A bill dealing with shipwrecks and fishing, hunting and trapping on private land becomes a point of controversy, because of one section cracking down on drug dealing near parks. At least one representative contends that provision unduly targets minorities.
Anyone dealing heroin, cocaine, LSD, amphetamine or methamphetamine within a thousand feet of a park would be charged with a Class A felony, which carries a penalty of 10-to-30 years in prison and possibly even life behind bars. That provision is included in a section of HCS SCS SB 198 . And that provision sparked heated debate.
Rep. Jonas Hughes (D-Kansas City) represents an urban core district. Hughes objects to the provision, saying that it unfairly targets the inner city. He says there is virtually no part of his legislative district that would be outside that one thousand foot boundary. Hughes says that’s not the case in suburban or rural districts. He contends the provision violates fair sentencing guidelines, because it would punish drug dealers caught in his legislative district harsher than drug dealers caught in most other legislative districts.
Rep. Brian Yates (R-Lee’s Summit) doesn’t agree with Hughes’ premise. He says there are plenty of parks in his district as well. Yates leads the effort to prevent Hughes from stripping that provision from the bill. Yates counters that those who deal drugs near places that families recreate should be punished more severely.
The House rejects the effort to strip the section from the bill, approves it and returns it to the Senate.