We're not sure what is going on in Kansas right now, but we sure are glad we're not there. The Sunflower State has been mulling over some potential bills that are not as sunny as its motto, including allowing corporal punishment in schools, and legalizing discrimination -- in the name of religious freedom.
The Spanking Bill
The spanking bill, more officially known as HB 2699, if passed, would define corporal punishment as "up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-handed palm against the clothed buttocks of a child," reports The Wichita Eagle. The bill goes even further noting that to restrain or control a child "any such reasonable physical force" may be used and acknowledges "that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result." Let's all say it together: WTF?!
Representative Gail Finney (D-Wichita) introduced the bill, and amidst understandable backlash, released a statement "clarifying" that the "legislation is not, as has been incorrectly reported, intended to legalize child abuse in Kansas," but instead is meant to provide clarity as to what, and what is not abuse. Whether the law will actually be considered though is another question, as Chairman of the Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee Rep. John Rubin stated he wasn't sure whether his committee would even consider the bill, reports KCTV, with Finney countering that if that's the case, she would reintroduce a similar bill next session.
The Homophobic Bill
"House Bill 2453 is kaput," stated Kansas Senate Vice President Jeff King (R-Independence), on a supposed "religious freedom" bill that would allow small-business owners to "refuse to offer services for same-sex weddings on religious grounds," reports The Wichita Eagle.
The bill was a response to the same-sex marriage litigation making the rounds in the Tenth Circuit, but fortunately though HB 2453 passed the Kansas House, it will not reach the Kansas Senate floor. Not quite an open and shut case, Rep. King stated that a Kansas Senate committee will "explore the issue of religious liberty in hearings next month," according to The Wichita Eagle.
Let's hope that's it for crazy (potential) laws coming out of Kansas for this year.
- U.S. District Judge Overturns Oklahoma's Gay Marriage Ban, but Stays His Decision (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)
- In Your Face Utah: Feds Will Recognize Utah Gay Marriages (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)
- 10th Circuit Expedites Review of Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)