Senate Approves Racketeering Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Legislation intended to give Kansas prosecutors a new tool for curbing criminal gang activity has cleared the state Senate on a vote of 37-0.

The vote Thursday sent the measure to the House.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt has described the proposal as an anti-racketeering law that would let prosecutors go after gangs for alleged patterns of criminal activity as well as single criminal acts.

The bill defines racketeering as an activity to collect unlawful debts, such as loans or gambling losses. It also includes activities to gain control of property or illegal businesses such as human trafficking and drug sales.

The legislation includes criteria for establishing that someone is a gang member. Factors could include frequenting known gang areas or dressing in a gang’s style.