“The Kansas Senate failed to reach consensus Tuesday on a bill exempting state-affiliated medical and mental health facilities from compliance with a law allowing concealed handguns to be carried by the public in those facilities after July 1.
After more than an hour of debate on House Bill 2278, including consideration of two amendments, the Senate voted to send the legislation back to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for possible retooling.
The 2013 Kansas law requires an open-door policy at public buildings unless extraordinary security measures have been taken to protect occupants. Exemptions applicable to universities and other public buildings expire June 30.
The bill revved up the usual political divide around concealed carry issues, even though it was presented as a cost-saving measure by Sen. Carolyn McGinn, the Republican chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee.
The estimated price tag to increase security measures at state-run mental health facilities, such as Osawatomie State Hospital, sits between $12 million and $25 million. The estimated cost of installing metal detection equipment and hiring security guards for the University of Kansas Health System could be $32 million, said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.
In a Republican caucus Tuesday before the floor debate, McGinn said the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, responsible for preparing the state-run facilities to meet the law, hasn’t even ordered the equipment needed to comply.”