Well, this is “March Madness,” my favorite time of the year. Of course, I’m talking about college basketball, not the madness at the state Legislature.
There are many issues the Legislature must deal with this session. Two issues that have received a lot of attention are HB 2042 and SCR 1611. HB 2042 was passed by the House. The original bill was introduced to allow conceal and carry permits from other states to be reciprocal with Kansas. However, it was amended to lower the age for conceal and carry to age 18. After that, a Florida 19-year-old took 17 lives with an AR-15. At this point, the Federal and State Affairs committee, which I serve on, took up the issue this week. We removed all amendments that the House added and returned it to the reciprocal bill the attorney general wanted. Just an FYI, in Kansas a person under 21 cannot purchase a handgun. As I understand it, Walmart has changed a policy and will no longer sell ammunition to anyone under age 21. I doubt that HB 2042 will ever be heard on the floor of the Senate, which is fine with me.
SCR 1611 is a resolution to call for a Convention of States. I was reluctant at first to support this. I have found it to be a way that amendments could be proposed or drafted out of this convention. That is all this convention can do — propose amendments. Then 37 states must ratify any proposals. I think it is safe that this process is not about throwing out the U.S. Constitution or making radical changes.
On March 8, the Senate voted 22-16 to call a Convention of States. Since a two-thirds majority was not reached, this notion failed. I was one of the 22. I do not believe this endangers our Constitution.
At one of our recent forums, the issue of sales tax exemptions came up. It is estimated there are over $60 million dollars in sales tax exemptions in our state alone. A complete list can be found on my website, www.brucegivens.com.
Bruce Givens, R-El Dorado, represents District 14, which includes all of Chatauqua County and part of Cowley County.