Topeka A Republican Hispanic organization says that House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, is preventing legislative action on a resolution sought by Hispanics in the Legislature.
Arizona-based Somos Republicans said O’Neal is holding the resolution hostage until the House re-considers a bill that would impose Arizona-like anti-illegal immigration rules. O’Neal denied the charge.
That bill has been tabled in committee, and a procedure to bring it to the full House failed.
Earlier this week, Kansas’ four Hispanic legislators filed a resolution similar to the Utah Compact, which calls for the federal government — not the states — to work on immigration and specifies that any reforms should be humane, fair and just.
But the resolution didn’t move through the committee process.
O’Neal said Friday that he felt like work on measures dealing with immigration were over for the session. “We have bigger fish to fry,” he said.
Asked about the charge from Somos Republicans, he said there was no truth to it.
The Legislature adjourned Friday to take a break until the start of the wrap-up session on April 27.
Last month, Kansas attracted national attention when Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said perhaps the state should consider shooting illegal immigrants from helicopters.
Peck said he was joking when he made the comment following a committee discussion about a program that controls feral hogs using gunmen in helicopters. He initially refused to apologize but then issued a two-sentence apology after Republican leaders applied pressure.
Somos Republicans issued a statement, saying it was disappointed in O’Neal “for holding a reasonable resolution hostage after his representative made a violent remark.”