Bill to arm kansas teachers draws opposition, secrecy concerns the kansas city star marinade for sirloin steak

A bill that would encourage kansas teachers to carry concealed guns is on the fast track in topeka, introduced late in the regular session and creating concern over a lack of transparency about the measure.

A hearing on the house bill, proposed last week, is scheduled for early tuesday morning. An overland park democrat said thousands have signed a petition opposing the measure.

"This bill says that if the district adopts that policy, you have to be able to carry anywhere in the district, which means gun on your hip, kneeling down next to 5-year-olds in a kindergarten classroom. It means in an emotionally disturbed special education room, it means teaching high school seniors who are frequently more physically imposing than their teacher.Named sponsor it’s just a recipe for disaster."

As part of a concealed carry law in 2013, certain designated teachers and staff would have been allowed to be armed in school buildings.


But at the time, the major insurance carrier for the state’s school districts said it wouldn’t renew policies for districts where concealed guns were allowed.

"Concealed carry is already allowed in the school districts," said rep. Blake carpenter, who is backing the bill. "This just makes it to where it’s more affordable for the taxpayers in order to have this policy in place so that these school boards can move forward and not pay an arm and a leg in order to harden our schools and make sure our kids are safe."

Named sponsor

Under the proposal, if a school district does not authorize teachers to carry concealed handguns, and a shooting occurred, the district could be presumed negligent in protecting children.

"That is currently in the bill, but I’m OK with an amendment that strikes the negligence presumption portion," carpenter said. "Because I think just from the feedback I’ve gotten from committee and other members here in the legislature, let’s not distract from the overall conversation."

Mark tallman, associate executive director of the kansas association of school boards, plans to testify against the bill tuesday morning. His organization, tallman said, isn’t weighing in on whether arming staff is a good or bad idea.Carry concealed

"Our question is who should make that difficult decision?" tallman said. "We don’t think that the state should be telling you that you can or cannot use this. That’s a decision that can and should be made locally."

"I’m a parent. I’d be the first one down to the office saying do not put my child in a classroom with a gun," said mark desetti, legislative director for the kansas national education association, the state’s largest teachers union. "But if they honor my request, they have just announced who is unarmed. So that’s a dangerous thing."

The measure, house bill 2789, for days didn’t include a named sponsor on the printed or online version.Carpenter said it showed the sponsor as the house federal and state affairs committee.

That, along with the fact that the hearing was scheduled so quickly and at an early time, has some lawmakers worried that the process hasn’t been open.

"There are so many things that have fallen into place that lack transparency," said rep. Stephanie clayton, an overland park republican. "Has anyone been loud and proud that, ‘hey, this bill is awesome’? That is also a concern. … This is why we need to put names on all bills."

The star’s november series, "why so secret, kansas?" revealed that the state is one of the darkest in the country as far government transparency. Last session alone, 94 percent of the laws that were passed stemmed from committee bills with no named sponsor.Carry concealed

Though the current bill doesn’t have a named sponsor, carpenter said he’s the one backing it. But because the time has already passed for legislators to introduce individual bills, he said, it had to be a committee proposal.

"It’s not that I’m not trying to be transparent, it’s that that’s the process that we have to work within right now," said the derby republican, who often focuses on second amendment issues. "… I would like for there to be more transparency in the process."

By monday evening — after the star asked house leadership about the anonymity — the online site describing the bill had been updated. Carpenter’s name was added as the person who had requested that the measure be introduced.Named sponsor

One part of HB 2789 that many like is that it calls for school districts to set up standards for security and safety and create response plans. It also calls for gun safety education.

"Teachers don’t enter the profession in the hopes of being able to shoot somebody down," desetti said. "They go in there as nurturing people who want to save the world. And the idea that we should arm them is so patently offensive and absurd."