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'I'm happy as hell right now': Adrian's Law passes out of joint conference committee

Family of boy fed to pigs files lawsuit against Kansas Department of Children and Families
Posted at 8:27 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 18:15:16-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — Adrian's Law, a bill that will protect children from abuse in Kansas, passed through the legislature's joint conference committee late Thursday.

State Rep. Louis Ruiz said Adrian's Law was tied into a package of Kansas Senate bills that got approved.

Originally introduced in 2017, Adrian's Law failed to pass through the Kansas House of Representatives that year and again after being reintroduced in 2019. The bill stalled for a third time last summer.

Ruiz introduced the bill — named after Adrian Jones, 7, who died after years of abuse by his dad and stepmom — for a fourth time earlier this year.

It finally passed in both the House and Senate, leaving reconciliation as one more major hurdle that is now overcome.

Adrian's Law would make adults 18 and older responsible for reporting abuse. While Adrian's abuse was reported on several occasions, the I-Team discovered there was another adult who lived with Adrian at the time of his abuse and never reported it.

Adrian's Law also would require a social worker to visibly see a child when visiting a home, as opposed to knocking and leaving if no one answers the door.

Judy Conway, Adrian's grandmother, has been advocating for child protection laws since Adrian's death.

She contacted the I-Team on Thursday after learning it was expected to pass after more than four years and three previous failed attempts.

"Adrian's Law is going to pass,"Conway said. "I just feel so relieved and overwhelmed at the same time. The passing of Adrian's Law was way overdue, and at times I felt like it was not ever going to happen."

Ruiz said Adrian's Law will need to pass through the House and Senate one more time, since it's no longer a stand-alone bill.

However, since the bill has already passed through the House and is now approved by the Senate, Ruiz said there are no concerns that it will not pass and be forward to Gov. Laura Kelly for her approval.

"I'm happy as hell right now," Ruiz said.

Conway said she's grateful to all the people who fought for Adrian's Law.

"Adrian will now forever have part in saving children's lives," Conway said. "He will always turn fear into hope. I could not be more proud of my little man."