Archive for Friday, March 4, 2011

Speaker bans union official from Kansas House gallery

‘I guess if he had his way, he would build a moat around the Capitol and only allow people in who agree with him’

Bruce Tunnell, a union leader from Wichita, and a Capitol security officer get in a discussion about how loud protesters can get.

March 4, 2011, 5:41 p.m. Updated March 4, 2011, 6:24 p.m.


— House Speaker Mike O’Neal on Friday said he was banning a union official from the House gallery over a dispute stemming from last week’s protests.

O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said Bruce Tunnell, executive vice president of the Kansas AFL-CIO, encouraged workers to be disruptive while the House voted on an anti-union bill. And, O’Neal said, Tunnell removed his lobbyist identification badge during the protest.

“That is not appropriate,” O’Neal said, adding that Tunnell would be prohibited from the public viewing gallery for the rest of the legislative session.

Tunnell denied he removed his ID badge or did anything inappropriate. A video showing Tunnell leaving the House gallery shows him with his badge on. He accused O’Neal of going after labor unions as Republican leaders are doing in several states.

“I guess if he had his way, he would build a moat around the Capitol and only allow people in who agree with him,” Tunnell said.

Democratic legislative leaders also criticized O’Neal’s move.

On Feb. 24, about 50 union members arrived at the Capitol to protest House Bill 2130, which would ban unions from making paycheck deductions for political activities and prohibit public employee unions from endorsing candidates.

When the bill came up for a final vote in the House, several union members in the gallery shouted “vote no.” At that point, about 50 union members were kicked out of the gallery. The bill passed 75-46 with only Republican support.

O’Neal cited an article in the Wichita Eagle that quoted Tunnell as saying to the union supporters, prior to the vote, “Keep quiet, but when 2130 comes up, do whatever you want.”

On Friday, Tunnell said that wasn’t an instruction to yell. He said that meant that after the vote, the workers were free to stay or go home.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said the accusations were being made to divert the public’s attention from what the bill was about.

Tunnell said he comes to the Capitol every day to speak with legislators. He said he would check with his superiors in Washington to see if there is anything that can be done about being banned from the gallery.

For now, he said, if he needs to watch the House, he will watch it on the television outside the House chamber or listen to it online.


Phillbert 7 years ago

"And, O’Neal said, Tunnell removed his lobbyist identification badge during the protest."

...which according to video evidence cited by the Topeka newspaper is an out-and-out lie:

"Tunnell said he didn't remove the badge and video of him walking out of the House gallery shows he was wearing the small white name tag."

tunahelper 7 years ago

typical whiney leftist rhetoric. when someone disagrees with you, you start name calling. Symbolism over substance. thank God that you leftists are only a majority in wynadotte and douglas counties. Please move out of Kansas so we don't have to listen to the fiction that comes out of your mouth.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

Lies don't bother you? Fantasy over truth?

roguesword 7 years ago

Imagine how awesome it would be if there were only Righties in America. They could finally get down to the business of legislating morality, color, and sexual preference. In general the RIght could finally make the USA a Judeo-Christian nation, a government by the corporations for the corporations. No well developed thought ever became so without doing mortal combat with other thoughts. Disagreement is essential to a Democratic Republic, the whole checks and balances thing, you remember that from 4th grade social studies right?

Jan Rolls 7 years ago

I can always tell when a republican is lying - their lips move.

blindrabbit 7 years ago

O'Neal from Hutch.., wonder how close Hutch. is to Wichita and the Koch empire. Also, wonder how much lobby and big corporate dollars flowing his way; but he can't stand the working man's unions. All part of the Tea Baggers/Repub. nationwide plan to trivialize and eliminate collective bargaining and representation.

blindrabbit 7 years ago

O'Neal from Hutch.., wonder how close Hutch. is to Wichita and the Koch empire. Also, wonder how much lobby and big corporate dollars flowing his way; but he can't stand the working man's unions. All part of the Tea Baggers/Repub. nationwide plan to trivialize and eliminate collective bargaining and representation.

tunahelper 7 years ago

thank God for O'Neal. too bad you whiney leftists are a very small minority in Kansas.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Using some Obama tactics (whiney leftists)? Thought you were better than that.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

People who lie are liars. O'Neal lied, therefore O'Neal is a liar. I don't think God likes liars very much.

roguesword 7 years ago

Tuna, you know that flag you employ as an avatar references the birth of our nation. A government form that was wholly born from liberal philosophies right? Conservatism calls for authoritarian regimes because its basic tenet is that people do not change and are essentially untrustworthy. The only reason a democracy works is that there is an inherent amount of trust between the citizens and the government.

Soapbox 7 years ago

The one important conviction of a liberal is to have none!

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Name calling is always so much more fun than actually addressing the issue.

Liberty275 7 years ago

Name calling is always so much more fun than actually addressing the issue. Ask their mindless teabagger The Koch party line a republican is lying - their lips move All part of the Tea Baggers He got his wife a cushy job

tunahelper 7 years ago

that is omaba's favorite tactic, whenever someone disagrees with him, he starts calling them names. what a wimp!

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

So your point is that the union leader showed up in Topeka because he has no convictions?

That those who post opinions here with which you disagree have no convictions?

Do you have a coherent point?

pace 7 years ago

Looks like it is illegal to ban a body of people from a state building. You can remove someone for disturbing the peace, but you can't make it unilateral for people by association.

Mike1949 7 years ago

Republicans has killed labor in KS. Kansas is one of the worst states in the US to work in because of such weak labor laws. What ever you do, do not get injured in Kansas, I know from personal experience!

olddognewtrix 7 years ago

Oneal has no ethics whatsoever! He got his wife a cushy job with the legislature and got away with it! Plus he sued the State on behalf of clents when he was a member of the Legislature. Is it any wonder he is now seen as a complete lier?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Recall ONeal today and everyday until he is gone!!!

Bob Burton 7 years ago

Whine, whine & more whine!! You guys sound like a bunch of little kids.. Why don't you grow up!!

jafs 7 years ago

How is it childish to want our elected officials to be honest and not abuse their power exactly?

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

It depends - are the officials Republican? If so, it is extremely childish. If they're Democrats, then it is patriotic.

tunahelper 7 years ago

that's all the leftists can do is whine. thank God that they are a very small minority in Kansas.

hey leftists, what kind of cheese would you like with your whine? LOL!

tomatogrower 7 years ago

So you agree that people in Kansas have no right to free speech. Baaa. Baaa.

somebodynew 7 years ago

OK, I need to buy a lottery ticket or something. A post from merrill I can actually read without losing interest in cut and paste; AND one I actually agree with.

Sorry merrill, couldn't pass it up. I know it is a cheap shot, but hope you take it with the humor meant. It is hard to get that across in writing.

tunahelper 7 years ago

why don't you leftists move to Hutch and then try to vote him out? whiners.

Alceste 7 years ago

Unions mean and stand for very little in Kansas which is really rather disgusting and an aspect relative to why Kansas is such an ignorant place.

These politicians really need to be chasing after their own to deal with the real fat with respect to pay and benefits. Let's just use one cogent example in the form of GEORGE VEGA who is "Head Of Division Of State Agcy", said State Agency being: Department of Administration . Look at what this ever so "necessary brain trust" staff person has raked in over the past four years, NOT including perquisites and other fringy things:

2010 $124,275.51 2009 $92,318.98 2008 $91,193.05 2007 $90,044.16


Note the huge pay raise he gave himself in 2010? This political hack has been able to manipulate every possible deal he can manipulate for himself and his cronies at the expense of the regular civil servant. That section of the Dept. Of Administration is supposed to be figuring out how to retain and acquire quality staff for ALL state agencies, but it do appear Georgie had #1 in mind first? I dunno.....but that's the way it appears.... bad.....looks like Browny is deciding to give that fluffy job to one of his own cronies.... Do ya think Georgie has done taken his KPERS retirement and is now shopping for which oh so very critical "consultant slot" he's going to fill to begin his own brand and style of double dipping against the KPERS fund?

I will do the same job for 1/2 the money and do a better job. shrug

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

Alceste, it appears this person left the job. That likely isn't a huge raise, that is likely a final payout of vacation time which is typical in all jobs public or private. You'll find the same "huge pay raise" for any employee who leaves state service, regardless of position or pay.

Now, would you care to reveal your real issue here? Did this guy date your daughter or something? Lots of pent up anger and frustration, and it isn't healthy.

Alceste 7 years ago

Kapt. Kanga: You got you a license to practice all the headshrinking you like to do around these here parts?

That would have been close to $32k in accrued, unused vacation leave if the pay had been static. I do believe the maximum vacation leave a state employee can carry over is 104 hours. That's $307+ per hour.

George Vega is a PUBLIC figure who has moved all around state government until he landed up in the DOA. I really hope he got the boot by Brownback. They're all cut from the same cloth.

Again, I'll do the same job for 1/2 the pay and do a better job.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

240 hours is the maximum according to a search on the link you provided. That link also details payouts for accumulated sick leave.

Now, do explain your vendetta against this George Vega. Sounds interesting.

Alceste 7 years ago

Kapt. Kanga: Glad you did the data WAS a bit rusty, eh? How you think a good ole boy accumulates over 800 hours of sick leave? Answer: When they're using a "sick day" it somehow is never recorded as such.

Vega is one of many, many, many "state workers" who "worked" the system and messed it up for the majority. Of course, with that joke outfit KOSE which raped KAPE with the help of the IS a bit difficult to feel too much sorrow for average civil servant since it was just allowed to happen. Still, the larger focus needs to be in stopping the cronyism that is rampant in these high dollar jobs within state Civil Service. Because Kansas IS such a dinky little place, it IS doable. UNIONS are not the problem: One hand washing the other up in them inner circles IS the problem. Want some more names so it won't seem like "poor" (COUGH) old Georgie don't feel so "picked on"? They're all there....right there in black and white on the Kansas Open Gov page....

Look at 'em all.....all of 'em. You really think that's the cream of the crop for Kansas? Gee whiz....where is Mr. Greenjeans or Mr. Moose so either can can talk some sense to ya Kapt. and 'splain how things bees in this backwater section of nowhere....

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

So this Vega got a job you wanted? Sour grapes.

Alceste 7 years ago

Pockets: Nah, that fool been climbing his way up via one brownosing gig after another (several with SRS) but I keeps my eyes on what's what within the DOA of Kansas. "Affirmative Action" done played a role for the fool....and I rather suspect he got his "high three" and bailed. want other names and since you seemingly are simply too occupied to research the database to find out just how many of these HIGHLY PAID, lackluster, occupied a seat for 30 year lifers exist and are bringing the rest of good folk with Civil Service down, it'll never happen. These people pulling down $90k per year for what? This is a hillbilly, ignorance dominated place....and is that way for a reason. I assert the main reason is because headbobbers abound. Get real

Alceste 7 years ago

Huh? Kansas DOES pay a % for unused sick leave in excess of 800 hours when one "retires". Kansas will ONLY pay a maximum of 240 accrued hours according to the "research" done by Kapt. Kanga.

Your suggestion of 3 years with no vacation is absurd, trust me. These big boys take vacations ALL THE TIME. They just don't call 'em that. They go to conferences, "representing the state of Kansas", etc., etc., etc. As well, they just are gone for a week or two and it's not counted (wink).

tunahelper 7 years ago

if Kansas is such a terrible state, then move out and go to the east coast or the left coast.

Alceste 7 years ago

Excuse me, but I rather suspect me and mine were here before you and yours in that both sides of our family helped to settle this state. The situation has gotten out of hand between the red necks out West and to the South and nervous nelly pointy headed "liberals" here in the East. Sadly, Kansas is getting just what it deserves given the complaceny and idiots who abound. Here we go one more time from a Kansan:

"...They spend the first sixty years of their lives in a place which had been stuck in the eternal mud and dust and wrapped all around so tightly with the earth of a continent that it takes several decades for a new idea to filter through to the people and several more decades for them to decide whether or not the new idea (which is old then) is sinful or not. They spend their lives working for a living and living that living in the future--and then they come back after six months from Miami or Long Beach saying: Well, it's just fine there, but home's best--after all..."

Unions are NOT the problem in Kansas. The "in crowd"....on both sides of the political fence....ARE.

Alceste 7 years ago

Winner. That's "what a winner". atrocious spelling....

KSManimal 7 years ago

Any legislation that prohibits specific groups from endorsing political candidates is in violation of the first amendment. Period.

As usual, the far right cares nothing about the U.S. Constitution. No, that's not true. They care for it only when they can pick select parts out of it to further their agenda. Any parts that don't further their agenda are predictably ignored.

Similar to how they use the Bible, actually.

tunahelper 7 years ago

I love the US Constitution, especially the 2nd Amendment! There is no such thing as owning enough firearms!

jafs 7 years ago

Have you read any other parts of the document?

tomatogrower 7 years ago

But you hate the 1st Amendment - free speech?

tunahelper 7 years ago

hey Bruce Tunnell, go home back to your cushy union job and open up a cold one!

tomatogrower 7 years ago

Who is this latest flamer? Are you someone who was banned in the past? Why not make an argument for banning people from the capital. Or are you incapable of doing it?

7texdude 7 years ago

I don't care much for unions or Republicans, but where is the evidence that supports the Speaker's claim? Do they have any proof that Tanner took off his badge and started yelling? And why did they ban just him and not the whole bunch?

This is not a union question. It is a question of proof. I know it's politics - and worse Kansas politics - but don't you need proof before you can ban somone? And what will stop anyone else from coming in and yelling at the state government?

tomatogrower 7 years ago

And what will stop the Speaker from falsely accusing someone they don't like?

Jimo 7 years ago

Banning someone from the gallery is hardly the end of the world. It's a 19th century vestige to allow public view without allowing people on to the floor of the legislature. Today, we have television. This lobbyist is still free to access the members in their offices, halls, and committee rooms.

And frankly his lame explanation of how he never meant for anyone to yell out anything doesn't ring true. His actions merely allow the GOP to demagogue, distort, and distract from their hellbent rush to make Kansas even more of an economic backwater. Anti-union attitudes supposedly attract employers. Has anyone noticed any employers being attracted? Ever?

somebodynew 7 years ago

While his "lame explanation" may ring hollow, so does the Speaker's that he removed hs badge, when according to reports, the video shows that he didn't.

blindrabbit 7 years ago

tuna: you have 10 of the 50 blogs on this thread, and yet to say anything than the standard rubbish.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

It may look like tuna, but it is really Spam.

Alceste 7 years ago

There you go Kaptn: Insulting most of the state of Hawaii where SPAM is King.

You got your own "PC" issues to work on, eh? Why you pickin' on people who enjoy SPAM? Typical from the "liberal"? Good one!

Kyle Chandler 7 years ago

It pretty hilarious when republicans and democrats pretend to hate each other as well as pretend to of been here first or that you have any sort of authority to tell anyone to leave. Both of you should leave MY state and take your polarizing BS pretenda-rhetoric with you. Your Left/Right crap fools the majority of the sheeple in America, but it doesn't fool us.

This state was founded by true Democratic Socialists and Populists.....not by swine like you, move on over to Missouri or Oklahoma with that both stink. You both belong elsewhere. Please leave. Thanks

PS and don't forget to take your corp. tax breaks and lobbyists with you when you go.

Me2 7 years ago

Why is it that o'neal thinks he has the right to ban anyone for using their First Admendment Right to Freedom of Speech? Didn't the Surpreme Court just rule on this? "With its 8-1 ruling for the infamous Fred Phelps, the Supreme Court has continued its vigorous defense of the First Amendment." Maybe Mr. Tunnell should sue O'Neal for violating his right to Free Speech.

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