State Senator Kay Wolf and Rep. Melissa Rooker both predicted Thursday that the controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ act that passed the House Wednesday would not make it to the Senate floor. Rooker also suggested the bill was really an election-year ploy.
A statement from Susan Wagle, Senate President, in part saying the Republican members of the Senate don’t “condone discrimination” seemed to doom the controversial bill. Wolf said she was one of those Senate Republicans who would vote against the bill if it reaches the Senate floor. Wolf said she had been inundated with emails about the bill. All the House members from northeast Johnson County voted against the bill this week.
Rooker said she believes the bill “was designed for the election cycle so it could be used against us in an election. I don’t think it will go to the governor’s desk in an election year.” Re-stating her opposition, Rooker said, “I am not going to make that compromise to save my own interest in an election.” The bill would give a conservative primary challenger an issue to use, Rooker implied.
Wolf and Rooker were speaking at a legislative forum sponsored by the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce Thursday night at Sylvester Powell Community Center.
Wolf and Rooker also both talked about a new gun bill that would remove a city’s ability to restrict open carry. Prairie Village has been mired in a legal challenge to its open carry ban. “It is a laundry list of bad policy,” Rooker said of the bill.
The two legislators said the bill not only removes all municipal ability to regulate or restrict guns, it allows minors to carry guns with parents’ permission, prevents a city from holding a buy-back program, prevents cities from destroying weapons in custody and allows a loaded gun in a car at any time. Responding to a question, Rooker said she believes it violates home rule for cities.
Rooker said she owned a gun for 15 years when she lived in Los Angeles and does not want to remove the right to have a gun or to make people relinquish guns they own. “I worked for Dirty Harry (referring to her time working for Clint Eastwood). I spent time around the gun culture so I do get it.”
Wolf and Rooker also touched on a variety of other bills and proposals: all-day kindergarten, mortgage registration fees, charter schools, moving city elections to fall and making them partisan, live streaming of legislative sessions, real time explanation of health care costs, financial literacy in high school and broadband restrictions among them.