TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly announced four new vetoes on Friday. The vetoed bills address election laws, concealed carry age, and a controversial license plate.
One bill would have allowed 18 to 20-year-olds to get a concealed carry gun license. Currently only people 21 years and older can concealed carry.
“We can respect and defend the rights of Kansas gun owners while also taking effective steps to keep our children and families safe. Legislation that allows more guns on campus is neither safe nor effective, and it will drive prospective students away from our schools,” Kelly said.
Supporters of the bill said it helps protect younger people, and encourages safer gun use.
“It’s very disappointing to me that the governor doesn’t recognize that it’s not licensed holders that are committing crimes,” said Hesston Representative Stephen Owens.
“This promotes getting the training, this promotes getting the license, so I just don’t understand why anybody would stand in the way of allowing that to occur,” Owens said.
Kelly also vetoed two bills addressing election laws that made a variety of changes. One bill would have limited people from delivering more than 10 ballots for others. Another banned the governor, secretary of state, or judicial branch from changing elections laws.
“Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud in Kansas. This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans, making it difficult for them to participate in the democratic process, not to stop voter fraud,” Kelly said.
“We also know what happens when states enact restrictive voting legislation. Hundreds of major companies across the nation have made it abundantly clear that this kind of legislation is wrong. Antagonizing the very businesses Kansas is trying to recruit is not how we continue to grow our economy,” Kelly said.
Lastly the governor vetoed a license plate bill. It focused with new license plates for military, childhood cancer, educators, and a sorority, but the bill was amended to include a license plate with the Gadsden flag.
That’s the yellow flag with a snake that reads, “DON’T TREAD ON ME.”
The proceeds from the flag license plate would have went to the Kansas State Rifle Association. Opponents of the proposal said it is seen as racist.
“The Gadsden flag has become, over time, a symbol of racism and divisiveness. By inserting the Gadsden provision into an otherwise positive piece of legislation, the Legislature ensured a veto,” Kelly said. “The Legislature can easily pass and send me the original bill. If they do, I will sign it.”
This puts the total number of vetoed bills by Kelly this year at eight.
Senate President Ty Masterson responded to the Friday vetoes with this statement.
It’s disappointing that the governor has decided to use her veto pen to placate the hard left rather than support mainstream policies supported by most Kansans. She vetoed modest tax relief for middle class families and businesses who employ thousands. She rejected protecting fairness in women’s sports. She vetoed bills to prevent tampering with our elections and limit ballot harvesting. She vetoed 2nd Amendment rights and offering proven gun safety programs in our schools. She even vetoed legislation ensuring high school students take financial literacy classes and can pass a basic civics test. Finally, she decided to reject a bill allowing additional customized license plates. Each of these common-sense measures were passed by strong majorities. Republicans will respond to the governor’s veto-a-rama with a veto-override-a-rama when we return in May,” Masterson said.