Bill dealing with religion and marriage to be heard
House Bill 2453 ( .PDF )
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House Bill 2453 says no individual or religious entity would have to be required by the government to provide any services if it would be contrary "to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender."
State Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Overland Park, said the bill will, "Protect religious freedom for people and institutions on both sides of the marriage debate."
Tom Witt, executive director of Kansas Equality, said the measure would allow discrimination against same-sex couples.
"The radical right wants to deny us our rights and deny our access to the courts. They want to deny the very fact of our existence," Witt said.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.
Jenkins to be challenged in GOP primary
State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth, announced over the weekend he will challenge U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, in the GOP primary for the 2nd District, which includes Lawrence.
Fitzgerald says he's running to vote against House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio for speaker. Jenkins is part of Boehner's leadership team.
Fitzgerald announced his intentions at the state Republican Party's convention in Wichita, according to The Associated Press. At the meeting, Gov. Sam Brownback said 2nd District Republicans "have the toughest district." The presumed Democratic nominee is Margie Wakefield of Lawrence.
Brownback proposes pay raise, but no funds
Gov. Sam Brownback has recommended a 1.5 percent pay increase for state employees, but it doesn't include funding for the measure for higher education institutions.
By the way, the last time classified employees received a pay raise in Kansas was in 2009 when they got a 2.5 percent increase.
Repeal of mortgage registration tax
Senate Bill 298, eliminating the mortgage registration tax has been filed, and is expected to get a hearing soon.
The Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Realtors Association are lobbying legislators to eliminate the mortgage registration tax, arguing that it is unfair because those who pay cash for a home avoid paying the tax.
But Douglas County officials said repeal of the tax, paid when mortgages are filed with the county, would cut needed revenue.
In Douglas County, loss of the mortgage registration fee would short the county $1.766 million per year, the equivalent of a 1.5 mil increase in the property taxes, which would mean a $26 increase on a $150,000 house, and a $190 on commercial property worth $500,000.
9 a.m. Monday — Briefing by Kansas Bioscience Authority CEO Duane Cantrell to House Appropriations Committee, room 112-North.
1:30 p.m. Monday — Hearing on Senate Bill 302, making surrogate parenting contracts unenforceable, before Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, 118-North. Opponents scheduled to testify.
3:30 p.m. Monday — Hearing on Kansas Board of Regents budget before House Education Budget Committee, room 281-North.
3:30 p.m. Monday — Overview of new income tax law by Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan, before House Taxation Committee, room 582-North.
9 a.m. Tuesday — Hearing on House Bill 2453, dealing with religion and marriage, before House Federal and State Affairs, room 346-South.
12:30 p.m. Tuesday — The Kansas Health Institute is hosting an event on Medicaid expansion at the Ramada Topeka Downtown, 420 SE 6th Avenue.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday — Hearing on Senate Bill 302, making surrogate parenting contracts unenforceable, before Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, 118-North. Proponents scheduled to testify.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday — Hearing on House Bill 2435, prohibiting minors' access to tanning device, before House Health and Human Services Committee, room 546-South.
3:30 p.m. Tuesday — Hearing on Kansas Board of Regents budget before House Education Budget Committee, room 281-North.
9:30 a.m. Wednesday — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaking to Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.
1:30 p.m. Wednesday — Briefing on proposal to draw water from the Missouri River to western Kansas to House Agricultural and Natural Resources Budget Committee, room 142-South.
9 a.m. Thursday — Hearing on House Bill 2473, pre-empting regulations of certain weapons by cities and counties, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, room 346-South.
Quote of the week:
"That jelly is cold." State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said as she watched a pregnant woman prepped for a sonogram during a meeting of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.