Kansas lawmakers have approved tougher penalties for making false calls to police three months after an officer fatally shot a Wichita man during a deadly hoax emergency call.
The bill makes fake calls that result in death a felony comparable to second-degree murder. Any false call for emergency help would be at least a misdemeanor, becoming a felony if the caller uses a fake identity or electronically masks their identity.
The practice is known as “swatting,” and occurs when someone makes a call to police with a false story of an ongoing crime in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.
The bill is named the Andrew Finch Act, after the man killed by Wichita police as they responded to a hoax emergency call in December that they thought was a hostage situation. The legislation was championed by his mother, Lisa Finch.
The bill is headed to Gov. Jeff Colyer after the Legislature passed it on Tuesday. The Senate approved the bill on a 40-0 vote. The House approved it unanimously in February. The governor has 10 days after receiving legislation to sign or veto it.