Big Horn County CARES (Crisis and Referral Emergency Services) and Basin Chief of Police Chris Kampbell have been following legislation closely during the current Wyoming Legislative Session.
One bill both agencies are following is House Bill 204 — Katie’s Law — that would require anyone arrested for a felony, or currently incarcerated on a felony would be required to provide a DNA sample.
Felonies that fall under the bill include homicide, sexual act, kidnapping, burglary or robbery, stalking or aggravated assault.
Kampbell said, “This bill would benefit the investigative process and could help solve some unsolved crimes.”
The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.
Another bill, Kampbell supports is HB 230 – school security and safety. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Nathan Winters, (HD28-Thermopolis, R) and provides financial assistance to school districts wanting to provide for additional school resource officers. According to the Legislative Service Office fiscal note, the bill contains an appropriation of $5.5 million from the School Foundation Fund to the Department of Education and $500,000 from the School Capital Construction Account to the School Facilities Department.
The bill states districts would be eligible for one officer for up to 1,000 students and additional officers for each 1,000 students.
Kampbell said he also supports HB189, which would repeal the Real ID and thus make it easier for people to get their driver’s license. The bill is currently in the House judiciary committee
CARES and other victim advocacy groups including the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, are following a number of other bills:
HB105 – Both the coalition and Chief Kampbell expressed concerns about the Citizens and Students Self Defense Act. The act would allow people to carry concealed weapons into any school or professional athletic event in the state.
Kampbell said he would support the bill “if people are properly trained and have had appropriate training on gun safety and a concealed weapons permit from the state that states they have completed that training.
The proposed legislation states that “Persons holding a valid concealed carry permit issued by the state of Wyoming under W.S. 6-8-104(a)(ii) may carry a concealed weapon” into schools and athletic events. However, the legislation exempted people from having to obtain a concealed weapons permit if the meet certain requirement listed under W.S. 6-8-104(b)(i-vi, viii, ix).
“Right now in Wyoming you don’t have to have a permit so I don’t think those people should be allowed to carry into a school.”
The coalition states they oppose the bill based on their own firearms policy.
HB 08 – Child Abuse Reporting Requirement. The bill adds a penalty for persons or agencies who are mandated by law to report possible child abuse.
Kampbell said, “I think this a good thing. We don’t have a huge problem with people who have to report not reporting, but it’s still good to put some teeth into the law.”
The bill has passed out of the House and introduced in the Senate.
HB15 — violent injuries – reporting requirements. The bill passed third reading in the House Tuesday. It would require certain health care professionals to report violent injuries that are inflicted upon a patient by themselves or another person.
The bill was amended from shall report to may report. Kampbell said he is concerned with the word “may” because some gunshot wounds may go unreported. He said state law requires auto body shops to report if a vehicle comes in with bullet holes, but if the legislation passes, people who are shot will not have to be reported to law enforcement.
HB74 – Sex offenders and residence near child care facilities. The bill was introduced last year and is currently sitting in committee. The coalition opposes the bill stating, “Restricting where registered offenders can live just forces them to lie and/or not register.”
HB121 — The Felony Crime Victim Advocate bill would allow for the presence of a victim’s advocate at the time of the questioning of victims of a felony. This is a bill the coalition requested this year. The other bills requested are HB133 – human trafficking, which passed the House and SF120 on sexual assault protection orders, both of which are in the Senate judiciary committee.