Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

UPDATED: Senate gives initial approval to state “shield law” bill

notebookThe Senate just passed the shield law, 39-1. The measure now goes to the House.

TOPEKA – The Senate on Tuesday gave an initial endorsement to a bill that would prevent journalists from being forced to turn over unpublished material.

“It’s important to protect those individuals who want to report wrong doings and this provides a journalist the ability to provide some safety for that anonymous source,” said Richard Gannon, lobbyist for the Kansas Press Association.

Read More »

How Kansas legislators voted on ‘health care freedom’ amendment

votecheckmarkTOPEKA — Here is the 75-47 vote Tuesday by which the Kansas House rejected a proposed ‘health care freedom’ amendment to the state constitution aimed at keeping the state from putt ing some federal health care mandates into effect.

Because the measure would amend the constitution, a two-thirds majority, or 84 of 125 votes, was necessary for passage, meaning supporters fell nine votes short.

Of the 76 Republicans, 67 voted “yes,” six voted “no” and three did not vote.

Of the 49 Democrats, eight voted “yes” and 41 voted “no.”

Read More »

Kansas House passes bill strengthening DUI punishments

Matt Strausz, president of Smart Start of Kansas, demonstrates how his interlocking ignition device works.

Matt Strausz, president of Smart Start of Kansas, demonstrates how his interlocking ignition device works.

TOPEKA – Drunken drivers convicted of a first offense will have to drive for a year with an ignition interlock device on their vehicles under a measure passed Tuesday by the House.

The interlock devices won’t allow the car to start if the driver’s blood alcohol level is half the legal limit or greater. The driver’s levels also are randomly tested while the car is moving. The devices cost $50 to $70 for installation and $65 to $75 a month in fees after that.

Currently, interlock devices are required for drivers who are convicted of a second drunken-driving offense, who refuse a Breathalyzer test or who are caught with a 0.15 blood alcohol level — almost twice the legal limit of 0.08.

The measure would lengthen the time a driver with a second drunken driving conviction would have to drive with the device to two years. For a fourth conviction, the device would have to remain on the vehicle for four years.

Senate Bill 368 passed 122-0 and now goes back to the Senate. which can agree with changes or send the bill to a negotiating committee to work out the differences.

Love your pet? We have a license plate for that

TOPEKA – The Kansas House approved three new specialty license plates on Tuesday.

The measure, which passed 116-6, will allow Boy Scouts and Vietnam Veterans to show their pride as well as pet lovers who could purchase an “I’m pet friendly” license plate under the measure.

Under House substitute for Senate Bill 300, Boy Scouts could also show off their rank for an additional $2 fee.

The bill was changed by the House so it now goes back to the Senate which can agree with the changes or send the measure to a negotiating committee to work out the differences.

Health Care Freedom amendment fails

TOPEKA – The Health Care Freedom amendment failed when it did not receive the required two-thirds majority to move out of the House on Tuesday.

House Concurrent Resolution 5032, an amendment to the state constitution, would have barred the federal government from requiring Kansans and businesses in the state from purchasing health insurance.

The vote was 75-47. The resolution needed 84 votes to pass. If it had received a two-thirds majority in the Senate, the resolution would have been placed on the November ballot. Voters would have had the opportunity to decide whether or not they wanted to amend the Kansas constitution.

House votes to eliminate mental health exemption for late-term abortions

TOPEKA – The House sent to the Senate Tuesday a late-term abortion bill that would bar women from using their mental state as a reason to receive a late-term abortion.

The measure passed 89-33, which indicates it might have enough support for a veto override attempt.

The courts have said that a woman’s mental health can fall under the definition of “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” House Bill 2166 would specify that bodily function does not include mental or emotional functions.

Abortion opponents said the change would bring the law closer to the late-term abortion rules’ original intent. Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a similar proposal last year before leaving to become secretary of Health and Human Services.