Committee Receives Anti-racketeering Bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A Kansas Senate committee has endorsed anti-racketeering legislation aimed at increasing sentences for convicted gang leaders.

The Judiciary Committee’s action Thursday sends the measure to the full Senate for debate.

The Wichita Eagle reports the bill would create the Kansas Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, better known as RICO.

The statute would resemble the federal RICO law, which was enacted to combat the Mafia and allows prosecutors to charge gang members for engaging in a string of criminal activity, rather than for individual crimes.

A similar bill died in the House two years in a row but it’s been updated with stricter provisions focusing mainly on serious felonies.

Wichita Police Lt. Scott Heimerman helped draft the revised measure, which he says is aimed at gang leaders.