversion, proportionality and sentencing, race, and three subcommittees related to supervision of offenders. The Commission approved several recommendations as presented by the six subcommittees in November 2021. The final report is available at http://www.kslegresearch.org/KLRD-web/Publications/Resources/Documents/Justice-Reform/KCJRC-final-report-Dec-2021.pdf.