Kansas Lawmakers Eye Change to Citizen-Petitioned Grand Jury

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas House will vote next week whether to allow changes to the petition process that allows citizens to convene grand juries.

The House debated the bill Thursday and advanced it to final action on a voice vote. The final vote is scheduled for Tuesday. If approved, it would go to the Senate.

The measure would allow those responsible for calling grand juries to observe while judges give instructions to jurors. The move aims to address concerns from some citizens that the secretive grand jury process is unduly influenced by judges or prosecutors.

Kansas is one of six states that allow citizens to petition for grand juries.

The 1887 law was rarely used until abortion opponents discovered it about a decade ago to force grand jury investigations of abortion clinics.