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Kansas enhances penalties for crimes against police officers

Associated Press - May 7, 2017 8:25 am

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

A new law signed Friday by Kansas GOP Gov. Sam Brownback enhances penalties for those who commit crimes against police officers.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate worked this week to pass the bill so Brownback could sign it Friday in honor of Kansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day. The House passed the bill 115-9 Tuesday. The Senate passed it 38-0 Wednesday.

The law enhances penalties for non-drug felonies against police officers if the officer is on duty or if the perpetrator knows the victim is a police officer. It was passed along with measures regarding interrogation recordings and lower sentences for some drug crimes.

Some lawmakers wanted the bill to include a broader hate crimes penalty. Brownback says that’s unlikely as the legislative session nears its end.