This could be a banner week for Bible thumpers in Kansas and gun lovers in Missouri.
• In Kansas, the House on Wednesday morningturned back the clock with a bill
that would allow people to cite their religious beliefs in discriminating against same-sex couples seeking various services, including from government employees.
The vote was 72-49; the measure now goes to the Senate.
Kansas lawmakers are trying to appeal to the religious right with a bill that’s aimed at making sure same-sex marriage stays in the closet. It’s a great issue to demagogue on, even if it looks silly and homophobic.
• In Missouri,the Senate on Tuesday preliminarily decided that it would be a crime
— punishable with prison — for federal agents to enforce gun laws.
Missouri lawmakers want to curry favor with the gun-toting crowd that haplessly wants to nullify federal law. A final Senate vote on the Missouri bill could come this week.
However, in a you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up-development, theNational Rifle Association on Wednesday announced
it was opposing the pro-gun bill.
Why? Because state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, had promoted and gotten the GOP-dominated Senate to pass a requirement that gun owners report thefts of their weapons within 72 hours. The NRA opposes that idea.
That leaves open the possibility that an anti-gun female Democrat may have outwitted pro-gun Republicans so gung-ho on pushing through their bill this week. We’ll see.
The conservative Republicans behind each of these bills have the authority to do what they are doing. Someone put them in office, after all.
Then again, take a quick look at both states. Notice something?
Kansas is awash in financial problems, with tax revenues coming in lower than desired thanks to drastic tax cuts approved by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature a few years ago.
Missouri isn’t much better off when it comes to budgetary affairs. Lawmakers are looking at how to fund education (as they are in Kansas) and to keep financing other state services at an acceptable level.
In short, both states have actual priorities that affect millions of people in their everyday lives.
Yet the efforts to curry to the National Rifle Association in Missouri (and Kansas has its own potential law telling cities and counties they can’t pass stricter gun legislation) make both states look more laughable in the eyes of many Americans.