In an effort to keep our readers better informed about the state government actions that impact our communities, we will again be featuring regular update columns during the 2014 session from northeast Johnson County’s elected officials: Rep. Barbara Bollier, Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Emily Perry, Rep. Melissa Rooker and Sen. Kay Wolf. Check back on Mondays to find out what’s been happening the past week in Topeka. Rep. Rooker submits this week’s update:
Let’s cut right to the chase – I voted no on HB 2453 last week.
This bill purports to protect businesses and individuals from providing services with which they disagree on religious terms. In reality, HB 2453 condones discrimination based on sexual orientation under the guise of religious freedom. I voted no on the bill because I believe it protects the religious beliefs of one group of people at the expense of another. My heart is heavy because this bill passed the House 72-49, but my conscience is clear. I have received an outpouring of support and thanks from constituents, and for that I thank you. The business community has been vocal in their opposition to the bill for the way it interferes with their personnel and human resources issues. The good news is that it appears that the Senate agrees that this bill is not likely to stand up to legal scrutiny and may not work the bill. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. I would encourage you to contact the members of that committee to share your opinion of the bill.
This will be a very full week of hearings in our committees as we work towards the turn-around deadline, that midway point in the session when all bills have to clear their house of origin and move to the opposite chamber for consideration.
Education will be hearing HB 2606 regarding student data privacy on Monday, HB 2620 regarding a parent opt-in for sex education on Tuesday, HB 2621 regarding the repeal of the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards on Wednesday, a presentation on the Carpe Diem Charter School in Arizona on Thursday, and Friday is to be announced. This would be a great week to come to Topeka to show your support! Here is a link with more information.
Vision 2020 will hear more from Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker.
Children and Seniors will be touring the Kansas Children’s Services League and hearing HB 2577 allowing parents to remain anonymous when surrendering a newborn and HB 2558 regarding the prohibition of case management process in domestic relations cases.
Your involvement has helped shape the legislative process this session. Public outcry stopped an anti-surrogacy bill and a bill banning municipalities to enter into broadband agreements. Public outcry has also stopped the progress of the discrimination bill. You can and do make a difference and for that I appreciate you!
Please contact me with any questions or comments. My Topeka office number is 785-296-7686, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a pleasure to serve!