Topeka A majority in the House approved a bill on Wednesday to install a meditation and prayer room in the Statehouse.
House Bill 2694, originally introduced by Rep. Arlen Siegfried, R-Olathe, was created to provide space in the Capitol for state legislators and others to pray and relax.
The Kansas Statehouse previously had a chapel in the 1960s and early 1970s, before it was changed into an office.
The room will be open to people of any denomination or belief to use. Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, said the room will lack any religious symbols.
“We were assured this is a place where there would be no religious symbolism,” Otto said. “The room should be free for anyone to use.”
All costs associated with construction, remodeling and furnishing will be paid by private donors, who will remain anonymous.
Rep. Sean Gatewood D-Topeka, said he feared the measure could be abused, specifically citing the likelihood of disturbances by the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka.
“All things considered, I don’t believe this is something we want to get into,” Gatewood said. “That’s a problem I don’t want.”
A final vote is expected Thursday.