Topeka — A conservative legislator on Thursday successfully got a motion approved that will allow state agencies to purchase drinking water for employees, but he opposed allocating any money for the measure.
State Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, described his motion as providing state employees access to "good, wholesome, clean water."
But when state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, tried to add $50,000 to a supplemental appropriations bill so that agencies could purchase the water, DeGraaf voiced opposition, saying agencies could use current revenues to pay for water.
Ballard said if it was important enough to approve a motion to allow them to buy water, then the Legislature should fund it. "This conversation about water, if it wasn't so said, it would be funny," Ballard said. Her motion failed, 10-11.
After watching DeGraaf and others vote for permission to buy water but against the funding, state Rep. Doug Gatewood, D-Columbus, said, "Is this the most disingenuous thing you've ever seen?"
The water dispute stemmed from approval last year of a measure that prevented state agencies from buying water and water dispensers at taxpayer expense. The savings was to be used to offset an earlier budget cut to the Kansas Neurological Institute.