CRIME BILL PACKAGE BY STATE SENATOR CHRIS KAPENGA
On Thursday, I testified before the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on my two crime bills which will make our communities safer.
The first bill focuses on an epidemic of vehicle thefts, reckless driving, and instances of fleeing an officer that have been highlighted as a major public safety concern across the state. Oftentimes, these acts of crime are intertwined.
The bill addresses vehicle theft by increasing penalties by one felony classification. It also imposes a 30-day mandatory minimum term of incarceration for vehicle theft, knowingly being a passenger in a stolen vehicle, or for removing a part of a vehicle without consent of the owner. This change would also apply to juvenile cases. All too often, we see prosecutors letting repeat juvenile offenders off with no consequences only exacerbating the vehicle theft problem. The bill also addresses the epidemic of reckless driving and instances of fleeing an officer. This bill would adopt those recommendations by increasing penalties for reckless driving in both criminal and noncriminal instances as well as increase penalties by one felony classification for fleeing an officer.
My second bill addresses crimes being committed by repeat felons who should have never been in possession of a firearm to begin with. The lack of consequences under existing laws creates little incentive for violent felons to stop illegally carrying a firearm. To address this lack of action, our bill would require that prosecutors seeking to dismiss charges, amend charges, or place an individual in a deferred prosecution program for a violent felon in possession of a firearm would need the approval of the court before being able to do so.
By passing this bill, we can improve transparency and accountability in our justice system and ensure violent repeat offenders receive the full scrutiny of the court and help make our communities safer.