Two controversial bills met different fates on the Governor's desk Monday.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a measure allowing people to own automatic weapons, but vetoed a measure dealing with abortion restrictions.
Legislators approved a bill earlier this month to allow individuals to own machine guns, other fully automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns and silencers. In December, the attorney general's office issued a legal
opinion saying part of what had been law was so restrictive that only law enforcement agencies can possess silencers. That meant no dealer can have them in Kansas, even to deliver to those agencies.
Supporters believe the new law will benefit mostly collectors.
Abortion opponents expected the Governor's veto of the other measure. It would allow patients, their spouses or family members to sue an abortion provider if they believe the provider violated restrictions on late-term abortions. They also could go to court to stop a late-term abortion if they believed it would be illegal.
In her veto message, Sebelius said she worred the measure was unconstitutional, "or, even worse, endangers the lives of women."
Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, who sponsored the measure says he was disappointed by the action.
"The decision to veto CARA is a tragedy for women who will continue to be exploited by an industry that places profit above respect for human life," Kinzer said in a statement. "Sadly in Kansas it is not only the abortion industry itself, but the government agencies that are charged with regulating them, that have consistently ignored Kansas law and made our State the late term abortion capital of America. This veto will serve to further the tragedy of abortion in Kansas. CARA passed both the House and Senate by substantial margins because it represents exactly the kind of reform necessary to protect women and enforce existing law. I will do everything in my power to work to override this veto."
In addition to decisions on those two measures, Sebelius signed 14 other bills into law, including a mega-budget bill. She did line-item provisions in that bill that dealt with creating two new funds to get a portion of gaming revenues.
Veto Message on H.sub. SB 389:
Over the last several years, we have worked on lowering abortion rates in Kansas by focusing on adoption incentives, extended health services for pregnant women, providing sex education and offering a variety of support services for families.
Those efforts are having a positive impact; recently we learned that the abortion rate in Kansas continues to go down.
For years, the people of Kansas have asked their elected officials to move beyond legislative debates on issues like abortion and focus their attention on issues that can be solved in the Statehouse - stronger schools, affordable health care and economic growth.
Kansans are proud of the progress we’ve made lowering the abortion rate and lifting our economy. It's time for legislators to recognize that progress and focus on the things that continue to move us forward.
I am concerned about a number of provisions in SB 389. The United States Supreme Court decisions make clear that any law regulating abortion must contain exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s life or health. However, SB 389 allows a variety of individuals to seek a court order preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion, even where it may be necessary to save her life. I am concerned that the bill is likely unconstitutional or even worse, endangers the lives of women.
The bill contains unprecedented expansions of legal proceedings which would likely encourage extensive litigation and also unnecessarily jeopardizes the privacy of Kansas women’s confidential medical records.
As Governor, nothing is more important to me than the safety, health and privacy rights of our citizens. I am vetoing SB 389 because it endangers the health of women and is likely to be found in violation the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Kansas.
Therefore, pursuant to Article 2, Section 14 of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I veto House Substitute for Senate Bill 389.
Reaction from Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, on the veto:
"The decision to veto CARA is a tragedy for women who will continue to be exploited by an industry that places profit above respect for human life. Sadly in Kansas it is not only the abortion industry itself, but the government agencies that are charged with regulating them, that have consistently ignored Kansas law and made our State the late term abortion capital of America. This veto will serve to further the tragedy of abortion in Kansas. CARA passed both the House and Senate by substantial margins because it represents exactly the kind of reform necessary to protect women and enforce existing law. I will do everything in my power to work to override this veto.
"At its best the pro-life movement in the United States has stood for the bedrock principles of human dignity, compassion and the rule of law. The intent of CARA is to advance each of these important values. All Kansans have a right to expect that existing laws limiting late term abortions in Kansas will be followed and enforced. Furthermore, women should have the right to accurate medical information when making a decision regarding abortion. CARA includes a number of provisions designed to strengthen enforcement of existing late term abortion laws. The bill further attempts to protect minors who are seeking abortions from coercion and expands the relevant information that must be provided to women who are considering abortion."
Line item in budget bill explanation from Governor:
Pursuant to Article 2, Section 14 of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I hereby return Senate Bill 534 with my signature approving the bill, except for the items enumerated below.
Expanded Lottery Act Revenues Fund
Sections 85(t), 85(u), 85(v), and 85(w) have been line-item vetoed in their entirety.
This portion of the bill unnecessarily creates three new funds to receive monies from the Expanded Lottery Act Revenues Fund. Current law already defines how new receipts from gaming activity will be administered and how they can be spent. Creating additional funds and further stipulations would limit the flexibility of future Legislatures to target gaming receipts toward the most important and pressing needs of the state. For this reason, I find it necessary to veto this portion of the bill.
Because the KU School of Pharmacy was partially funded from one of these new funds, the method of funding the School must now be reconsidered. I fully support the expansion of the KU School of Pharmacy, which is why my original budget provided for its planning and construction with receipts to the Expanded Lottery Act Revenues Fund. Expanding our health infrastructure is a critical priority for Kansas.
I strongly urge the legislature to move forward on expanding the KU School of Pharmacy by adopting my proposal to pay for it with the expansion bonds from gaming revenue.
Other bills signed into law Monday:
Bariatric Surgery for the Morbidly Obese State and the State Employee Health Benefit Program
HB 2672 requires the KHPA to conduct a study on the topic of bariatric surgery for the morbidly obese and other insurance issues. This bill also requires the KHPA, in collaboration with the Insurance Commissioner, to conduct a study on the impact of extending coverage for bariatric surgery in the State Employee Health Benefit Program and other related issues.
Amending statutes that govern Kansas Board of Cosmetology
HB 2721 changes the definition of cosmetology to limit cosmetology practices to those that are done for esthetic rather than medical purposes and to limit cosmetology practices relating to hair removal to temporary hair removal by the use of hands or mechanical or electrical appliances, other than electric needles. The same changes are made in the definition of esthetician.
Kansas Age Discrimination in Employment Act
HB 2771 raises the age protection from the current 18 years of age to 40 years of age. The bill also adds a new provision stating that nothing in the Act could be construed to be inconsistent with the non-discrimination provisions under another provision of state or federal law.
Crude Oil Storage
HB 2892 requires the Secretary of KDHE to adopt rules and regulations governing underground crude oil storage not later than January 1, 2009.
Renaming the State Board of Tax Appeals as the State Court of Tax Appeals
Senate Sub for HB 2018 renames the State Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) the State Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) and makes a number of changes relative to the composition and duties of that entity, which is an administrative law court within the executive branch of government.
Educational Awareness of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines
Senate Sub for HB 2097 creates new law relating to educational awareness of infectious disease vaccines. Boards of education of local school districts that provide information on immunizations, infections, diseases, medications or other school health issues to parents and guardians of students in grades six through 12 also are now required to provide information about each infectious disease and the vaccines for that disease. This bill also requires the KDHE to increase influenza immunization awareness and participation among parents of children age six months to five years who are enrolled in child care facilities.
Emergency Powers of Local Government
HB 2280 prohibits officials, during a declared state of emergency, from forcibly dispossessing an owner of any firearm not otherwise prohibited by law, or from requiring registration of firearms not required to be registered under state law.
Veterans Preference & Power of Attorney
HB 2562 amends the statute on Veterans Preference to give preference to veterans for initial employment and first promotion with state government and with counties and cities, if the applicant is competent and subject to additional limitations. The bill clarifies the term “veteran” and adds to the list of qualifying service military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other area in which the United States or the United Nations has entered into military action.
The bill also includes provisions of 2008 HB 2663 which prohibit a Veterans Service Representative of the KCVA from taking power of attorney in the name of the KCVA when assisting a veteran with a claim. The KCVA would not be prohibited from assisting any veteran with any claim in which a power of attorney is not required.
Financing Capital Improvement Projects
HB 2590 provides for the financing of certain capital improvement projects in Wilson County. The bill would authorize the Kansas Development Finance Authority (KDFA) to issue up to $8 million in revenue bonds for utility and infrastructure facility projects and for certain transportation projects.
Concerning Juvenile Corrections
SB 410 clarifies existing statutory language dealing with the four current juvenile correctional facilities. In addition, the bill would allow the appointment of a superintendent and deputy superintendents and eliminate the attorney position at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex.
Prescription Monitoring Program Act
SB 491 enacts the Prescription Monitoring Program Act and creates the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee, the Methamphetamine Precursor Scheduling Task Force and the Veterinary Prescription Monitoring Program Task Force. This bill requires each pharmacy in Kansas to establish a continuous quality improvement program and would amend existing law concerning nonresident pharmacies. SB 491 encompasses, in part, the work of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Task Force.
Returned Check Procedures for the Department of Motor Vehicles
SB 521 amends existing law governing the procedures when a check is returned after being written for the payment of the annual license fee for the registration of motor vehicles and motorcycles. This bill replaces the term “check” with “payment instrument” and adds the rejection or reversal of a credit card transaction to the provisions applying to the return of payment for insufficient funds.
Seasonal Employment Background Checks by the State Fair Board
SB 565 authorizes the State Fair Board to conduct a background check on seasonal employment candidates that may be hired to assist with the State Fair. The background check is limited to a Kansas registered offender search on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) website. This bill also provides the State Fair Board and its employees, immunity from civil suit for damages by any person who is refused or discharged from employment pursuant to the offender registry search.
Amending the Viatical Settlement Act of 2002
HB 2110 amends the provisions of the Viatical Settlement Act of 2002 and enacts new requirements governing viatical settlements. This bill establishes a definition of a stranger-originated life insurance as a fraudulent viatical settlement act.