Salina area legislators were back home Saturday to provide an update on the 2014 legislative session. Senator Tom Arpke and State Representatives Steven Johnson, Diana Dierks, and J.R. Claeys all participated in a question and answer session at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce.
Each legislator started with an opening statement explaining key things they have individually been working on and involved with. They then participated in a question and answer session with the gathering of over 50 people.
Questions ranged from topics including education, mortgage registration fees, campaign finance, alternative energy, the death penalty, and religious freedom.
Representatives Dierks and Johnson both voted against the controversial religious freedom bill, which would have allowed businesses to deny services to gays based on religious beliefs. Dierks said she voted no, because the further she read into the the bill, the more discriminatory it became. She added that after reading it, it became an easy vote for her.
Discussing the topic of the death penalty in Kansas, Johnson indicated that he would support repealing it in Kansas, noting that there hasn’t been an execution in Kansas since the 1960s. He added that the doubts it will become an issue this session.
Concerning the issue of the state repealing mortgage registration fees, Claeys indicated that he is against it, saying that totally ending the fees is too drastic. If the proposal were to pass, it would cost Saline County over $700,000 in lost local revenue.
Two other similar events will be held Saturday, March 22, and Saturday, May 17.