Kansas Senate approves tougher penalties for home burglaries

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Kansas Senate overwhelmingly approved, 38-1, tough new penalties for criminals who break into homes. It now goes to the Kansas House.

Senate Substitute for House Bill 2049 stiffens penalties for burglary of a dwelling, making time in prison more likely. Under current laws, those who break into empty homes would receive only probation.

The bill also increases prison sentences for felons who break into a home with people are inside it. Under the bill, breaking into an occupied home would be Level IV felony, increasing prison sentences by an average of almost one year.

The provision originated from local Kansas prosecutors, specifically Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson. “I’m glad to know that victims of burglaries of their home can regain a feeling of safety again,” he said.

In addition to increasing prison time, HB 2049 would make first-time marijuana possession a Class B misdemeanor that can be punished with no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“The passage of HB 2049 by the Kansas Senate is a step in the right direction in criminal justice reform,” said Sen. Greg Smith (R-Overland Park). “It protects the public by putting violent criminals in prison while making efficient use of resources to protect the Kansas taxpayer.”

Today, less than 30% of all felons who burgle homes spend time in prison.

“HB 2049 is common sense justice,” said Senator Jeff King (R-Independence). “People who break into the sanctity of the home should spend time in prison. HB 2049 helps make that happen.”

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