Capitol Briefing: Bicyclists crash in Kansas House

Bicyclists crash in Kansas House

A proposal to give bicyclists a little breathing room against cars and trucks was defeated in the House, 55-59.

The measure said: “The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a distance of not less than 3 feet and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.”

Quote of the week

“At its basis, the core of this bill is mean-spirited and it’s not the Kansas way.”

— Rep. Charles Roth, R-Salina, on a bill to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Ballard honored by advocacy group

Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, received the State Elected Official Ally of the Year award from the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

“We honor Representative Ballard for being an outspoken ally for victims and survivors in her hometown of Lawrence and at the state level as an elected official,” said Joyce Grover, executive director of KCSDV.

Ballard has worked with college-aged students and served as the director of Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center at Kansas University for 18 years. During her tenure, she was instrumental in a campuswide survey related to the prevalence of sexual assault and the need for services, the group said. She also worked with student leaders to establish a part-time position to promote sexual violence awareness and education initiatives on campus and in the community.

Banking speech draws interest

Last week, Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, before the full House in a point of personal privilege presented a proclamation honoring his family’s bank. He also used the occasion to give a speech condemning what he called overregulation of the banking industry. After the speech, House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, reminded legislators that House rules allow up to five minutes on points of personal privilege.

‘Religious freedom’ bill tabled

A proposal that critics said would have neutralized a Lawrence ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation has been tabled in the House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 2260, dubbed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” would have prohibited government from denying the exercise of religion. Supporters said it was needed to prevent government from forcing people to go against their religious beliefs, but opponents said it was a deceptive way to allow discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgendered Kansans.

Legislator supports bill but says he will vote against it

During a discussion in House Republican Caucus on a bill that would reduce bond and interest state aid to school districts, Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, said, “Politically, I can’t vote for it, but I support it.”

What’s next

11:45 a.m. Wednesday, the Kansas Business Coalition will host an immigration legislation forum, at first floor lobby of 800 SW Jackson.

9 a.m. Thursday, hearing on proposed constitutional amendment to prevent courts from telling Legislature how much to fund public schools, before House Education Committee, Room 784, Docking Building.

10:30 a.m. Thursday, hearing on Gov. Sam Brownback’s order to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission, before Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 144-South, Capitol

8:30 a.m. Friday, continued overview of Kansas Bioscience Authority, before Senate Commerce Committee, Room 548-South, Capitol.