Wed, Feb. 20, 2008
[ note: ignore the first part of the report, unless you like seeing how lawmakers dither in an election year for fear of "picking a side" - Klaatu ]
House bill to stop Lawrence's domestic partner registry sent to panel for review
By DAVID KLEPPER
The Star’s Topeka correspondent
TOPEKA | An effort to stop Lawrence’s domestic partner registry failed Wednesday, thanks to some political maneuvering.
Rather than vote on the bill, the Kansas House sent it back for further committee review. The move allowed lawmakers worried about election-year political fallout to avoid picking a side.
The bill’s author, Republican Rep. Lance Kinzer of Olathe, vowed to keep pushing the measure. It’s bad precedent, he said, if the state allows cities to create a patchwork of rules for marriage-like relationships. “We do not let Olathe have one law on divorce and Garden City another,” he said.
Last year, Lawrence became the first Kansas city to offer a registry. The idea was to recognize the relationships of unmarried gay and straight couples and help them receive any job benefits available to domestic partnerships.
Opponents to Kinzer’s bill said that since the registry applies only to city residents and extends no new rights, the state shouldn’t meddle. “This is a local control decision,” said Rep. Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican.
Another opponent, Rep. Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, asked that HB 2299 be sent to the Judiciary Committee for study. The House agreed, 66-50.
More illegal drugs
Selling, owning or using the hallucinogenic drugs salvia divinorum and jimson weed would be illegal under legislation approved 40-0 Wednesday by the Senate.
Salvia divinorum, sold over the Internet and at some Kansas stores, became a target of lawmakers across the country after it was linked to the suicide of a Delaware high school student. It’s already illegal in Missouri. The ban wouldn’t apply to other species of salvia, a common garden plant.
Jimson weed, the common name for datura stramonium, is a highly toxic weed related to deadly nightshade. The bill, SB 481, goes to the House.
Meanwhile, the House passed a bill that would make a second conviction for possession of the drug Ecstasy a felony. That bill, HB 2545, now goes to the Senate.
In other action: [ note: See how your freedoms disappear - Klaatu ]
•If registered voters miss voting in two general elections, they are placed on an inactive list. They can also make the list by moving to a new location and failing to re-register. Either way, they won’t receive mail-in election ballots under a bill approved by the Senate 40-0.
•Under a proposed prescription monitoring program, pharmacists would be required to enter all prescriptions they filled into a state database. Prescribers, pharmacists and law enforcement with subpoena powers could use the information to see what prescriptions people were taking. The Senate approved the bill 38-2.
•A House committee passed a bill that would require schools to write policies to deal with cyber bullying.