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KS: Changes to juvenile offender registration shelved


TOPEKA — A Kansas House bill contemplating changes to juvenile offender registration has been delayed so that it can be reviewed by the Judicial Council.

The council will review the legislation and make recommendations on how to proceed, Rep. J. Russell Jennings, R-Lakin, said during a committee meeting last week. No legislative action is expected this session.

Last month, three people spoke in favor of the measure, which proposed treating juvenile sex offenders the same as adult sex offenders in terms of registration requirements. Information on adult sex offenders is publicly available. In juvenile cases, judges have discretion on making registration public and on the length of registration.

The bill was propelled by the August 2017 double homicide of former Garden City resident Alyssa Runyon and her daughter Zaylynn Paz. The pair were murdered in Newton by a man who had been convicted of sex crimes as a juvenile and whose information wasn’t on the public offender registry.

Sarah Good, Runyon’s aunt, testified that current law prioritizes the rights of the offender over the rights of the general public. Changing the law gives the public the opportunity to be aware, informed and protected, she said.

Runyon’s father and Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican, also testified as proponents of the bill.

Several individuals and groups, including the Kansas Department of Corrections, opposed the measure.

Benet Magnuson, executive director of Kansas Appleseed, said Kansas case law has determined that it is ineffective and unfair to punish youths as though they were adults.

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Join the discussion

  1. AlexO

    Sounds more like an argument to make every conviction public, not just sex offenses. Pretty sure parents would love to know that person their child is riding with hasn’t had prior DUI’s. Or that person they’re starting a relationship wasn’t wasn’t a domestic abuser. Or that business partner doesn’t have history of theft and cooking books.

    Just stop with the “if only”. If you were that concerned about peoples history, you’d be using those million and one background check services. And those actually cover everything. One person’s laziness shouldn’t destroy millions of lives.

  2. ReadyToFight

    Geeeeee, I wonder why……..👉🏻🤑👈🏻

  3. JoeHillsGhost

    “…research has shown youth registration is ineffective and that resources should be redirected towards prevention and treatment. Research has also determined that youth registration can be harmful.”

    I know this article focuses on kids, but ADULT registration is equally as ineffective and harmful. Resources that go towards registration of any kind would be better spent on prevention and treatment.

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