Online petition calls on O’Neal to resign
An online petition calls for House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, to resign for circulating an email that refers to President Barack Obama and cites a Bible verse that talks about condemnation.
The petition by Faithful America says, “As people of faith, we believe that Scripture should never be used to justify praying for the death of anyone. Speaker O’Neal’s hateful abuse of Scripture is unacceptable and a disgrace to his office, and he should immediately resign.”
By midday Sunday, the petition had 21,179 signatures.
O’Neal has been under fire for forwarding two emails to fellow House Republicans.
The first one refers to a bumper sticker that reads “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8, which says, “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him.” O’Neal’s spokeswoman said O’Neal wasn’t praying for Obama’s death but was referring to the president’s days in office.
The second email refers to first lady Michelle Obama as “Mrs. YoMama” and compares a photograph of her to a picture of the Grinch. After his office initially defended the second email, O’Neal later issued an apology, saying he forwarded that email “too quickly missing the text included in the body of the email.” Faithful America describes itself as “an online community of tens of thousands of citizens motivated by faith to take action on the pressing moral issues of our time. We come from diverse faith traditions but share a unifying commitment: to restore community and uphold the common good in America and across the globe.”
Quotes of the week
“Let’s put our ‘lost decade’ in the rearview mirror and speed ahead — at 75 miles per hour — to make this decade the decade of growth and job creation.”
— Gov. Sam Brownback.
“Kansas Democrats cannot support a tax cut that makes the gap between the rich and the middle class even wider. We are particularly unwilling to support such a proposal while schools are limping along and other, more regressive taxes are driving Kansans into poverty.”
— House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.
KU seeks journalism doctoral program
The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday will consider whether to approve a doctor of philosophy in journalism and mass communications at Kansas University.
The program will focus on emerging media and, if approved, will be the first Ph.D. program for journalism and mass communications at KU. KU says current facilities and equipment will support the program.
Audit due on Kansas Bioscience Authority
Gov. Sam Brownback may have plans for the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
Brownback’s budget director, Steve Anderson, said a “forensic audit” of the KBA is going to be released Jan. 23. He said that will provide an opportunity “to make some decisions going forward.”
Last year, Brownback publicly quarreled with the KBA after state Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, raised questions about KBA spending, and it was revealed the Johnson County District Attorney’s office was investigating the economic development agency. Authorities have refused to say what they are looking into.
• Arthur Laffer, considered the father of supply side, trickle-down economics, will be testifying to legislative committees Thursday. Laffer was hired by Gov. Sam Brownback as a consultant on his tax overhaul.
• 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Hearing on HB 2094, exemptions from getting vaccinations based on personal belief before House Health and Human Services Committee, Room 784 Docking Building.
• 5 p.m. Wednesday, Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lawton Nuss to deliver State of the Judiciary to joint legislative session in the House Chamber.