Attorney General candidate Phill Kline told the Riley County Republican Assembly Monday night that if elected he would work hard to fight crime.
"I happen to live in the same house that I grew up in, less than eight miles from where my great-great grandfather first settled in Kansas in 1870. It’s sad that, in the same neighborhood where I used to play baseball until it got too dark to see the ball, my wife and I are afraid to let our 10-year-old daughter walk around the block alone."
"We can restore those days of safety and freedom if we teach our children there are absolutes; that there is a difference between right and wrong. As the founder of our party, Abraham Lincoln, stated, ‘we do not have the right to do what is wrong," Kline said.
As an eight-year veteran of the Kansas House of Representatives Kline opposed Senate Bill 323, that passed in the 2000 legislative session. The bill reduced sentences for hundreds of violent criminals and was authored and supported by Kline opponent, David Adkins. House Speaker Kent Glasscock joined Klines in oposing the bill.
Kline told the crowd that "the Kansas Department of Corrections reports that since the bill went into effect in July of 2000 and through March of 2002, 252 criminals whose sentences were to be reduced by SB 323 have already found new victims, committed new crimes, been caught, tried and convicted and are back in prison."
Kline said, "This is a breach of the public trust. For a victim to have the courage to come forward in court, for the police and prosecutor to do their job and for the judge to sentence the criminal to prison in the name of justice - it is wrong for a few in the legislature a few years later to say we didn’t mean it and to release these violent criminals back out on the street."
"To ensure the safety of law-abiding Kansans we must send a clear message; that those who violate the basic tenants of civilized society and cause harm to another human being will be found, will be tried, will be convicted and will suffer consequences for their actions," Kline said.
Kline told the group that he introduced a proposal to strengthen Kansas laws regarding online sexual predators who prey upon children. "Currently in Kansas, predators who come to Kansas with the intent of sexually molesting a child and who are caught in a sting operation by the County Sheriff, receive probation on the first and second convictions. Only on the third conviction do they face the possibility or prison and then it is only "presumptive" prison," Kline said.
He said there are web sites which advertise this weakness in Kansas law and as a consequence, predators target Kansas. Since 1995, the FBI has investigated over 4,900 cases nationally of predators traveling interstate to prey upon children they have deceived on the Internet.
Kline went on the say, "We must be in partnership with families, schools and libraries to protect children from those who would harm them. We must, therefore, greatly strengthen Kansas laws so that the first question an online predator asks when trying to deceive a child online is, ‘are you from Kansas?’ And when the answer is ‘yes’, they move on because they know in Kansas those who prey upon children face severe consequences."
Kline ended the meeting saying, "I am running for Attorney General because
we must restore the integrity of the law. This means that the enforcement
of the law is not about chasing money, or headlines or rewarding political
friends and punishing political enemies - it is about standing for what
is right; and that is exactly what I intend to do."