Archive for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kansas legislator introduces bill prompted by concerns over ‘honor killings’

State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, on Wednesday discusses legislation that would prohibit courts from making decisions based on any legal system that doesn't recognize rights under the United States and Kansas constitutions.

January 26, 2011, 1:50 p.m. Updated January 26, 2011, 2:06 p.m.


— A legislator has filed a bill that would prohibit courts from basing a decision on any legal system that doesn't grant people the the same rights as the United States and Kansas constitutions.

State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said Wednesday the proposal was prompted by concerns over reports where women and children in some immigrant communities in the United States have been assaulted or killed because they want to become Westernized. She pointed to so-called "honor killings" where women have been murdered and their assailants have proclaimed that the women brought dishonor to their families by violating a tradition or rule.

Mast said she wants to ensure that courts when deciding these cases recognize only state and federal laws and not a traditional belief or law from another country or society.

House Bill 2087 already has 45 sponsors.

But Kari Ann Rinker, coordinator of the Kansas chapter of the National Organization for Women, said Mast was trying to pass legislation for a problem that hasn't come up in Kansas. Mast said it was better for Kansas to be pro-active.

Rinker also said the bill seemed similar to a constitutional amendment approved in Oklahoma that would prohibit state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases. That amendment has been blocked by a federal judge.


thatonedude 7 years, 1 month ago

This has never happened in Kansas. It is irrelevant here, and merely a way for someone to get their xenophobia on the books. But of course it will pass.

imastinker 7 years, 1 month ago

It's never happened in Kansas, but it has in the US. I wouldn't think our legal system would allow this type of thing to happen, since murder is already illegal, but since it does it's probably a decent law.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

wow...I hope her next bill makes cat juggling know, just to be proactive and all...

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

I say she should target Klingon law next.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

won't someone please just think of the tribbles!

compmd 7 years, 1 month ago

I dunno, Klingon law might help us. Anything that brings a bat'leth into our criminal justice system is a good thing.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

Nobody is going to interfere with my right to carry a bat'leth!

roadrunner 7 years, 1 month ago

Do something better with my taxpayer dollars than pass crap bills like this!

rolo2383 7 years, 1 month ago

It hasn't happened yet but it might. Good for her. The day Sharia law is used in KS would be a sad day.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully the next one will target laws written in Dwarvish. You never know when some judge might take out Lord of the Rings to decide a case. It's never happened yet, but it might. The day Tolkien law is used in KS would be a sad day.

kusp8 7 years, 1 month ago

Or what if us mere muggles were subjected to the Ministry of Magic and their laws!? That would be a sad day in KS.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

True! They better hurry up and pass a law against all use of Ministry of Magic rule in Kansas, or we'll all be taken over by the Death Eaters!

bad_dog 7 years, 1 month ago

Sharia law would likely dissuade you from spewing forth so voluminously.

Perhaps Sharia law wouldn't be so bad after all ;-)

tolawdjk 7 years, 1 month ago

If we had better immigration control, we wouldn't have to worry about these Oklahoma Muslims.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 1 month ago

Anyone out there remember HUAC and the laws proposed to "protect" America from the Red Menace? Any of them still on the books? OMG! What! They're no longer on the books?!?!? You mean we let our guard down and we're now unprotected? Lord have mercy.

Mean_Green 7 years, 1 month ago

First paragraph "...grant people the the same rights..."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

Just when you think they can't get any stupider....

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 1 month ago

to tell you the truth, I have yet to reach that point.

aa469285 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, preventing a father from using the "honor killing" defense after he's murdered his daughter is a stupid idea.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

There is no such defense. Never has been. And trying to use it this country will more likely piss the jury off, not get their sympathy.

kusp8 7 years, 1 month ago

Me too, I'm often confused if I am under Canadian or Mexican law while I'm in Kansas.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 1 month ago

Has there been an incident anywhere in the US where somebody performed an honor killing and wasn't tried for murder due to non-US laws? I don't recall hearing a thing, if so, and you know that would be all over the news.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 1 month ago

For that matter, has there been a trial in the US in the past century that was decided based on laws from other countries, whether their system was like our or not?

bad_dog 7 years, 1 month ago

There's always a first time, you know.

Be a good Scout. Be prepared.

I wonder if the Native Americans had any laws like this in place way back in the late 1400s...

frankwiles 7 years, 1 month ago

We definitely need to now pass a law saying that only US state and federal laws are used when determining whether or not someone is a witch. Just seeing if the person floats in water isn't enough anymore! Sure it hasn't happened in Kansas yet, but we should be prepared.

Stupidity like this makes me hate the fact I live in Kansas. Next up we'll be worrying about the rampant illegal immigrant voter fraud in our state... oh yeah we already are. sigh

TheStonesSuck 7 years, 1 month ago

frank, don't leave. First, we both know a ton of D-bags live here, that's painfully obvious (i mean look at these boards)... for now, forget the backwards Kansas politics. Disregard the fact that most elected officials in KS express an ideology perfectly suited for the South around 1923. Just keep this in mind... if you leave, we lose a good one, and dammit I'm not going anywhere, so we need you. Fight the good fight frank, because they already outnumber us, and we're fighting a tenacious enemy. Slow moving and dim-witted, yes, but also strong-willed and numerous... we must prevail!

independant1 7 years, 1 month ago

backward Kansas politics? Ever been to a neighborhood young democratcs club in the Northeast US? The beer is cold, the shuffleboard table level and the quoits slates are tilted just right.

somedude20 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, I just hope that they can find some time to outlaw people from "breaking wind" in a jar and then putting a lid on it so that it contains the gas. This is biological hazard and some would even say a "dirty bomb." I have been accosted by a dirty bomber using a "gas jar." He threw it at my feet and it exploded into a giant ball of noxious gas and did injure three people, one was critical. Please stop these acts of homegrown terrorism!!

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

They have time for this but not even a whisper of an interest in closing tax loop holes or simplifying the tax system. Close the loop holes. the wealthiest should pay their fair share.

lawslady 7 years, 1 month ago

Another do nothing bill. Costs a minimum of $5000 to get it printed and distributed. One printing. That price goes up with every additional printing and with every minute spent debating it. If the Law makers really want to cut costs, they'd cut this nonsense out, at least until the state has extra cash to spend (if that ever happens again). There are far too many bills that are designed to make the law maker look like they care (and they may actually care) about an issue, even if that issue is NOT one that needs to be addressed (at all or at least not in this economic climate). We really do not need to spend $5000 per issue (minimum) to put out bills that name a state fossil, rename state highways, establish new rules for the house and senate members, rescind a 1978 state resolution calling on the US Congress to amend the US Constitution (I kid you not - look it up), etc. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted each year by this kind of pandering. Then, add in the $ spent on the new crystal globes etc. recently used to "restore" the capital building.... Legislators want everyone else to tightern their belts and change their ways. Leadership is best when the leaders do as they preach!

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

If that's true, good gravy. Make everyone buy an iPad or netbook and view it as a PDF. Problem solved.

lawslady 7 years, 1 month ago

It is true. Do an open record request asking for the records relating to costs associated with printing and passing out (mailing etc.) every single paper copy of every single bill. And yes, an IPad or netbook would cut way back on the number of trees and dollars being spent to pass out hundreds and thousands of copies of do-nothing bills (or legitimate ones). However, the Legislator's (and all the others getting copies) cannot be expected to do without paper copies too - why that would simply be asking to much (sarcasm alert).

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

O good grief. First Kobach's Unicorns; now this. I believe it was pointed out in Oklahoma that some unintended consequences can result from these silly actions, like problems with international contracts to do business. Guess that's not a concern at this point. Boeing doesn't need to sell airplanes outside of Kochkansas anyway.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh for heaven's sake! We just can't avoid making our state an international laughing stock, can we? I wait with bated breath for the next silly piece of legislation that comes out of the brains of these people.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 1 month ago

I actually had to post this on my Facebook to get it disseminated. It's just too funny and I have friends in Britain, Germany and Switzerland that will get too big of a kick out of it.

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

Ding, time and money on this. Ding another Kansan loses a home.

Bob Forer 7 years, 1 month ago

What's next? Prohibiting bears from defecating in any area other than the woods.

Bob Forer 7 years, 1 month ago

Amazing, and scary, especially in light of the fact that she is not lone wolf wingnut, but rather, serves as Assistant Majority Leader. What an embarrassment to the republican party, although I am sure they don't see it that way.

Under "education" one voter website has no answer. I wonder if she graduated from high s school. It further amazes me that the voters of Emporia, a college town, would be so ignorant as to elect her.

conqdad 7 years, 1 month ago

When anyone wonders "what is the matter with Kansas" just point to the fact the we are way ahead of the 'sharia law' problem. Stupid...stupid. It's who we are.

hwarangdo 7 years, 1 month ago

Does this mean the Westboro Baptist Church will no longer be able to practice their "law"?

And ... why is my tax money being used for this useless crap?

Better to make a law against paranoia, bigotry and stupidity.

coderob 7 years, 1 month ago

I think this would sort of fall under the Supreme Court cases that cover drug use as part of a religion. Specifically, you cannot make a law that targets a particular religion (it's illegal to wear a yamaka), but can make laws that are generally applicable to everyone (it's illegal to possess peyote).

It's strange that Mast is trying to go against that in two ways. No one would be able to get away with an honor killing since laws against murder are generally applicable in the first place. And a law banning sharia outright would be specifically targeting a religion. For instance, what happens if I get married with a pre-nuptial agreement that states that I as a divorced husband must pay alimony until the end of my ex-wife's third menstrual cycle? That's part of Islamic law, but it's also a contract between two people. Anyone could make that agreement. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that a law banning someone from making an agreement according to sharia specifically targets a religion.

Check out the Economist for a little more background:

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 1 month ago

Just when I think that Peggy Mast can't get much goofier, she does.

booyalab 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, this bill is redundant. But probably no one would have felt the need to make it if there wasn't a national problem of judges legislating from the bench.

deec 7 years, 1 month ago

You mean like how corporations are people,, and eminent domain can be used to give land to private companies to build stores?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

Ask Noor Almaleki about honor killings in America. Oh, wait, you can't. Her father murdered her because she was becoming too westernized.

Glenn Reed 7 years, 1 month ago

This is a rule that requires a judge to observe the rules.

All I got from reading the article and watching the video is: the bill restates that the law is the law.

Yes, I know, I wrote that twice. I wanted to see if the level of verbosity would have made this make any more sense. It didn't, really.

I understand the motivation. The idea of an “honor killing” as I understand them make my blood boil.

I have no idea how saying “remember that the rules are, indeed, the rules,” would possibly serve as a deterrent to that activity, though. Anyone who commits almost any murder knows that murder is prohibited. They know the penalty is jail time, or even execution in some states. And yet people still commit murder.

This bill, as I understand it, does absolutely nothing.

As a resident of Lawrence, ks, I am bound by city laws. I am bound by Kansas state laws. I am bound by the Federal Government laws. I am no more, and no less, subject to these laws if this bill is passed.

It's actually kind of odd seeing the commentary folks are posting, though. Some are for it, others against it. But the bill, as described, does absolutely nothing.

Restating that the sky is blue makes it no more or less blue.

We should ALL be angry at our elected officials that insist on working on bills that restate how blue the sky is.

Bob Forer 7 years, 1 month ago

You are absolutely right. The proposed bill simply states that "the law is the law." If we carry Mast's reasoning to its logical conclusion, then some idiot lawmaker in the future will feel obligated to reaffirm "Mast's Law." Then we'll have "the law is the law, is the law," and so on, ad infinitum.

Such absurdities have no place in modern legislation. Shame on this woman, especially when we have serious issues at hand to deal with.

voevoda 7 years, 1 month ago

The legislators haven't thought sufficiently about the implications of their bill. It would prohibit an "honor killing" defense in the case of murder or assault, which is already illegal under homicide and domestic violence statute.
But it would also prohibit judges and plaintiffs from ever invoking Biblical principles, too. After all, the Bible doesn't grant the same rights as Kansas or US law. Do plaintiffs and judges invoke Biblical precepts? Yes, quite frequently; for example, in the prosecution of abortion providers. Under the proposed law, in any case in which the judge referred, even obliquely, to Biblical principles, or permitted any of the plaintiffs to do so, the ruling could legitimately be challenged on appeal.
So this law would, effectively, require the complete dechristianization of the Kansas legal system. Is this what the conservative Christians in the state legislature want?

verity 7 years, 1 month ago

"So this law would, effectively, require the complete dechristianization of the Kansas legal system."

Indeed. But I doubt that the people behind these kinds of laws/amendments ever think that far. It will be interesting to see if this bill actually passes or if saner heads will prevail.

Kansas is once again becoming the laughingstock of the country and "we're not all that way" is beginning to ring hollow. But, then again, maybe Brownback's policies will succeed and we will all be happy and a role model to the country.

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