“Preservation of Religious Freedom Act” passes House, moves to Senate

April 10
  • The Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, which would prohibit the government from creating a law that would infringe on someone’s religious beliefs, passed the Kansas House with a vote of 89-27. The act would nullify the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity on the Lawrence anti-discrimination ordinance. The Kansas City Star reports that the bill will be sent to Senate and discussed in a committee today.
  • A bill presented to protect women from breast cancer is being stalled in the House after it was passed with unanimous support in the Senate in February. Midwest Democracy reports that the bill would require health professionals to inform women that cancer can go undetected during a mammogram; the aim is to lessen the risk of a missed cancer diagnosis.
  • Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a bill that would require ex-barbers to take a licensing exam upon re-entering the profession after a two-year gap. The current law allows a three-year gap before an examination. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the bill was sent forth by the Board of Barbering as an intended safety measure, but Brownback said the measure was placing a government burden into economic activity.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that Western Plains, an ethanol plant in Oakley, Kan., would receive a $5 million grant from the USDA Rural Development’s Repowering Assistance Program. The funds will go toward improving the process of converting ethanol into fuel. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the project will create 15 permanent jobs and 100 construction jobs.
  • University of Kansas Student Senate candidates will discuss their platforms and answer questions today in the Alderson room of the Kansas Union. The University Daily Kansan reported that no formal debates between KUnited and SPQR have been held for this election cycle. Elections will be held tomorrow and Thursday; polls are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organizations voice concerns about Kansas abortion bill

By Nikki Wentling

Pro-choice and Pro-life organizations unite in their disapproval of house bill 2598, which would impose new restrictions on abortion in Kansas. The bill is sponsored by the House Committee on Federal and State affairs, and would allow physicians to withhold information from patients in order to prevent them from seeking abortions. To hear reactions on this bill, click the link below.

Listen to the story

Transcript:

Nikki Wentling: This is Capital Connections; I’m Nikki Wentling

Both pro-life and pro-choice organizations spoke out against a bill this week that would allow physicians to withhold information from their patients in order to prevent them from seeking abortions.

The Kansas House Committee on Federal and State Affairs is sponsoring the bill, which also prevents women from having an abortion based on gender of the fetus. The committee closed the hearing on the bill Wednesday, but it will reopen at a later date.

Organizations like Planned Parenthood and Kansas NOW are against the bill, and pro-life institutions have also expressed their disapproval. Sarah Campbell, director of Lawrence’s Christian-based Pregnancy Care Center, says the proposed restrictions would take away a women’s right to make an informed decision.

Sarah Campbell, Pregnancy Care Center Director: Our job is to empower women with all of the information we that we can possibly give them to make a right decision.

Nikki Wentling: This is one of three bills currently in the house that would restrict abortion in the state of Kansas. According to politicalfiber.com, the Kansas legislature considered 13 anti-abortion bills in 2011 and passed five of them. The reproductive justice coordinator for the commission on the status of women Amanda Schulze thinks legislators sponsor these bills to wear down pro-choice lobbyists.

Amanda Schulze, Reproductive Justice Coordinator: The way that anti-abortion activists work is they have a lot more money and resources than we do so they will try and push a lot of bills that are kind of silly.

Nikki Wentling: Campbell thinks the issue of abortion has always been important in the state of Kansas. She says the issue has become more pronounced since the election of Governor Sam Brownback in 2010.

Sarah Campbell: Sibelius that left, you know she was very passionate on the other side of the issue and so I think it just fired up the base of the opposition and when that shift happened in 2010 it was really a priority for the people that got in there.

Nikki Wentling: Shulze encourages students to discuss the issue of abortion. She says the bill should be discussed amongst those whom it will affect, and not be in the hands of male politicians.

Amanda Schulze: It’s not affecting a 50-year-old congressman. It’s affecting us girls, in college, at a reproductive age.

Nikki Wentling: Vice President for the commission on the status of women Haley Miller thinks the proposed bill is a scare tactic, and immoral.

Haley Miller, Vice President of the Commission on the Status of Women: It’s when you start telling lies to women who want this procedure that’s when it becomes an issue.

Nikki Wentling: This is Nikki Wentling reporting for Capital Connections, nwentling.wordpress.com.