Human trafficking fight, criminal justice reform priorities for Kansas AG

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is focused on the just-underway Kansas legislative session, not his political future.

In an interview for 13 NEWS Eye on Northeast Kansas, Schmidt said he hopes people can put the entirety of last year’s election and the start of this legislative session behind before focusing too much on what happens next.

Schmidt is thought by many to be a leading Republican to challenge Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly for a second term. Asked if he’d be interested, Schmidt replied, “We’ll see what happens.”

As for this legislative session, Schmidt said he is proud of the bipartisan work done over the past decade to make the state’s laws effective in fighting human trafficking. This session, he’s proposing a measure to require certain businesses along high-traffic areas to prominently display the Human Trafficking Hotline number. He says it’s a simple proposal for what’s a complex issue.

“I think now we’re on the cusp of the more difficult work. How do you deal, for example, with a situation where you have a victim who, because of being victimized, in turn victimizes others? Those are difficult questions that have to be answered and I think we’re still in the discussion phases on most of those,” he said.

Schmidt also is hopeful criminal justice reforms set aside last session when COVID hit may be revisited, including establishing a drug treatment prison.

“We know that, at the end of the day, if we want less crime in our community, the single biggest key to that is to break the cycle of addiction for people whose misbehavior is motivated by substance abuse,” he said.

Schmidt also discussed issues surrounding the Kansas Emergency Management Act and security alerts about potential protests. Watch the video to hear what he said.

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