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Minutes for HB2365 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Providing immunity from criminal prosecution for possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia if seeking assistance related to substance use.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 22, 2021

 

Chairperson Patton opened the hearing on HB2365.  Natalie Scott provided an overview of the bill. (Attachment 3) Ms. Scott stood for questions.

Proponent

Lisa Vayda (Attachment 4) stated she was testifying at the hearing representing many Kansas Citizens who have shared their heartbreaking narratives about their child, loved one, colleague, or friend who might be alive if someone had called 911 when they overdosed.  Ms. Vayda explained they do not always know the reasons why they did not seek medical assistance.  However, passage of this bill would remove the barrier of fear of prosecution for seeking medical attention, and possibly more importantly saving a life.  

Seth Dewey spoke from his personal experience working with a variety of organizations. (Attachment 5) Mr. Dewey thanked the membership for all they do and in hearing his testimony. He believes that HB2365 will save lives and it will help organizations collect vital data and information that can be used in prevention and education work along with being another step in tearing down some of the stigma that continually puts up barriers between "People Who Use Drugs" and those trying to help. 

Both the proponents stood for questions.

Written Proponent

Opponent

Gregory Smith (Attachment 10) explained his concerns about the bill with regard to age stating this bill does not make a distinction between minors, young adults, and adults. This bill would exempt any person, of any age, from criminal prosecution for engaging in behavior they know or should know is criminal and has the possibility of serious physical harm or death. The research into brain science shows that critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until a person is at least 25 years old. To put it another way, a minor isn’t making the best decisions due to biology. That is not the case with an adult. Mr. Smith stood for questions.

 

Chairperson Patton asked if there were any additional conferees. Being none, he closed the hearing on HB2365,