A bill that supporters say will preserve religious freedom now faces an uncertain future in the Kansas legislature.
Bill Proponents say it will protect individuals, businesses and religious groups from being involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies for religious reasons. Opponents say it's so broadly written that it offers legal protection for discrimination. The bill passed the Kansas House last week.
House Speaker Ray Merrick says that he would not put the bill up for a vote again if he could do it over. Merrick says the House will work with the Senate to amend the bill.
The full Kansas House could consider a bill soon that voids local government firearm regulations.
A House committee amended and approved the legislation yesterday.
The bill would keep local governments from regulating the open carry of firearms.
Committee members added a provision saying Kansans could carry a loaded gun in their vehicle anywhere in the state, without requiring a concealed weapons permit. Now, local governments can bar keeping a loaded gun on your seat or in your glovebox.
Governor Sam Brownback's budget proposal includes a 1.5 percent raise for classified state employees.
But Monday, a Senate committee cut that raise out of its version of the budget, at least temporarily. Senator Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said the pay raise would affect more employees than originally thought.
“We weren’t fully aware that it would touch some judges, classified employees, it touches the Legislature. So we’re just trying to get our arms around it and then look at it globally,” Denning said.
A legislative committee is considering a bill that would bar local governments in Kansas from passing any rules that restrict the open carry of firearms. It would also invalidate any local rules currently restricting open carry.
Representative Jim Howell, a Derby Republican, says the goal is to create consistency.
“So what this does, it just simply says we’re not going to let cities create a patchwork of laws, so that people can exercise their Second Amendment rights confidently, understanding the law, with simplicity," Howell says.
Testimony on a bill that would speed up death penalty appeals in Kansas concluded Tuesday at the state Legislature.
A staff member with the attorney general's office told a Senate committee that long filings and delays often extend the process. But Sarah Johnson, a defense attorney who has worked on death penalty cases, said the cases are very complex and a lot of time is needed to prepare.
Johnson said the bill could harm certain defense cases.
Governor Sam Brownback is proposing a reversal of some state university salary cuts and a raise for classified state employees. He's also hoping to rewrite the Department of Corrections budget.
Senator Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, chairs the Senate's budget committee. He says most of the governor's proposed $460 million dollar spending increase is allocated for corrections, but some lawmakers will still have concerns.