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Kansas Legislature
Johnson County Election Office
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Communities of the
25th District

Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Westwood Hills


In Topeka: 
State Capitol Room 352-A
Topeka, KS 66612

At home in Fairway
4124 Brookridge Drive
Fairway, KS 66205

Dear Friend:

In my last two newsletters, I warned you of attempts to distort my record. Over the weekend, one of my former opponents (an ally of my current opponent) posted a misleading Facebook post and email about my record on gun safety. These are partisan lies meant to shake your confidence in me. 

Fact vs. Fiction
In March of this year, two very different bills were introduced:

  1. HB 2773, the SAFE Act, which directs the State Board of Education to develop statewide standards for making all public schools safe and secure. I voted YES. This bill passed 119-5. It died in the Senate committee on Ways & Means, but was enacted through a proviso added to the final budget.
  2. HB 2789 the SAFER Act, which prohibited insurance companies from canceling insurance coverage or increasing rates on school districts who decide to arm teachers. This bill died in the House Insurance committee.

HB 2773 as introduced and debated by the House made no mention of arming teachers. An amendment was offered that would have prohibited any district from allowing employees to carry weapons inside buildings. I voted NO because it usurped local control. The Kansas Constitution confers decision-making authority over our public schools to our state and local boards of education. 

Rest assured, I absolutely DO NOT support arming teachers.

The entirety of my legislative career has focused on unwavering support for local control. I have voted against legislative interference with our state education standards and have defended the role of our duly elected boards of education to make decisions that are in the best interests of their own districts and constituencies. My position on local control does not depend on whether I agree with the policy in question – it is anchored in my fidelity to the separation of powers as outlined in our Kansas constitution.
Our local cities, counties, universities and schools deserve to put laws in place that reflect common sense for their own communities. Statewide mandates impose top-down regulations that are not a good fit everywhere. I recognize that people living in rural communities may want and need different gun laws than we do in our area, and our local governments should have the authority to respond to accordingly.
Consistency regarding local control is crucial in defending against extreme positions on any issue, including guns in our schools. Advocates for our schools recognized this amendment for what it was - a classic case of a “postcard” vote. My record speaks for itself and earned me the designation as a “Gun Sense Candidate” from Moms Demand Action, and directly contradicts the lies being spread about me.
I am proud to be the only candidate in this race endorsed by:

Given the attempt to twist my record, let’s walk through a brief history of my votes on gun legislation.

In 2013, conceal carry in public buildings became law. As introduced, S sub HB 2052 included all K-12 public schools, college campuses and public buildings. Work was done to soften the bill – we succeeded in amending an exemption for college campuses, public hospitals and other public health facilities, and removed a mandate that schools must allow any employee to bring their firearm to school, instead making it an option for local school boards to decide. While I appreciated the concessions made, I was one of only 16 members of the House with the courage to vote NO on the bill. I did so because it stripped local control from public agencies, cities and counties and invalidated existing local ordinances regarding firearms. The bill passed 104-16. If you scroll to page 876 in the House Journal, you’ll see the tally, my vote, and my Explanation of Vote. 
In the years since that bill became law, NONE of our school districts have voted to arm teachers. 
In 2014,
HB 2578 was described in the 
summary as follows:
“Statutes passed during the 2013 Session are expanded to prohibit cities and counties from adopting or enforcing ordinances, resolutions, regulations, or administrative actions governing the purchase, transfer, ownership, storage, carrying, or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or any related component.” Again, because of the attack on local control, I voted NO on this legislation. The vote count was 
102-19 (page 2256).
In 2015,
SB 45 removed requirements for permits and training to conceal carry. I voted NO, but the bill passed the House 
In 2016,
HB 2502 was described in the summary as follows: “The bill prohibits public employers from restricting or prohibiting through personnel policies any employee legally qualified to conceal carry from carrying a concealed handgun while engaged in employment duties outside the employer’s place of business, including while in a means of conveyance.” It also added an expiration date certain of July 1, 2017 for the exemption of college campuses, hospitals and healthcare facilities from the conceal carry law passed in 2013. I voted NO. The bill passed 92-28.
In 2017,
S sub HB 2278 made permanent the exemption from the conceal carry law for state hospitals, and certain public health facilities and nursing homes. This hard-fought victory made Kansas the only state in the nation to enact legislation against the NRA. I proudly voted YES. The bill passed 91-33.

It was during debate on HB 2278 that I offered perspective on the 2nd Amendment from the late Justice Antonin Scalia from his majority opinion in the landmark 2008 US Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, con- cealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those 'in common use at the time' finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons." Pp. 54–56.
HB 2145 created new gun-related crimes of those possessing a firearm while a fugitive from justice, illegally or unlawfully in the US, convicted of a misdemeanor for domestic violence in the last five years, subject to a restraining order for harassing, stalking, or threatening a child or intimate partner. This bill was a priority for Moms Demand Action, and I was pleased to vote YES. It passed 113-6 and was signed into law in May.
In 2018,
HB 2042 sought to institute reciprocity for out-of-state concealed carry license holders and lower the age in Kansas to 18. I voted NO. The bill passed the House 76-44 but ultimately died in conference committee.
While my opponent will try to make this about partisan politics, a quick look at the vote counts illustrates this is an issue that does not split neatly along party lines. Democrats helped vote for campus carry and Republicans, including me, fought against it. This is exactly why it is so important to put people over politics when you cast your vote this November. 
I will reiterate, if you hear something negative about my voting record, please contact me directly. I am happy to answer for my record of service and appreciate the chance to speak for myself.

Rep. Melissa Rooker
Kansas State Representative, District 25
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.
Melissa Rooker,