Kansas Senate gallery cleared after Medicaid protest

May 30, 2019 - 5:30 am

A protest by supporters of Medicaid expansion in a Kansas Senate gallery temporarily shut down its work on other issues Wednesday and led to an arrest.  A spokesman for Senate President Susan Wagle says the Senate cleared their gallery and the press area to avoid providing publicity to the protesters.  

Kansas Association of Broadcasters President Kent Cornish told KSN News the clear-out was a breach of the Kansas and U.S. Constitution's right to freedom of the press.  Cornish also says the move violates the Senate's Open Meeting Provisions.  The Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government has filed a complaint with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on behalf of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and others regarding the incident.  

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle said, "We couldn't allow people to disrupt our proceedings, after the capital police ushered those people out, we went back into our business and everyone was let back on the floor again, the press, the staff, and the senators, so we did not stifle debate, we did not stifle free speech."  

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