Politics & Government

Capitol beats: Moving up the ladder

Check this spot on Sundays for a few quick hits about what’s driving the debate in the Legislature.

Say what?

“You need to give somebody a skill. You get them a skill, they get more than a minimum-wage job. You get ’em started and then they can move on up the ladder.”

– Gov. Sam Brownback, touting a technical education program for people on public assistance

“In my humble and minority opinion, madam chair, we shouldn’t even be in here in the first place.”

– Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, lecturing his colleagues before a Senate vote on a bill meant to save funding for the judicial branch by repealing a provision passed last year that tied court funding to a policy reform that was recently ruled unconstitutional


That’s the number of states that offer same-day voter registration. A proposal from the Kansas Black Leadership Council would allow people to register and vote on Election Day if they bring proof of citizenship to their polling place. The group says that would boost voter turnout.


Guns are getting a lot of focus in Topeka these days. A Senate committee held a hearing on a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against gun dealers and manufacturers, while a House panel weighed a bill that would require school districts to open their facilities to shooting clubs using air guns.

A proposed constitutional amendment backed by the National Rifle Association would also establish a constitutional right to hunt, trap and fish in Kansas.

Meanwhile, five Democratic senators have introduced a bill that would keep concealed firearms off college campuses. Under current law, state universities will be required to allow concealed firearms on campuses starting in July 2017.

News ahead

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would make it easier to prosecute teachers on a charge of distributing harmful material to minors. The bill, which was passed by the Senate last year, is a response to a controversy in the Shawnee Mission school district, where a middle school teacher was suspended in 2014 after using a poster that described sexual acts as part of a sex education course.

Supporters say the bill is necessary to protect students, but opponents say the legislation will open up teachers to prosecution for teaching controversial works of literature.

— Bryan Lowry

For more legislative news, go to www.kansas.com/politics and follow @BryanLowry3 on Twitter.