Archive for Sunday, February 19, 2012

Capitol Briefing: Redistricting pingpong; religious freedom; guns on campus; Brownback agenda

February 19, 2012


Lawrence is the ball in redistricting pingpong

Democratic-voting Lawrence is getting batted back-and-forth in the congressional redistricting battle being waged by the Republican-dominated Legislature.

Split 10 years ago between the 2nd and 3rd U.S. House districts, Lawrence would rest entirely in the 2nd under a bipartisan plan approved by the state Senate. Problem is, the Kansas Republican Party, Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican who represents the 2nd, don’t like that plan.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, has a plan that would put Lawrence entirely in the 3rd, but it has generated a lot of opposition because it would place most of another Democratic voting county, Wyandotte, in the 1st.

State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, has a plan that would put Lawrence in the 1st, tying it to the mostly rural western Kansas district.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence has a plan dubbed “Free Willie” that puts Manhattan in the 2nd along with Lawrence. It was named after Kansas State University’s mascot, Willie the Wildcat. Manhattan, currently in the 2nd, was placed in the 1st under the Senate-approved map.

Bill would probably raise litigation costs

A fiscal note attached to House Bill 2260, the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” says the measure, if enacted, would probably increase litigation costs for the state and cities.

The bill has been touted by Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as a way to prevent the government from infringing on personal religious beliefs.

But a number of advocacy groups say it will lead to the invalidation of local ordinances set up to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Lawrence officials have testified against the bill.

The fiscal note from Steve Anderson, director of the budget, notes that the attorney general’s office, Office of Judicial Administration and League of Kansas Municipalities say the bill could increase litigation. The attorney general’s office says the legal expenses could exceed $100,000, while the other groups say they can’t predict the number of additional court cases that could arise.

A vote on the measure, which was introduced by Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, could occur today in Kinzer’s House Judiciary Committee.

Quote of the week

“Victims of domestic violence will not call the police if they are afraid of the police.”

— Angela Ferguson, immigration attorney, testifying against a bill that would require police to check citizenship status of people they stop and suspect of being an illegal immigrant.

Guns on campus vote likely this week

A measure strongly opposed by higher education officials will probably be debated this week in the Kansas House.

House Bill 2353 would allow concealed-carry license holders to bring their weapons on college campuses and other public buildings.

Gun-rights advocates say the measure will increase safety, but campus police departments, representatives of local governments and other public officials say just the opposite is true.

In testimony to the Legislature, Richard Johnson, chief of university police at Kansas University Medical Center, said he feared what would happen if police responded to a situation where several people had drawn weapons.

Johnson stated: “We are particularly concerned with being able to distinguish the ‘good guys’ from the ‘bad guys.’ A person with a concealed-carry license doesn’t have a badge or uniform. How does a responding police officer know which person with the gun is the threat?”

Brownback agenda slowing down

As the Legislature comes to the halfway point of the 2012 session this week, Senate leaders have said Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda has slowed down.

Brownback’s proposed overhauls to the tax system and school finance formula simply need more scrutiny, they said. In addition, they said the Legislature needs to move cautiously on proposed changes to the public pension system.

What’s next

This is “turnaround” week, when most bills must clear their house of origin.

  • 9 a.m. today: Discussion on House Bill 2545, enacting the Kansas public employee retirement system act of 2014, before House Pensions and Benefits, Room 142-South, Capitol.
  • 1:30 p.m. today: Final action on House Bill 2598, creating the no taxpayer funding for abortion act, before House Federal and State Affairs, Room 346-South, Capitol.
  • 1:30 p.m. today and Tuesday: Working on Gov. Sam Brownback’s school finance plan, before Senate Education Committee, Room 152-South, Capitol.
  • 3:30 p.m. today: Hearing on House Bill 2652, granting in-state tuition to military veterans, before House Education Budget, Room 159-South, Capitol.


Cait McKnelly 6 years, 3 months ago

If HB 2598 goes forward as written, expect a Constitutional challenge. There are parts of this bill that are far more than just "No taxpayer funding for abortion" (which, due to various laws that currently exist at the Federal and state level, doesn't exist anyway). I think the Kansas state house needs to wake up and start paying attention to the response that is being given to other draconian bills that are being passed in other states legislatures re: women's health care. The response has been negative, to say the least. Women across this entire nation are waking up to what is going on in our legislatures. And just as a "gentle, womanly" reminder to the Kansas state legislature, you had better wake up to the fact that there is a new civil rights movement happening. I am part of the 52% and I will stand strong with other women.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 3 months ago

Just a thought. If the only way women are going to be allowed to control their bodies is to "keep their legs shut", just what the heck are men going to do if they actually start doing it? Start sanctioning rape?

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 3 months ago

I am a man and i respect women and will stand by them 100%.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 3 months ago

I spent 30 years as a peace officer in KS. I support concealed carry, and I support this law. I recognize the problem of responding officers knowing who is the bad guy, so I say do what the professions do. Have a slit cut on the top of all concealed carry permit cards, issue a clip that fits into the slit. If a concealed carry licensee is involved in a shooting, they must put the issued clip through the top of their permit card and clip it on the front of their shirt. This should be issued with all new permit cards, taught in all permit classes, and made a part of the concealed permit law.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

When exactly would they have time to do that, in the middle of a dangerous situation?

Somebody pulls a gun, and a cc holder responds by pulling theirs - they're at a standoff. Pausing to fish something out of your pocket and clip it onto your shirt seems unwise.

Hedge 6 years, 3 months ago

As someone who carries, I think this concern is not warranted. In the case of a shooting scenario such as a campus "shooter", once law enforcement is on-scene I would be holstering my weapon. CC is for self defense when there is no law enforcement present. I wouldn't be trolling the halls looking for the bad guy. I may be holed up in a classroom with other people hiding and no doubt if an LEO came into the room he/she would identify themselves. My weapon would not be out at that point. I don't understand where people have gotten the idea that CC people are just itching to take on an offensive role. CC is self "defense". It is a stereotype image that just isn't true. If it were, you would be reading about it all the time in the papers.

Frank A Janzen 6 years, 3 months ago

An employee of a nearby store had a concealed carry weapon when Gabby Giffords and many others were shot in Tuscon, AZ, at the supermarket. He decided not to take his weapon into the shooting rampage because he knew if the police arrived, they might think he was the criminal shooter. So how did that CC help in this situation??? Not at all!!!

Don't allow CC on campus!!

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 3 months ago

Indeed, none of the CC folks used their guns that day. Too many innocent people around. So, did CC help?? Not at all!!

Having people proclaim they would have done something had they had a gun is simply not the same thing as what they really would have done. It's nothing more than armchair braggadocio.

gsxr600 6 years, 3 months ago

I have no problem with concealed carry on campuses. If a situation occurred and I was in direct contact with the shooter I would eliminate the threat in a defensive manner if my life was in danger. Then, I would immediately holster my weapon and wait for police to arrive (which would be in minutes, not seconds).

I'm not a CC by the way. And it should be noted it's 21+ to have a license.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 3 months ago

And you know you would do Have you killed someone with a handgun before?

Oh...and what do you mean "direct contact" with the shooter? Standing right next to him so you couldn't miss? (Which seems so unlikely I'm not sure why you'd bother bringing it up.)

Corb12 6 years, 1 month ago

I think that concealed to carry should be allowed, not on school campuses and state ran and funded places. For example, would you want someone with a handgun walking into the capitol building? There should be a background check, phycological check and variety of other checks though if you want to own a firearm, especially if this firearm is a hand gun and you are going to carry it concealed.

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