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Minutes for SB235 - Committee on Ways and Means

Short Title

Prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons in certain buildings.

Minutes Content for Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Chairperson McGinn opened the hearing on SB 235.  Jill Wolters provided an overview of the bill and responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 1)

Bob Page spoke as a proponent of the bill.  The University of Kansas Health System is an economic engine for the Kansas City region and the state.  If guns are allowed in the hospital they would be at a significant disadvantage and would be the only hospital in the Kansas City area that would allow concealed carry.  (Attachment 2)

Chief Rick Johnson testified in support of the bill.  Hospital facilities are already emotionally charged and chaotic and the possibility that people may be carrying guns just adds another concern for those responsible for providing security.  Chief Johnson responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 3)

Colin Thomasset testified as a proponent of the bill.  Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) were exempted from allowing conceal carry for the last couple years and this would make that exemption permanent.  If this bill does not pass, there would be an increase in costs to the CMHCs in order to provide the needed security.  (Attachment 4)

Deborah Stern spoke in support of the bill.  Life and death decisions made in emotionally charged environments are already stressful and these facilities are not the place for guns.  (Attachment 5)

Rachel Monger stood as a proponent of the bill.  Their home based models are publicly owned but are not public buildings.  They have worked over the years to move towards a home-based model and nursing home residents shouldn't have to allow guns in their homes.  It should be up to the staff and residents of each facility to determine what their policy should be.  (Attachment 6)

Reverend Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan spoke in support of the bill but urges inclusion of public colleges and universities in the bill.  The vast majority of people associated with our colleges and universities are opposed to guns on campus.  (Attachment 7)

Written testimony in support of the bill was submitted by:

Ed Klumpp, Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police  (Attachment 8)

Dr. Lee Norman, MD, University of Kansas Health System  (Attachment 9)

Liz Carlton, University of Kansas Health System  (Attachment 10)

Kathy Bennett, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce  (Attachment 11)

Brett Hildabrand spoke in opposition to the bill.  It is naive to think that guns are not already in these facilities and his organization wants these facilities to provide security or allow people to protect themselves.  Signs do not keep guns out of buildings.  Mr. Hildabrand responded to questions from Committee members.  (Attachment 12)

Due to concerns expressed about the timing of the hearing, Chairperson McGinn clarified that the bill was introduced last Friday, was read in Monday, referred to Senate Ways and Means Tuesday due to the fiscal note impact and was scheduled for a hearing with appropriate notice provided in the Senate Calendar.

Written testimony in opposition to the bill was submitted by:

Forrest Knox, former Senator  (Attachment 13)

Travis Couture-Lovelady, National Rifle Association  (Attachment 14)

Kimberly Lynch testified as a neutral conferee.  The cost to the State Psychiatric hospitals would be prohibitive.  Also the presence of metal detectors has the potential to disrupt those with mental health issues and essentially would require them to go through metal detectors to get to their homes.  (Attachment 15)

Amy Penrod spoke as a neutral conferee to review the fiscal costs for the four State Hospitals.  The estimates provided in the attached spreadsheet are the cost for one entrance to each building only and other entrances would have to be closed.  The estimate includes metal detectors and staff to man the entrances 24/7 and does not assume any costs relating to armed security, weapons storage, tomography, etc.  (Attachment 16)

In response to questions from Committee members, staff distributed an additional document with information on the cost to more fully implement security measures at Larned and Osawatomie State Hospitals.  (Attachment 17)

Written testimony neutral to the bill was submitted by:

Kate Allen, Johnson County Community College  (Attachment 18)

There being no further conferees, Chairperson McGinn closed the hearing on SB 235.