Posts tagged "Kansas"

The teacher-hating GOP extremists backed by ALEC/Koch Brothers are destroying education in this country. 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Over the past several years, state legislatures have enacted a record-breaking number of abortion restrictions. That pace hasn’t abated during this year’s legislative sessions, as lawmakers are rushing to pass measures to shut down abortion clinics and create additional red tape for women seeking abortions. But even though the assault on reproductive rights has been steadily gaining ground, there’s one type of restriction that hasn’t been able to win enough support, even among some anti-choice Republicans.

So-called “fetal heartbeat bills,” a radical proposal to cut off legal abortion services at just six weeks — before many women even realize they’re pregnant — are failing in states across the country. Although the far-right abortion opponents who push six-week bans claim that the procedure should be outlawed after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, they can’t always get their other colleagues to sign onto the effort.

Last year, North Dakota and Alabama became the first states in the country to pass abortion restrictions banning the procedure after the detection of fetal heartbeat (although Arkansas’ ended up being amended to a 12-week ban). Perhaps observing that those two laws have both been blocked from taking effect because they blatantly violate Roe v. Wade, at least five state legislatures have declined to advance fetal heartbeat bans so far this year:

ALABAMA: Lawmakers in Alabama introduced a package of several anti-abortion restrictions, including a six-week abortion ban, on the same day in February. The legislature rushed to approve two of those measures before the state’s session came to a close this week, but the Senate didn’t take up the heartbeat ban. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) said he’s waiting to see how the legal challenges to six-week bans in other states before Alabama passes its own version “and spends dollars we don’t have as a state.” The lawmaker who introduced the bill said she’s “very, very disappointed” that the legislature “didn’t have the fortitude” to approve it anyway.

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi has been trying and failing to enact a heartbeat ban for several years in a row. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has already indicated that he’s eager to sign one. “It would tell that mother, ‘Your child has a heartbeat,’” he told supporters at an anti-abortion event last year. But so far, this bill has repeatedly failed to make it out of committee. The state recently passed a 20-week abortion ban, but the heartbeat bill — which would have banned abortion at 12 weeks, like the one in Arkansas — remains a step too far.

KANSAS: Top Republican lawmakers in Kansas have decided to block a six-week abortion ban this year because they’re not interested in provoking a legal fight. Even though the legislature has strong GOP majorities, the politicians there are taking their cues from Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-choice group in the state. Kansans for Life doesn’t support the proposed fetal heartbeat ban because they’re nervous that a court battle would end up striking it down. “We’re just being cautious,” House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey (R) explained when asked why the legislature hasn’t scheduled a vote on the measure.

KENTUCKY: A fetal heartbeat measure was introduced again in Kentucky this session, after failing to advance last year, but abortion opponents haven’t had much luck this time around either. The measure is currently stalled in committee with little chance of passing. Pro-choice Kentucky lawmakers have been able to successfully block proposed abortion restrictions for several years in a row, so there’s little chance that a radical six-week abortion ban will make it through.

OHIO: Republicans in Ohio have long been divided over whether to adopt an aggressive anti-abortion strategy, and attempt to enact a harsh fetal heartbeat ban, or take a more subtle and incremental approach to chipping away at reproductive rights. This split has prevented the state from approving a six-week ban for the past several years, although it continues to be re-introduced. Senate President Keith Faber (R) says he won’t schedule a vote on the measure this session because he’s worried it will trigger a court challenge.

Indeed, legal battles over unconstitutional abortion restrictions come with a cost. North Dakota is gearing up to spend at least $600,000 to defend its stringent anti-abortion laws in court, while Kansas and Idaho have both accumulated legal fees in this area that top one million dollars.

In general, abortion opponents haven’t decided whether it’s better to continue gradually chipping away Roe v. Wade piece by piece, or whether it’s necessary to take a bold stance to ban nearly all abortions. So far, feuds over this divide are bubbling to the surface in political races in Georgia and Kentucky. And some Republicans will need to adopt a particularly hardline stance against abortion if they want to court support from thecountry’s major anti-choice groups before the upcoming presidential primaries.

But so far, anti-choice lawmakers have actually had more success with the first, incremental strategy. That’s largely because radical restrictions like six-week bans, which are obviously extreme on their face, tend to capture headlines and spark outrage — while more subtle efforts to undermine abortion rights are able to slip under the radar.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

thepoliticalfreakshow:

TOPEKA, Kan. — Legislators are reopening a debate on whether Kansas should enact special legal protections for people, groups and businesses opposing same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

A Senate panel was taking testimony Thursday from legal scholars on whether existing state laws protect opponents of gay marriage from being fined or sued for refusing to provide goods or services for same-sex wedding ceremonies or marriages.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing follows last month’s House passage of what proponents called “religious freedom” legislation. Opponents said it would encourage discriminationagainst gays and lesbians, and Senate leaders declared it dead.

The Kansas Constitution bars same-sex marriage, but the House bill anticipated that federal courts could invalidate the ban.

Senate leaders have said the Judiciary Committee is having an informational hearing and isn’t working on new legislation.

Source: LGBTQ Nation

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

motherjones

H/T: Dana Lieblson at Mother Jones

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A Democratic lawmaker in Kansas says that her bill allowing teachers, caregivers and parents to beat children to point of leaving bruises is about restoring parental rights, not abusing children.

State Rep. Gail Finney’s (D) bill expands current law, which allows spanking without leaving marks.

According to KCTV, the new legislation would permit teachers, caregivers and parents to strike children up to 10 times, and leave redness or even bruising.

McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle, who proposed the idea to Finney, told KCTV that the measure actually protected children by defining what parents were not allowed to do.

“This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal,” Colle explained. “This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not.”

Colle said that the new rules would not allow children to be hit in the head or the body. Using a fist or a switch or a belt would also be against the rules.

But not everyone in Kansas thinks that turning back the clock on child beatings is a great idea.

“Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn’t sit in car seats, and we do now,” pediatric nurse practitioner and child care expert Amy Terreros pointed out. “So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child.”

If the bill passes, Kansas will be one of the few states to expand spanking rights. Corporal punishment has been banned completely by 30 states.

Finney has vowed to reintroduce the bill next session if House Corrections Committee Chairman John Rubin refuses to bring it up this year.

Watch the video below from KCTV, broadcast Feb. 18, 2014.

KCTV5

All Kansas residents need to call your representatives to vote NO to HB2699! 

#StopHB2699 
#HB2699 
#KSLeg

(Cross-Posted from Daily Kos
dailykos

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The Kansas State Senate has refused to consider a House bill that would make it legal to refuse service to gays due to “sincerely held religious beliefs”. Senate Republicans say the bill is too extreme.

House Bill 2453, which passed the House by a lopsided 72-49 vote, would have allowed anyone with religious objections to homosexuality to discriminate against gays at any time. Doctors. Teachers. Firefighters. Ambulance drivers.

From HB 2453:

“if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity…no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to…[p]rovide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; solemnize any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; or treat any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement as valid.”

The Kansas Senate, with its 32-8 Republican majority, was expected to rubber stamp the legislation, but sanity has prevailed. Senate President, Republican Susan Wagle, told the Wichita Eagle that allowing government employees to discriminate went too far:

“I believe that when you hire police officers or a fireman that they have no choice in who they serve. They serve anyone who’s vulnerable, any age, any race, any sexual orientation. Public service needs to remain public service for the entire public.”

susan wagleSenator Wagle, (right) went on to say the bill would need to be amended before the Senate would even consider taking it up.

Equality Kansas welcomed the Senate’s surprise decision, releasing a statement that reads in part:

“…we look forward to working with them to draft language that will protect the religious liberties of all Kansans, while at the same time ensuring the dignity of gay and lesbian couples across the state.”

There has been no public reaction yet from Kansas House members.

Milton Wolf is a physician who is challenging Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts from the right in this year’s Republican primary. He is also the second cousin once removed of President Obama.

Wolf has taken full advantage of this family connection, bringing up his relation to the president in frequent Washington Times columns and touting his “Obamacare family feud” on FoxNews.com.

In fact, Wolf’s distant relation to Obama seems to have only encouraged his embrace of Tea Party attacks on the president. In an interview with Tea Party Express yesterday, Wolf offered some words of wisdom: “You can’t choose your family. But you know what you can do? You can choose to rise up and stop your family from destroying America.”

“I think Barack Obama is the worst president in our history and we have got to have the courage to stop him,” he added. 

Wolf went on to boast that he has “become his most vocal and fiercest critic”  and is “one of the few people on this planet, I am sure, who have actually stood toe-to-toe with Barack Obama, looked him in the eye, and told him that he’s wrong.” 

Wolf also repeated his previous claims that the president improperly targeted him with an IRS audit and attempted to get him fired from his Washington Times gig.

At an event in New Orleans in September, Wolf also played up his “family feud,” saying, “I think I’m everything that’s wrong with Barack Obama’s America. I’ve got a wife, a job and a gun.”

"It’s true, Barack Obama and I are cousins. And I would guess because of that you may wonder if I’m the real deal or not. You may have a little concern about me. Let me assure you that I am from a branch of the family that has actually read, understands and believes in the constitution," declared Wolf.

"In fact, I think I’m everything that’s wrong with Barack Obama’s America. I’ve got a wife, a job and a gun," he continued, before adding that he has several guns, not just one.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

All disgust aside, I’m happy that some of the real Christians in the area stepped up. Read on:

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. —A local server was thanked for good service during a recent meal at an Overland Park restaurant, and also received an anti-gay message with no tip.

KMBC 9 News found out about the incident on Facebook, where customers at the Carrabba’s Italian Grill at 106th Street and Metcalf Avenue are rallying to the server’s support.

Here’s what happened: A server went to pick up a check from a meal, and found a message on the back of the bill. It read: “Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God. May God have mercy on you.”

Friends of the server and customers took to social media to spread the word about what happened, and have vowed to go to the restaurant on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. as a sign of support.

The server has responded to the incident, saying “The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else.”

h/t: Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars 

divineirony:

abaldwin360:

It sounds like a headline from The Onion, but it’s not.

The reasoning for this bill makes it sound even more like something that is parody - it’s an anti-agenda 21 bill, the right seems to think agenda 21 is a conspiracy to undermine property rights and american sovereignty.

Never mind the fact that implementation of agenda 21 is completely voluntary and non-binding …

Bill No. 2366 would ban all state and municipal funds for anything related to “sustainable development,” which it defines as: “development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”

(via questionall)

KANSAS CITY, Kan., April 5 (Reuters) - The Kansas state Senate passed a measure on Friday that would ban Planned Parenthood from providing sex education in schools and require women to get more information about fetal development before having an abortion.

The measure was approved by a 28-10 vote and was expected to pass easily in the House of Representatives, which backed the 70-page bill in largely similar form earlier this week. Republicans have large majorities in both chambers. Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who opposes abortion, is expected to sign it.

Opponents of the measure say it contains 40 provisions that affect a woman’s health and intrude on her right to an abortion. Advocates said it mainly codifies existing practices, while helping women make more informed choices.

The Kansas bill is the latest development in a national fight over abortion that has seen lawmakers in several states pass new restrictions on abortion in the past two years.

Those have included laws approved in the past month in North Dakota and Arkansas that are seen as direct challenges to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion.

The bill bars school districts from letting abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood offer, sponsor or furnish course materials or instruction on human sexuality or on sexually transmitted diseases.

The bill defines life as beginning at fertilization, but does not ban abortion from that point. (Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

h/t: Huffington Post

The Kansas legislature is advancing an omnibus abortion bill that would, among other things, define life as beginning at conception in the state constitution and place unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers in the state. HB 2253 has already passed the House, and looks poised to gain enough support to sail through the Senate — but only after Republicans rejected several key amendments to soften the measure, including a provision to add exceptions for rape and incest to the state’s existing abortion restrictions. Top Republicans decried those provisions as “little gotcha amendments.”

Senators discussed the bill for more than two hours on Monday. There were several proposed amendments up for debate — a rape and incest exception, a provision ensuring that women won’t be prosecuted for using birth control even if the state officially redefines life with a “personhood” amendment, and a measure to remove HB 2253′s requirement that doctors tell women about a scientifically disputed link between abortion and breast cancer. All of them were rejected.

“These amendments are little gotcha amendments,” Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce (R) said during the floor debate. “I’m getting a little irritated at it.”

State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R) explained she opposed the rape and incest exception because it would apply not just to HB 2253, but also to the existing abortion laws in Kansas. That means it would extend an exception in the cases of rape and incest to current state restrictions banning most abortions after 22 weeks, preventing private health insurance from covering abortion services, and requiring doctors to obtain parental consent before performing an abortion for a minor. “This language would completely undo 10 to 20 years of abortion legislation,” Pilcher-Cook said.

In fact, such an amendment wouldn’t “undo” state-level abortion restrictions at all. Exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and preserving the life of the woman are still extremely narrow, and don’t change the fact that restrictions on reproductive care are still imposed on the majority of women.

Americans also overwhelmingly support abortion access for victims of rape and incest.

But for Kansas Republicans, it’s too politically contentious to ensure, for instance, that a minor who has been sexually abused by a family member doesn’t have to seek parental consent to terminate a resulting pregnancy. “This is political hijinks,” Pilcher-Cook said. “We should be focused on the bill instead of trying to make political points.”

h/t: Think Progress Health