• Last modified 449 days ago (March 23, 2023)


Legislators urge Patriots group to unify on values

Staff writer

Talk of abortion, school choice, and people who are transgender dominated Patriots for Liberty of Marion County’s meeting Sunday.

State Reps. Scott Hill and Stephen Owens talked about what’s going on in Topeka and took questions from members of the conservative group at Marion County Park and Lake’s Lake Hall.

With a “lame-duck governor,” Owens urged members to push for their values.

“We have got to get more unified as a body,” he said.

Owens leads the Kansas Truth caucus, which he said was the largest joint House and Senate caucus.

He told members of the Patriots group about a Kansas Court of Appeals decision Friday regarding what he termed “ballot harvesting” — when mail-in ballots are picked up and returned to election offices.

The court remanded to district court a case brought by the League of Women Voters of Kansas and three other groups challenging a ballot collection restriction in state law, saying it “does impair the right to vote. We remand this matter to the district court to give the state and the defendants the opportunity to show that the statute can overcome strict scrutiny.”

The court gave instructions that any limitations on voting rights must be justified by clear evidence of problems they would address.

“History records the struggle Kansans experienced when joining the Union of States. “It was by free elections that we gained statehood. Thus, voting rights are preserved in the Kansas Constitution.”

Hill and Owens were disappointed by the court’s decision.

“We have a real problem with activism in our court system,” Owens said.

There’s also a problem in public schools, they said. That’s why they support giving families a portion — $5,000 — of what the state pays public schools so that parents could pay for tuition to private schools, books, and tutoring.

“We know that without question that our public schools are not working to make our students college- or career-ready,” Owens said. “We’ve got to do better for our kids because things are going downward.”

Hill echoed him.

“I look at it as getting parents involved in their kids’ education,” he said, adding that test scores had declined during the past 30 years.

“What that tells you is we have a system that is not flexible to changes,” he said.

Hill also talked about the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun training, which he believes should be taught to schoolchildren so they can “learn how to be safe with firearms.”

“Every Democrat voted against it, but it passed the House,” he said.

Owens also talked about people who are transgender.

“We had to pass a law about what a man and a woman are,” he said. “When did we get to this point in society?”

Doctors who take an oath to do no harm should not perform gender affirmation surgery, he said, just as they should care for babies born alive after “botched abortions.”

Last modified March 23, 2023